Dec 27, 2010

What's new at TeamSeagrass? Plenty!

Monitoring dates for 2011 are now available for sign up! PLUS, TeamSeagrass is now on facebook!
Share your photos and stories of Team happenings on this page, as well as seagrass news! Such as Andy's recent find of the rare Halophila beccarri in Mandai and Kok Sheng's sighting of what might have been Halophila decipiens at Punggol. And how bird poop helps to heal seagrasses damaged by boat strikes.

Dec 20, 2010

Rare seagrass seen at Sungei Mandai Besar

Meadows of a very rare seagrass have been spotted at Sungei Mandai Besar!
The meadows stretched out "almost as far as the eye could see" says Andy, intrepid Team member who shared about the find on his blog.

Dec 7, 2010

Cyrene Reef (6 Dec 10)

It's our last seagrass monitoring for 2010 and a small team heads out for Cyrene yesterday under cloudy skies.

Dec 6, 2010

Pulau Semakau (5 Dec 10)

Hurray, a bright sunny afternoon as a small team gathers to monitor the seagrasses at Pulau Semakau!
What a great way to celebrate International Volunteer Day!

Nov 8, 2010

Cyrene Reef (7 Nov 10)

It's time to monitor Cyrene Reef once again!
On a cloudy day with rain threatening, we arrive a little early. The tide is still high and hardly anything of the 1km long submerged reef sticking out of the water.

Nov 2, 2010

Seagrassy Collage by Kevin

Kevin Lam created and shared this lovely collage of TeamSeagrass in action!

Create your own video slideshow at

Kevin says: "Have a look at the seagrass community in Singapore. That's right! All photos are taken in Singapore."

And we say: Thank you Kevin!

Also check out Kevin's Nature Spies blog for other interesting insights into nature in Singapore.

Oct 10, 2010

Chek Jawa (9 Oct 10)

Yesterday, a small team headed out to Chek Jawa for our regular seagrass monitoring.
I helped out at Site 2, and did transect 1 which is fast being taken over by the encroaching sand bar!

Oct 9, 2010

Tuas (8 Oct 10)

Yesterday, I joined Sheryl and Helen and the volunteers from Schering Plough who monitor the seagrass meadows at Tuas just outside their premises.
Alas, the shore there has changed dramatically. What used to be a sandy shore, is now very rocky!

Sep 16, 2010

Dugongs in Australia at risk from toxic algae that smothers seagrass

Blue-green algae is threatening to smother the Western Australian seagrass beds that dugongs feed off.
Vicki Laurie Australian Geographic 16 Sep 10;

Photo of Lyngbya outbreak from Seagrass-Watch Magazine Issue 40 March 2010.

OFF THE COAST OF BROOME, snaking trails are visible at low tide through glistening seagrass meadows. The pathways are a sign that a family of dugongs has swum through the area, pushing through the grassy seabed and grazing on a smorgasbord of tender shoots and roots.

Thriving seagrass meadows are vital for these hefty aquatic mammals, which can eat up to 40 kg of plant matter a day. Fiona Bishop, coordinator of the Broome Community Seagrass Monitoring Project, says dugongs (Dugong dugon) are regular visitors to Broome's Roebuck Bay, a Ramsar-listed wetland with extensive seagrass beds.

"We're lucky to have such low tides so we can walk out and see dugong trails everywhere, sometimes zigzagging back and forth. Two of the dugongs' favourite species of seagrass grow here, and they eat the whole plant, roots, flowers and seeds."

As well as 'mowing' the grass, the dugongs help disperse the seed widely when they expel their waste into the water

Toxic spread

But the health of seagrass is this year threatened by an outbreak of toxic blue-green algae, called Lyngbya majuscula, which scientists say the will study in coming weeks to establish whether Roebuck Bay's dugongs, famous migratory bird flocks and marine invertebrates are affected.

Aug 23, 2010

Your seagrass photos wanted for a photo competition!

Wanted! Photos for a Seagrass Calendar for the year 2011!
There's always time for a group shot
Needed! Photos of seagrass, seagrass habitats, animals in seagrass beds, human activities / resource use in seagrass beds, threats to seagrasses, research activities in seagrass beds, etc. from anywhere in the world.

Let's show the world that Singapore has great seagrasses and seagrassers!

Here's more details!

Jul 17, 2010

Pulau Semakau (17 Jul 10)

Today, the Team has a new motto: "We may die, but we will try!".
We all woke up to a pre-dawn deluge of biblical proportions, sheets of rain falling to the thunderous accompaniment of constant lightning.

Did this stop us?

Jul 16, 2010

Cyrene Reef (16 Jul 10)

TeamSeagrass arrives at sunrise on Cyrene in high water!
And high spirits too!

Jul 2, 2010

Singapore oil spill in Seagrass Watch Magazine issue 41, Jun 10

The Seagrass-Watch magazine issue 41, Jun 2010 is now online!
The lead feature this issue explores the important issue of putting an economic value to seagrasses: "Many would argue that ecological systems are 'priceless'. However, by not valuing natural resources, when decisions are made, the value may be assumed to be zero" begins the authors in the introduction.

Jun 19, 2010

Chek Jawa seagrasses after the oil spill (19 Jun 10)

Today, the Team heads off to monitor Chek Jawa after the oil spill that hit this shore about three weeks ago. How are our seagrasses doing? While earlier reports by shore lovers and in the media suggest no major immediate impacts, effects of an oil spill can develop over the long term.
As the more experienced Team members do a quick survey of the rest of Chek Jawa, this means some of our newer Team members have to lead the monitoring.

Jun 15, 2010

Tuas (15 Jun 10)

The weather wasn't cooperating, but a team of brave volunteers from Schering Plough led by the intrepid Sheryl and Helen went ahead for TeamSeagrass monitoring of the meadows just off their premises at Tuas.

Jun 9, 2010

Seagrass-Watch Magazine Issue 40 March 2010

Apologies for the very late post! Here's another great issue that informs about seagrasses around the world by Seagrass-Watch.
This issue highlights the impact of rising sea temperatures on seagrasses.

May 26, 2010

Massive oil spill off Changi East

There was a massive oil spill of Changi East on 25 May. Shores nearby include Tanah Merah, East Coast and our northern shores including Changi, Ubin (Chek Jawa) and Pulau Tekong.

Oil of course can seriously harm our seagrasses.

How big is the oil spill?

NEW blog - Cyrene Reef Exposed!

A new blog featuring nothing but Cyrene, one of the Team's favourite monitoring sites.
Cyrene Reef Exposed! is a blog dedicated to exposing this remarkable submerged reef in Singapore!

Apr 18, 2010

Pulau Semakau (18 Apr 10)

It's sunrise and the Team is already well on the way to Pulau Semakau!
We're already passing by the dumpling shaped Pulau Jong as the first rays of the sun light up the sky.

Apr 2, 2010

Cyrene Reef (2 Apr 10)

It's our first morning low tide for the year, and a small team land on Cyrene Reef in the first light of dawn.
Cyrene is a submerged reef surrounded on three sides: by the heavy industries on Jurong Island, the huge refineries of Pulau Bukom (in photo above), and our world-class container terminals. Despite this, it has one of the best seagrass meadows in Singapore!

Mar 29, 2010

TeamSeagrass Outdoor Orientation at Chek Jawa (28 Mar 10)

After our Indoor Orientation session, it was time to head outdoors and try out monitoring in the field!
Here's the very enthusiastic Team on a very hot day out at Chek Jawa!

Mar 27, 2010

TeamSeagrass Indoor Orientation (Mar 2010)

It's that time of the year to do the annual Orientation once again! And this time, TeamSeagrass is Three!
As the Anniversary badges tell us.

Mar 18, 2010

TeamSeagrass is Three!

