Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sentosa shore with Dunman High students

After months of planning and preparation, this day finally arrived! This is our first time planning a shore field trip for the Bio Olympiad students. They are here to have a first hand experience in studying more about the different marine organisms found in both sandy and rocky shores.

Our destination is the natural and wild underwater world, situated right in front of the aquariums of the Underwater World of Sentosa.

Even though there are no giant marina fauna such as sharks and dugongs found in the aquarium, the students were still equally fascinated by many of the invertebrates found on the shore when the tide receded.

One of the interesting organisms sighted by a student will be this beautiful Snapping shrimp (Family Alpheidae). Many of these snapping shrimps have an enlarged pincer which produces a loud clicking sound. These critters are more often heard than sighted. So it was great to be able to witness a living individual.

This brightly dotted crab is the Purple climber crab (Metopograpsus sp.). As you can see, they have long pointy legs to cling to and scramble over rocks. In addition, their flat body help them to slip through narrow crevices.

Usually found at higher shore zonations, we came across some rocks with many of these crabs together!

I was in charge of guiding the rocky shore station. Of course, ample (or if not an overdose of) warnings were already given about how scary stepping on a stonefish can be. Thankfully, everyone were safe during the trip.

As usual, many of the marine animals like to hide beneath rocks because it is a less stressful environment as compared to the exposed upper surfaces. We flipped rocks to have a closer look at what lies beneath. One of the interesting finds will be this Estuarine moray eel (Gymnothorax tile).

Another interesting find will be these Galeommatid clams. According to Ron, these clams are probably Scintilla philippinensis. They are able to move around by pushing using their muscular "foot" that projects outwards from their mantle.

Bivalve-wise, I also came across a dead shell of a Burrowing Giant Clam (Tridacna crocea).

Though we did not sight any nudibranchs, we were able to content ourselves with the Onch slugs (Family Onchidiidae). Unlike sea slugs, these slugs have a simple lung and modified gills that allows them to breathe air. These slugs are usually found on the upper surface of rocks because they like to graze on the algae found there.

After seeing the Encrusting snails (Vermetus sp.) at Punggol, my eyes were more open on future trips. True enough, I could find these snails also on the rock walls of Sentosa.

As the tide went a little lower on this not-so-low tide period, some colonies of the resident branching Montipora corals (Montipora sp.) were exposed. I saw a clam and a tiny crab in one of them and explained about how corals themselves are mini ecosystems for other organisms to live in.

We came across some of these Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). And one of which had an anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis)!

Jillian was in charge of guiding the sandy and seagrassy shore and many of the Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) were found.

At the background is the what-seems-to-be-never-ending construction of the other side of the IR. It unfortunately removed a certain section of our rich coral reef.

I popped by her station towards the end of the trip to have a look at the surviving last stretch of seagrasses beside the IR site.

To end off this fruitful trip with zero rain, we had a group photo of the students first.

Before the teachers joined in as well! Haha.

I did not take many photos as I was real busy with guiding. But hopefully the students had enjoyed the trip and took back valuable learning points and experiences.

A few more photos of the trip here:

1 comment:

The Animal Sings said...

Hi, I don't know how to contact you; I didn't see any tabs to do so. (:

I just want to share with you that I came across your blog while Googling for dolphins off St John's Island.

I'm glad to know that you're a child of God who loves nature too. I'm passionate about animal welfare and nature. I'd had pretty tough times in my previous church because of my passion and I've since left church. I've been hurt and I don't want to be faced with those sort of remarks again.

It's sad that it happened in a church of all places, but well, we're humans after all.

Keep up your good work and all the best to you even though I don't know who you are.

God bless you! (:

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