Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cyrene Reef with Team Seagrass, 11 March 2012

Once again Team Seagrass heads off for its regular monitoring of the seagrasses on Cyrene Reef, the ever so beautiful reef that exists amazingly amidst our busy ports. Cloudy morning as we set off on our little vessel! This time I was among a small group to help Siti with her research project on the growth/recovery of seagrasses.

That was the ferry that took the monitoring team..

Work started late but we managed to finish our task in time! Amongst my batches of harvested seagrasses were THREE sea toad spider crabs (Schizophrys sp., Family Majidae)! These became one of my most exciting finds of the day as we did not have much time for exploration after our work was done :(

Earlier along the way to our worksite we saw many Knobbly sea stars and sand dollars. Alas for I did not take any shots of them as I thought I would be able to do so later. Also amongst my batches of harvested seagrasses were two polychaete worms.

All too soon, we had to make our way back to the loading area where we waited for a small powerboat to take us to our vessels. The tide was coming in fast.

Along the way, I took the opportunity to capture the pictures of as many creatures as I could. There were many of the common acorn worms on the sand bed.

This was a white sea urchin amidst some rubble.. Yes, the sea urchins love to camouflage themselves with rubble and debris of all kinds :)

The sand bubbler crabs' signature sand bubble "designs". The sand bubbler crabs are very sensitive to movement and impact and would very quickly "disappear" into their burrows once they sense threat.

The sea was choppy as it began to drizzle. Thankfully everyone got back to land safely! I'm definitely looking forward to future Cyrene trips!

More on the trip for the seagrass monitoring team on Ria's blogpost!