Monday, May 2, 2011

Checking Chek Jawa (April 2011)

It has been a really long time since I last stepped on the shores of Chek Jawa! The previous time was during January in 2010 which was more than a year ago. How has Chek Jawa been? I had a quick look at the shore while the Teamseagrass volunteers were busy surveying seagrasses.

The Carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) are one of the first organisms that I had a look to see how they are doing on the shore. These anemones are still not as abundant at the southern sand bar when compared to the northern sand bar. This photo shows the anemones at the north of Chek Jawa.

Many of the juvenile carpet anemones that I have seen back during my survey days a couple of years ago have grown bigger along the northern sand bar. This is indeed heartening.

Somehow these anemones are able to tolerate the presence of sand on their tentacle surfaces. With hope, it is possible that the northern sand bar will be home to even more of these anemones. This may probably help Chek Jawa return to its former glory where there are so many of these carpet anemones on the sand bar.

Other than those found on the sand bar, there are also many carpet anemones living within the lush seagrass meadow.

Many of these carpet anemones among seagrasses and seaweeds look healthy based on their coloration. We are glad to know that these creatures survived some extreme weather conditions, especially in January this year when there were heavy rainfall.

I only saw a small number of Peacock anemones (Order Ceriantharia) during this trip. I think it is because of the really hot weather that day.

Not sure if it is because the tide was not so low or that the seagrass meadow has shifted, there wasn't much of the southern sand bar exposed further away from the boardwalk. As such, I did not encounter many Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) in the south than in the north.

But as usual, at locations where these sand dollars are found, these echinoderms aggregate in large numbers.

Also due to the hot weather, I could only find a few of these Plain Sand stars (Astropecten indicus) which can be found in great numbers especially below dawn or after dusk.

A couple of the Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) were found near the southern sand bar. However, I did not see more of them elsewhere. Will they be able to procreate more individuals successfully to recolonize the sand bar as like before the mass flood? Only time will tell.

The sea cucumbers were well represented during the trip. There are about 7-8 different species found in this photo collage. The presence of these soft bodied invertebrates indicate that the salinity is within tolerable range.

Near the floating pontoon, I came across mats of what looks like that belonging to the Asian date mussels (Musculista senhousia). But after checking it out, I realize there were no bivalves inside the mat. I wonder what this is.

With the help of volunteers, Nparks has consistently been giving guided walks to the public to share the natural wonders of Chek Jawa with everyone. Kudos to their hardwork in raising awareness of the shore which we all love and would want to preserve.

I do agree that the ecosystems in Chek Jawa are indeed dynamic. Especially in the shifting in zonations of the sand bar and seagrass meadow. The button snails have gone MIA again. I believe it is probably a seasonal thing as they will migrate into deeper waters at certain stages of their life cycle.

Let us just continue to keep a good watch at this precious living shore.

More of what I've seen during this trip in my God's Wonderful Creation blog.

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