Saturday, May 10, 2008

Exploring Northern Semakau

Rain began pouring over the midnight hours and I was hoping that it will clear up during dawn for us to monitor seagrass with Team Seagrass. Nevertheless, when the gang of about 30 reached the landfill centre, the rain continued pouring. But it was good, as we had the time to get a proper briefing by seagrass boss-Siti and also a time to settle our equipments. By the time we were done, we set off walking in the slight rain towards the intertidal area.

Thank God for the cool morning, unlike the past few hot mornings. It was also windy. I had the honour to pair up with a newbie, his name is Yok (I hope I didn't spell roughly :P). He has just ORDed and will be studying in NTU soon. He's a nice chap who also learns the skills of monitoring seagrass fast. Soon after some teaching and demonstrations, I felt I could already allow him to do it himself :-)

We were tasked to do the site one (easiest) for the newbies to pick up the skills without perpetual long kang conditions at site two and three. Very soon, we completed our monitoring and had a bit of time left to explore the shore. Since we were at the far right or also the northern side of Semakau, a few of us decided to check that area out.

Sijie and his monitoring partner found this bunch of stuff that are actually squid egg cases. Ron says that this looks like condoms. -_-

As usual, this pinkish jellyfish is in season, reason to wear long pants for shore field trips. No one wants to leave the shore with a nasty sting experience.

Walking further north is an area less explored. One can see the yellow beacon and the background of Pulau Bukom with the oil tanks. It's amazing how nature can thrive with the presence of development.

Several hard corals were spotted including this short-tentacled mushroom coral (Fungia sp.). Can you see the short tentacles? This coral is free living when it is an adult. Thus, it is not stuck to the substrate.

I have no idea what hard coral this is. Anyone can assist? :)

Update: Juanhui suggested this is Caulastrea sp. If it's true, it's really nice! Too bad I didn't spend time to take closeup photographs. Yes, this can be found at intertidal area, and Ria's wildsingapore flickr gallery does show some of her find of this species.

This is the blue coral (Heliopora sp.) where its internal skeleton is blue while the outside looks mostly brown in colour.

Another mushroom coral, this is the sunflower mushroom coral (Heliofungia sp.). It looks somewhat like the bulb tentacled anemone but it is a coral. Somehow Sijie and gang found one that is actually indeed an anemone!

Talking about anemone lookalikes, this one is also. The anemone coral (Goniopora sp.) is a hard coral. The area submerged in water shows extension of the polyps. Each polyp is an animal in the coral "HDB".

Another beautiful coral is this galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.) which has sharp skeleton so be careful not to touch it.

Look at the starry polyps both in water and out of water. How pretty.

This is one of the most beautiful magnificient anemone (Heteractis magnifica) I've ever came across. Unfortunately it does not house any nemos when I was there, but several anemone shrimps can be found nevertheless.

Neither are nemos found in this Gigantea sea anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea).

Glossodoris atromarginata is in season, therefore they can be easily found on our shores these days.

Walking closer to the northern edge of Semakau, I felt I've entered into another place. It's so peaceful. Can you spot the pau-looking Pulau Jong at the background?

I like this view of the Semakau mangroves which I've not seen before. Finally a photo without oil refineries or developments or big ships at the background.

Ria shared with me that this seaweed is not commonly seen in our shores and may indicate that Semakau is a healthy shore since it houses this rare seaweed. She has seen it at Raffles Lighthouse before.

I am not sure but this anemone does look like the Phymanthus sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.)

The conical roots of this Sonneratia mangrove tree is really long and thick, covering a large extent of the area. I wonder how old is this marvellous tree? What a beauty!

Ron found this flatworm while we were trying to check out unexplored areas of Semakau. Indeed, Semakau intertidal areas are huge and there are a lot of opportunities to get to new places to check them out.

All too soon, time was running out and we had to rush back to the start point (which is really far away from the northern tip we were at). A juvenile blue spotted fantail stingray (Taeniura lymma) swam past us!

And we also came across a four-armed common sea star (Archaster typicus) on the way back.

What a great morning to monitor seagrass and explore areas. Though the rain caused many animals to go hiding, I felt today's trip was already very fulfilling and recharging.

A great end to this series of very low tide season. Two weeks time to the next season!


juanicths said...

Wah~~ Nice long informative entry as usual!

The unknown coral you have may possibly be a Caulastrea sp. Not sure if it is usually found in the intertidals but definitely seen in our waters when we dive ^^

The seaweed that Ria says is not commonly seen on our shores, have seen it a few times diving. Will take note which reefs exactly the next time I see it (definitely subtidally at the SW portion of Semakau)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the id!

I've not seen this species before. Think it can also be found at the intertidal area.

Found some photos at the wildsingapore flickr

a sImpLeEeeR GirL said...

hey! just happen to see ur blog! may i know how to differentiate a snail's sex?

Unknown said...

hello, All land snails are hermaphrodites (having both male and female reproductive organs), producing both spermatozoa and ova. Some freshwater snails, such as Apple Snails, and marine species, such as periwinkles, have separate sexes; they are male and female.

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