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Life And Death at Chek Jawa


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Life And Death at Chek Jawa

  2. 2. I volunteer with… <ul><li>Team Seagrass </li></ul><ul><li>Naked Hermit Crabs </li></ul><ul><li>Semakau intertidal walks with Raffles Museum of Biological Research (RMBR) </li></ul>
  3. 3. My area of interest <ul><li>Biology </li></ul><ul><li>mainly Ecology and the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Biotic and abiotic factors </li></ul><ul><li>Geography aspects (hydrology, climate, topography, salinity, tides etc.) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Have you been to Chek Jawa before?
  5. 5. Where is Chek Jawa
  6. 6. Chek Jawa (103°59'E, 1°24'N), is an intertidal flat located at the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin, a small island to the northeast of Singapore’s main island Chek Jawa Johor Mainland Singapore
  7. 7. Chek Jawa is lauded for its high biodiversity Figure from Ria Tan Six distinct ecosystems exist at Chek Jawa and it is abundant with locally rare fauna and flora
  8. 8. Coastal Hill Forest
  9. 9. Mangroves
  10. 10. Rocky Shore Photos: N. Sivasothi
  11. 11. Sandy Ecosystems Photos: Ria Tan
  12. 12. Seagrass Lagoon
  13. 13. Coral Rubble Area Photos: Ria Tan
  14. 15. While Team Seagrass arrived for a field orientation on 20th January 2007…
  15. 16. Mass Death occurred on January 2007
  16. 17. Soft bodied invertebrates affected
  17. 19. Dying Carpet Anemones
  18. 20. Dying Sponges
  19. 21. Dying sea stars and sea cucumbers
  20. 23. Asking questions <ul><li>What happened at Chek Jawa? </li></ul><ul><li>What caused the mass death? </li></ul><ul><li>Why were some animals more affected as compared to others? </li></ul><ul><li>Is this mass death a tragic event? </li></ul><ul><li>Will Chek Jawa recover? </li></ul><ul><li>If yes, how? </li></ul>
  21. 24. What is UROPs
  22. 25. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme in Science <ul><li>doing an independent research project </li></ul><ul><li>work with Faculty staff </li></ul><ul><li>foster mentoring relationships </li></ul><ul><li>work and gain knowledge in a specific field of study </li></ul><ul><li>acquire special communication and presentation skills </li></ul><ul><li>experience creative thinking </li></ul>
  23. 26. What motivated me to do UROPs ? <ul><li>curiosity </li></ul><ul><li>gain experience </li></ul><ul><li>platform to work on a research topic </li></ul><ul><li>more free play to pursue topics </li></ul><ul><li>opportunities to make mistakes and learn </li></ul><ul><li>work with my lecturer mentors </li></ul><ul><li>learn from their experience and knowledge </li></ul>
  24. 27. Finding my supervisors
  25. 28. Finding my supervisors
  26. 29. Finding my supervisors <ul><li>1. Mr. N. Sivasothi </li></ul><ul><li>(Department of Biological Science, NUS) </li></ul><ul><li>2. Dr. Peter Todd </li></ul><ul><li>(Department of Biological Science, NUS) </li></ul><ul><li>3. Dr. Dan Rittschof </li></ul><ul><li>(Duke University) </li></ul>Photo: Ria Tan
  27. 30. Who do I work with? <ul><li>My three supervisors </li></ul><ul><li>Experts from their various fields </li></ul><ul><li>Nature volunteers/friends </li></ul>
  28. 31. Experts sought during the project <ul><li>Prof Wong Poh Poh (NUS Geography Department) </li></ul><ul><li>Prof Matthias Roth (NUS Geography Department) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Lim Han She (NUS Geography Department) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Daphne Fautin (University of Kansas) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr David Lane (Universiti Brunei Darussalam) </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Tan Koh Siang (Tropical Marine Science Institute) </li></ul><ul><li>Siti Maryam Yaakub (National Parks Board) </li></ul>
  29. 32. Friends <ul><li>From different backgrounds </li></ul><ul><li>Some have never visited Chek Jawa before </li></ul><ul><li>Make new friends! </li></ul><ul><li>Work towards a common goal </li></ul><ul><li>Doing their part for nature </li></ul><ul><li>Stirring interest in doing related studies </li></ul>
  30. 33. Grain size distribution analysis at Chek Jawa
  31. 36. Preparations for the research <ul><li>reading up various literatures </li></ul><ul><li>compilation of anecdotal records </li></ul><ul><li>Discussions with my supervisors and experts </li></ul><ul><li>Yet also left alone  Independence! </li></ul><ul><li>try unconventional approaches to tackle the different angles and questions raised </li></ul>
  32. 37. Some supervisors may have funny requests <ul><li> </li></ul>
  33. 38. Conducting of field surveys <ul><li>Transects surveys (once in 3 months) </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring of different groups of marine animals (once in 2 months) </li></ul><ul><li>Possible with the help of volunteers and friends who are willing to make the difference. </li></ul>
  34. 39. Yes, we set off that early…
  35. 40. … and we also go back late
  36. 41. Six transect lines T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T1 T5 T4 T3 T2 T6
  37. 42. Transect surveying
  38. 43. Sometimes disasters do happen…
  39. 44. … after a day’s hard work
  40. 46. Monitoring Mussel Beds
  41. 47. A closer look
  42. 48. Asian date mussel ( Musculista senhousia ) An invasive species
  43. 49. Carpet Anemones ( Stichodactyla haddoni ) Photos: Ria Tan <ul><li>30 located and marked </li></ul><ul><li>Shortest and longest diameter axis measured </li></ul><ul><li>Tentacles counted </li></ul>
  44. 50. Sea anemone morphology is variable NOT easy to study
  45. 51. What I’ve learnt from field applications from Dr Daphne Fautin? <ul><li>anemones from tide pools contract when exposed to air </li></ul><ul><li>can detach and move </li></ul><ul><li>difficult to determine size </li></ul><ul><li>density differs </li></ul><ul><li>incorrect to correlated size with age </li></ul>
  46. 52. Sand dollars ( Arachnoides placenta )
  47. 53. Sand stars ( Astropecten sp.) 
