[Update 13 May: Some corrections with regard to the strange sea cucumber and water tap, as well as Louis’ name made! (Sorry it’s Louis, not Louise!)]
Last Friday (11 May 2012), I went for what’s possibly my last mudflat survey with the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS) a.k.a. Mega Marine survey (MMS)! Or last survey with CMBS eitherways.
Yen Ling from TMSI giving a briefing on the methodology for survey
It was at Pasir Ris Park, near Carpark D. Probably the muddiest location I’ve had the opportunity to go to, I sank all the way up to my thighs if I tried standing! Not much words, cos it’s late and there’s TeamSeagrass @ Chek Jawa to look forward to tomorrow morning!
NParks interns Louis Lee and Heidyl Goh (not in photo cos he’s at the other end of the transect tape) helping Helen Wong from TMSI with the laying out of transect
Sunrise! Beautiful, but hot and cloudless morning (:
And it’s time to work!
Our survey area is bounded by one end of the 50m tape to the other, up to 5m from both sides of the tape.
Surprise find of swimming anemone (there were two)! Must have been stranded by the outgoing tide.
In the collection container
Ball sea cucumber (Phyllophorus sp.)
[Update 13 May] Interesting sea cucumber that is quite rare on other shores but abundant at Pasir Ris! Fooled many into thinking it was a worm!
It’s translucent, can see it’s poop (or sth) here!
Nearing the end of the survey, Dr Tan Heok Hee from TMSI asked for some volunteers to help with seining. Volunteers Rebecca and David gamely went over (getting there in the mud was no easy feat!), and I went over to grab some shots too!
On the way, I got distracted by a few things:
My first time seeing an octopus on a mudflat!! It was out a-hunting for food. It quickly disappeared into a hole (really tiny one!) in the mud.
A carpet anemone that decided to make a plastic bag its home
Brittlestar (Subclass Ophiuroidea)
Eventually I got to where they were seining.
Dr Tan Heok Hee from TMSI, Koh Kwan Siong from NParks, and volunteers Rebecca and David doing some seining for fish and other creatures!
Well it was definitely high level of muddiness at Pasir Ris!
New volunteer Rebecca Loh being very comfortable sitting on the mud!
NParks intern Nurshahidah also being very comfortable on the mud.
New volunteer Caroline demonstrating the best way to move across this muddy flat. Reason to wear long pants while out on shore!
We make “snail trails” as well, trying to move across this extremely muddy mudflat!
It’s easier to move with the help of something like a tub!
Back on the wonderfully firm sand, the others were hard at work!
Helen and Nurshahidah sorting out the collected specimens!
Picking out the catch from the net
Checking for little fish
Goby (Family Gobidae)
Naughty crab pinched two fish with its pincers! (Crab was not killed, don’t worry)
Stubborn crab still refused to let go of the pipefish
Post-survey attire! (can see the mud level)
[Update 13 May] At the washing point, the tap was loose and eventually popped out, giving us a strong jet of water!
Everyone managed to get really, really clean!
No need to go home and slowly rinse off the dirt this time 😀
Collecting the water to flush away the mud
After washing up, we all went back for one final debrief.
Kwan Siong giving a debrief to the volunteers.
I think it was a great trip, and I’m sure everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as muddy as we got! Hopefully, they will keep coming back for more mud-therapy 😀
The next phases of CMBS are the sea bed survey (dredging) followed by coral reef (diving) if I’m not wrong though, so probably no more mud? Either ways, I probably won’t be around in Singapore during that period 😦
For more photos of this survey, check out Rene Ong from NParks’ photos:
Also a quick post on this survey up on the MMS blog by Ria Tan.
If you’d like to sign up as a volunter (lay citizens are welcome, no need to be a scientist!), check out the Mega Marine Survey blog!
And to end of my volunteering with Mega Marine Survey:
My first fieldwork photo since 5 years ago, I think. Photo credit: Caroline