We are three years old! To celebrate, a badge with three sea turtles!
Three sea turtles for three years of hard work for our seagrass meadows. If you love sea turtles, you should love seagrasses. And TeamSeagrass sure love sea turtles and seagrasses and our shores!

Mar 2, 2010

2010 TeamSeagrass Orientation 27 & 28 Mar (Sat & Sun)

Have you wanted to make a difference for our shores? Curious about these wacky people who work on our seagrass meadows?
Want to get a glimpse of some of their adventures?

Feb 28, 2010

Semakau (27 Feb 10)

It's time to monitor Pulau Semakau once again! Here's the team gathered to board our transport...
No, we didn't take the ornate junk. We went in our usual sturdy orange ferry for the long slow ride out.

Feb 16, 2010

Halophila beccarii: IUCN's Species of the Day!

Yesterday, our very own H. beccarii was featured as Species of the Day, part the IUCN's Red List celebration of International Year of Biodiversity 2010.
Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii)
According to the write up on it, the distribution of this seagrass is "fragmented in southern China, Southeast Asia, India and Madagascar" and it is globally listed as "Vulnerable".

It's amazing that Singapore's shores is home to this rare and endangered seagrass. It can be found on Chek Jawa, Pulau Ubin and at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. More about this seagrass on Singapore's shores. It is listed as "Critically Endangered" on the Singapore Red List.

This tiny seagrass has striped leaves, so Siti also calls it the Tiger seagrass! What a coincidence that the seagrass is featured on the first day of the Year of the Tiger.

Thanks to Ivan Kwan for the heads up on the feature on this seagrass.

Feb 7, 2010

Seagrass-Watch Magazine Issue 39 December 2009 now out!

The lead article of this issue features the important role of seagrasses in giving early warning of dangers to the shores. "Like the canaries that were used to detect deadly gases in the coal mines, seagrasses are our 'coastal canaries' detecting environmental degradation in coastal and reef ecosystems." The articles shares how intertidal seagrasses in the Great Barrier Reefs are monitored by Seagrass-Watch as part of the Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program to track trends in sediments, nutrients and other pollutants in the waters there.
An exciting new monitoring Mangrove Watch programme is also featured!

Jan 25, 2010

Dugongs are faring better than feared in the Andaman Sea

Bangkok Post 25 Jan 10;

TRANG : The population of rare dugongs (sea cows) living in Trang waters has slightly dropped by 5-10 sea animals from last year, the latest aerial survey has found.

The population of rare dugongs, plural correct known as sea cows, in Trang waters has dropped slightly by between five and 10 from last year, allaying fears of a serious decline, a survey has revealed.
A team of Thai and foreign marine biologists conducted an aerial survey of the animals' population in the Andaman Sea near Libong and Muk islands. About 120 to 130 dugongs have been sighted were spotted during the 10-day survey, said marine biologist Kanchana Adulyanukosol of the Institute for Research and Development of Marine and Coastal Resources in Phuket.

Jan 17, 2010

Chek Jawa (16 Jan)

Happy New Year from TeamSeagrass as we start our first monitoring session at Chek Jawa for 2010!
It was really nice to see some familiar faces back with us after a long absence. And we also welcomed some new members on the Team!

Dugong blimp cam survey at Sungai Pulai

Sit on the boat below the great balloon.
Observe the CCTV screen.
Record data when a dugong appears.

This is what you need to do to help out in the Dugong Blimp Cam Survey at Sungai Pulai Johor running 23 Jan - 1 Feb.

Jan 9, 2010

TeamSeagrass featured in My Green Space

The latest issue of My Green Space by NParks has a feature about TeamSeagrass!
Wei Ling and Siti have contributed an article entitled Seagrass: Dugong Food for Thought which shares fascinating facts about our seagrasses. For example, we have 12 species of seagrasses. That's a good portion of the 23 species found in the Indo-Pacific Region!

TeamSeagrass effort on Cyrene Reef featured in Nature Watch

Our seagrasses and TeamSeagrass is featured in an article on Cyrene Reef in Nature Watch, the magazine of the Nature Society (Singapore).