I saw bleaching carpet anemones on Chek Jawa during TeamSeagrass monitoring today.
Most of the Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) I saw today were the usual healthy shades of bluish green, green or purple. A few were yellowish.
Apr 2012 or in Jan 2012.
mass deaths at Chek Jawa in 2007, Carpet anemones turned bright yellow or neon green, bloated up, exploded and died. More photos of this here.
in 2004 and 2005 which did NOT end up in mass deaths. So let's hope for the best...
Another disconcerting observation: lots of Smooth sea cucumbers lying above ground everywhere. On the sand bar, in the seagrass meadows. Most of them seemed unharmed. Although some looked a little chewed up. During the 2007 mass deaths, many burrowing sea cucumbers emerged and died. But today, I saw no other burrowing sea cucumbers above ground, e.g.,Garlic sea cucumbers (Holothuria scabra) , Ball sea cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.). This is the first time I've noticed this. I'm not sure whether something in the ground has annoyed just the Smooth sea cucumbers, and none of the other burrowing animals. Or is this something natural and nothing to be alarmed about, e.g., are the Smooth sea cucumbers emerging to mate? Another reason to regularly monitor Chek Jawa!
Thorny sea cucumbers (Colochirus quadrangularis) and also some Pink warty sea cucumbers (Cercodemas anceps). They seemed alright, only this one seemed a little 'damaged'.
cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia). Sometimes called peacock anemones because they come in such a wide variety of colours, they are not true sea anemones. They build tubes that they can retract into, and are thus sometimes also called tube anemones.
SeagrassWatch are with us and I took the opportunity to learn more from them. TeamSeagrass Site 1, which is closer to the boardwalk, is full of seagrasses. Except for the tips of transect 2 and 3 where the Southern sand bar seems to have moved inward and thus there is no seagrass. This is how long term monitoring like TeamSeagrass can provide valuable information about changes taking place on a shore.
Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata), much more than previously. Len explained to me that this species of seagrass likes sandy substrates. Another sign that Chek Jawa is changing and that the central lagoon is becoming more sandy. Most of the Smooth ribbon seagrasses are alright, although I came across a few patches with yellowing bases.
dugong feeding trails near Site 1!
Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) that used to grow here. These were probably buried by the expanding Northern sand bar.
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) and Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.).
Fern seagrass (Halophila spinulosa) here. And Rudi spotted dugong feeding trails here too.
Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) on the Northern sand bar. But I didn't come across the Button snails (Umbonium vestiarum), though we did see these in Mar 2012.
Fern seagrass (Halophila spinulosa) growing near the low water mark. In the Southern lagoon, most of the Fern seagrasses are growing on the seaward side of the Southern sand bar.
Beccari's seagrass (Halophila beccarii). In the past, there used to be larger stretches of this seagrass (seen in Apr 2008) but these seem to have been affected by large debris and some parts of the shore have been covered by sand.
TeamSeagrass does help to monitor the health of seagrasses, it seems wider biodiversity monitoring as well as more data on changes in Chek Jawa's geography would be useful for a better understanding of what is going on.