30 April 2010

TeamSeagrass at Cyrene

The lush meadows of Cyrene are monitored by the volunteers of TeamSeagrass.
TeamSeagrass at work
Amazing living meadows of Cyrene,
just opposite our world-class container terminals.

Every three months, a small team of mad seagrassers brave the tides to do a quick check up.

Monitoring Cyrene requires dedicated and experienced volunteers because there are so many different species of seagrasses, all packed and jumbled up together.
Michelle and Nor Aishah always take a long long time to make sure
they get all the species recorded properly at Cyrene.

Seven seagrassses of Cyrene

There are 7 species of seagrasses at Cyrene. These are easier to tell apart: from left to right - Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) here with a female flower, Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) also with a tiny flower, Noodle seagrass (Syringodium isoetifolium) and Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis).
Seagrasses which are 'easier' to identify.

While others are very tricky to tell apart: from left to right - Serrated ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea serrulata), Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) and the last two photos at the bottom are both Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.) which can be broad and long or skinny and short! Those naughty seagrasses!

The tricky seagrasses!

The special species are Noodle seagrass (Syringodium isoetifolium), so far only found on Cyrene and Pulau Semakau (with small patches on submerged reefs off Pulau Semakau). And Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata) so far found on Cyrene and Chek Jawa, with a small patch at Tanah Merah.

In the beginning ...

TeamSeagrass first began monitoring Cyrene in 2007. With unique and healthy seagrass meadows, Cyrene simply had to be a key part of  the Team's effort to gather data for Singapore's seagrasses.
Andy practices putting the markers in during our first session on Cyrene.

As long as its low, we go!

The intrepid Team heads out for the scheduled monitoring even if it rains! There are few suitable low tides, so it's important not to miss any windows for checking up on Cyrene.
Ponchos on, all ready for monitoring!

On other days, it can be scorching! Monitoring seagrasses is hard work. Siti takes a well deserved snooze after a hot monitoring session, while the rest of us are too excited and are having a quick look around before the tides turn.
The pile of life-vests makes a nice bit of shade on a scorching morning.

We almost always wait until the last moment before leaving Cyrene. At which point it become very obvious that it's a submerged reef!
The first batch of Seagrassers safely on the big boat,
while the second batch wait to be picked up from Cyrene.

Special Seagrass Moments on Cyrene

TeamSeagrass shared many special moments on Cyrene. In Mar 07, it was a real delight to have Len and Rudi from international SeagrassWatch on Cyrene. AND Choo Chee Kuang as well, who leads the awesome Save our Seahorses campaign at Sungei Pulai across the Johor Straits near our Tuas shore.
The happy Team on Cyrene with Len and Rudi, and Choo.

The Team also celebrate the wedding of Seagrassers Kevin and Shufen, who spent their honeymoon on Cyrene!
The Team toast to the newly wed Mr and Mrs Lam (in white at right).

In Aug 08, it was exciting to have journalists of the Straits Times join the Team at Cyrene!
Siti shares how monitoring is done on Cyrene.

More about  TeamSeagrass

TeamSeagrass monitoring on Cyrene is ongoing. TeamSeagrass also monitors seagrasses at Chek Jawa, Pulau Semakau, Sentosa, Labrador and Tuas, as part of Seagrass-Watch, a global seagrass assessment and monitoring programme spanning 18 countries with more than 200 monitoring sites worldwide. The effort involves NParks, Seagrass-Watch HQ and TeamSeagrass volunteers now with about 60 regulars.

TeamSeagrass is open to all volunteers above the age of 19 who are fit and enjoy working outdoors. More details about the Team and how to join on the TeamSeagrass blog.

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