Early in the morning at 7am, we gathered at the pavilion next to the beach. We were going to conduct our first monitoring session!! Ms Yang and Ms Lim,both of whom work at National Parks (NParks) and are also part of teamseagrass, came down to help us.
However, the gate to the beach was only opened at 730am, so we started late and had to make sure we were quick so we could get everything done. When we finally got started, we realised that the tide was coming in, instead of being low tide as it was supposed to be. Teamseagrass, who went to sentosa the next day to monitor the seagrasses there, also experienced the extraordinary higher tide than usual, and are most concerned. Hopefully the effects of global warming will not be felt so soon…
We were going to try out a new monitoring method, where we would walk on the edges of the Thalassia hemprichii patch (as it is the biggest) and track the GPS coordinates every few steps. The previous method of 100 by 25 was deemed ineffective after a chat with the leader of seagrasswatch, Len Mckenzie. It was not a good method for monitoring as the patches of seagrass found here is mostly quite small and by using that method, we would have a skewed idea of the distribution of seagrass here.
However, as much as we wanted to start our actual monitoring, the tide was too high and the water was too murky for us to see the edges of the thalassia patch which was further from the beach. The smaller patch of thalassia which was nearer to the beach(yep, we found 2 thalassia patches that day(: instead of just one!) thankfully, was still visible and we quickly tracked the location of the patch and measured the percent coverage before all was lost to the tide.
While we were measuring the percent coverage, Ms Yang and Ms Lim found a little hermit crab! We found out that when going for monitoring sessions, it is always good to bring a container, a pair of chopstick and a fork along so we can poke around with the chopstick, dig the soil with the fork and place organisms found (like the hermit crab) in the container to take a closer look! After we looked at the hermit crab upclose, we let the little creature back into its natural environment and carried on with our work(: We should never bully the little creatures which live here and bring them home with us!
After we finished our monitoring of that little patch, we decided that we should bring home some specimens of Thalassia hemprichii, Halophila ovalis and common macroalgae to put under the microscope and learn more about the differences between algae and seagrass! This was for learning purposes, therefore it is justified to take one specimen of each(:
All in all, it was a fairly good monitoring session despite the tide, as we learnt how to do a real monitoring session and will be able to do our next one properly in June.