measuring Thalassia growth

16 06 2007

Today, we went down to Labrador to begin the test to measure Thalassia growth. The plan was for each of us to be armed with a .22 hypodermic needle, to be used to poke a small but still visible hole in the sheaths of the seagrass in a designated patch. After a few days, we’d return to the same small patch and gather(aka dig out and collect) some of the seagrass from that patch. By measuring the distance between the hole in the sheath and the hole in the seagrass leaves, we would be able to track the average growth of the seagrass.
And so we began by choosing a patch of seagrass. The tide that day was very low and we quickly chose a small patch that was neither too overgrown nor too bare- just average. On the patch, we measured a square about the size of a quadrat and pegged tent pegs into the four corners. After tying raffia string to the tent pegs to mark out the square more clearly, we used a mallet to pound and embed the tent pegs into the ground.
Finally, we began the tedious job of poking the holes into the thalassia seagrass. It wasn’t as easy as expected- we had to dig into the sand to find the sheaths to poke into with the needles, and it was numbing to keep squatting. Thankfully, with our concerted efforts, we were satisfied and decided that we had poked holes in enough seagrass. Our target was 50 leaf sheaths in total so that even if some of the seagrass had died or been eaten or even mysteriously disappeared, we’d still have enough to do our calculations with.
Settled, we happily went home! Thank you Ms Siti for always coming to help out! And sorry if the explanations aren’t very clear, photos will be up soon for better understanding!

Because our entire team (including Mr Lim) would be leaving for an expedition in Hong Kong from the 18th to the 22nd, Ms Siti helped us collect the seagrass samples that we needed before they died. Thank you Ms Siti again! 😀
This plan was suggested by Dr Len McKenzie when he was in Singapore for the Seagrass Workshop. The sheath is where each leaf blade in the plant grows from, so when we poked a hole in the sheath, the hole would go through all the leaves of the thalassia, and this is what made our plan feasible.




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