Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Water quality monitoring with Team Seagrass at Pulau Semakau (1 May 2009)

Here is a common trick our minds play on us - "what am I doing waking up at 5:30a.m. on Labour Day when I should be catching up on my sleep after a hectic work week?" The answer that I always use to counter this trick is, "I have a job to do and I can't let others down." How motivational... and it works all the time.

The "job" in this case is to do some water quality monitoring in the seagrass areas on Pulau Semakau. Yup, this island is famous for being presently our nation's only landfill. What is less well known is the presence of a lovable stretch of mangroves with adjacent beds of seagrasses.

I found myself bringing three of my students on a collaborative trip with Team Seagrass and Nparks. While the Team took care of seagrass monitoring, we tackled the water quality. Seagrasses are constantly exposed to seawater, hence water quality is of paramount importance to their well-being. We have the honour of getting the opportunity to check out the water quality in this seagrass area and hopefully derive useful correlations between seagrass health and water quality at the end of this study.

The weather turned out great (meaning skin sizzling hot) for outdoors photography but I am afraid I can't post any pictures of the fantastic marine life there as my intertidal knowledge is truly shaky (I certainly can't tell 1 nudibranch from another).

Overall, the trip was a success as we managed to get on-site readings of all 3 sites on the island. We also brought water samples back to the mainland for further laboratory analyses. Many thanks to Ria, Siti, Shu Fen, Wei Ling and others for making this trip a smooth one. Check out the Team Seagrass blog for their version of the trip.

Figures (L-R, T-B): Covered landfill - under the grass and soil is solid waste; proudly displaying the Team Seagrass banner to tell outsiders that serious scientific study was being carried out; monitoring the water quality during low tide; performing water quality analysis at our mobile chemistry lab.

No comments: