Carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) were one of the most hit fauna in Chek Jawa during the mass death. Before the mortality event this January, CJ guides have to keep reminding the visitors to avoid the landmine full of carpet anemones on the sandbar. Now, there is almost none found on the stretch of sandbar in Chek Jawa.
Does that mean the Chek Jawa is dead???
Nope. Chek Jawa is recovering. What was surprising is that at the south west end of the wetland, next to the coral rubble, there are many and many of unimpacted adults doing very well, near to the seagrasses. And at the end of the seagrass lagoon and the sandbars, we can also see some new and adult carpet anemones, though they are much fewer there. What is exciting is that many baby haddons are coming back at the extreme edge of the north of Chek Jawa. They come in very small to bigger sizes.
The plan to monitor these guys is to mark and follow the growth of 25 individuals from the impacted area and then 5 older and healthier anemones from the south west end. The idea is to measure diameter of the disc and then count tentcles in 1 cm square areas to plot it over time as we continue to monitor in the future.
I was privileged to have Ria as the photographer of these 30 anemones marked for monitoring. Her camera takes really good and sharp photos and it makes counting of tentacles easier. She has also done a great job in labelling the photos, so I can concentrate more on counting the tentacles. After cropping each photo to focus on the 1 cm squares, it is about time to start counting 30 x 2 = 60 squares of tentacles.
How did I count them? Use MS paint to dot each tentacle after counting it so I won't lose count. And after a few, lethargy sets it, it is NOT easy!
Especially when there are more than 100 tentacles in the square. Thank God that Liana helped out a bit too, making the work more bearable. She wasn't as complaining as me though...Haha.
After more than half a day of effort, finally DoNE! :-)
(All photos taken by Ria Tan)