monitoring session on 22 April

22 04 2007

On the 22nd April, our group met up once again for a monitoring session at Labrador Park. Yup, at 7am, we were at the Park waiting for the tide to recede and for our mentor, Mr Lim and our other group member, Jocelyne (whom we later found out was not coming) to turn up. When we finally started at around 7.30, the tide was extremely low, and was even receding, which was good for our monitoring, as we could actually see some of the seagrass that are generally submerged in the water clearly. Sometimes, certain areas of the seagrass patch are completely submerged by the slightly murky water, so we cannot observe things like the percent coverage of the seagrass in the quadrat. So naturally, our spirits were rather high, and efficiency level went up!

We started out by walking around the seagrass plot, and Mr Lim took the GPS readings so we would be able to map out the plot’s shape and area, so that we can observe how much the area occupied by the seagrass has increased or decreased the next time we go for a monitoring session. Next, we did the monitoring of one of the smaller plots and did 6 quadrats there. We then moved on to the bigger plot, of which we managed to complete 33 quadrats, in around 1 and a half hour, due to the nice weather, high spirits and efficiency level. It was such a pity that Jocelyne could not make it, but Si Hui and I had a lot of fun throwing quadrats randomly in the seagrass patch and examining it by filling up the datasheet, which included details like the type of sediment, photograph number, percentage of seagrass coverage, percentage of seagrass species composition, canopy height, and the percentage covered by epiphytes and algae. As I had to take the canopy height of the thalassia (by measuring the height of 3 random seagrasses, and finding the average of the three) besides jotting down all the information that Si Hui called out, and we could not gather both pieces of information from the same quadrat at the same time, because the clipboard I was using to measure the canopy height obstructed her view of the quadrat. we decided that after getting the canopy height of the first quadrat, I would immediately move on to the next quadrat to measure the canopy height there, while Si Hui would concentrate on observing the percentages, etc and move on to the quadrat that I would have by then finished measuring. I would then record what she said on the datasheets. In this way, we could do both simultaneously, and as we had only two quadrats to work with, we were motivated to work faster.

We noted that next time, it would be good to be better prepared, for example, bring extras of everything, such as foolscap paper, and rulers. We managed to improvise, though, despite not having rulers: we used the sides of the clipboard to measure the canopy height.

Along the way, we saw many interesting creatures, as usual, especially a lot of algae e.g. the bubble algae (not the scientific name, a layman term).  This particular trip to Labrador park was a very enjoyable experience for all of us, because we managed to get a lot of information, and we ended with high spirits, despite having to rush off for another activity soon after.

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