  48. 54. Common sea stars ( Archaster typicus )
  49. 55. Button shells ( Umbonium vestiarum )
  50. 56. Peacock Anemones (Order Ceriantharia ) 
  51. 57. The sandbar before mass mortality is covered with several Stichodactyla haddoni . After the mass mortality, the sand bar is almost barren of Stichodactyla haddoni . These post mortality photographs were taken as part of using photographs for comparison and also to monitor recruitment over time. 12 January 2002 25 December 2007 16 August 2007 22 January 2008
  52. 58. Panoramic photo taken from tower 15 July 2007 16 August 2007 28 October 2007 25 December 2007 22 January 2008
  53. 59. Figure: Aerial photograph of Chek Jawa (squared in white) and its surrounding. Photo by Google Earth. Kuala Johore Salinity decreases
  54. 60. December 06 and January 07 Rainfall events <ul><li>The northeast monsoon intensified twice due to “strong surge events over South China Sea” </li></ul><ul><li>Flooding reported in different parts of Malaysia and Singapore </li></ul><ul><li>Freshwater surge into Chek Jawa from Johor River </li></ul>
  55. 61. What contributed to the amplified hyposalinity at Chek Jawa? <ul><li>incidents of low tide </li></ul><ul><li>amplified river output </li></ul><ul><li>prolonged direct rainfall </li></ul>
  56. 62. Side view Bird’s eye view
  57. 63. Nearing submission of report… <ul><li>Data compilation for analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Drafting nonstop for THE report </li></ul><ul><li>Hunt for more help from “good people” </li></ul><ul><li>Weighed down by perfectionism </li></ul><ul><li>Oral presentation drill </li></ul><ul><li>Oral presentation exam with two professors </li></ul>
  58. 64. Challenges and frustrations <ul><li>especially at the beginning (totally “blur”) </li></ul><ul><li>limitations in survey methologies </li></ul><ul><li>Have to learn how to accept failures </li></ul><ul><li>Organise and coordinate trips </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulties to account for many other things </li></ul><ul><li>There are also not-so-helpful people </li></ul>
  59. 65. What is the future for Chek Jawa? <ul><li>might not be such a disaster after all </li></ul><ul><li>Appears to be recovering positively </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment of larvae from nearby shores play important role as seeding sites </li></ul><ul><li>Designation as protected area enhances natural recovery </li></ul><ul><li>Marine life is vulnerable, thus a better understanding is essential to protect Chek Jawa </li></ul>
  60. 66. What are my future plans after UROPs? <ul><li>Preparing to publish my findings </li></ul><ul><li>Working on sea stars behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>teaching after I graduate from NUS </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing experiences with my students </li></ul>
  61. 67. My honours project on sand star behaviour and ecology Astropecten indicus
  62. 68. How UROPs has enhanced my undergraduate experience ? <ul><li>Understand the meaning of research </li></ul><ul><li>Start questioning, analysing and exploring </li></ul><ul><li>More questions than answers </li></ul><ul><li>The potential of Chek Jawa for research </li></ul><ul><li>Walk out of comfort zone </li></ul><ul><li>Wholesome student and learner </li></ul>
  63. 69. Life at Chek Jawa
  64. 75. Some interesting experiences
  65. 76. Celebrating Christmas at Chek Jawa
  66. 78. My first filming experience
  67. 79. Featured at The Straits Time
  68. 80. Featured at NUS Advertorial, The Straits Time
  69. 82. Thank you & best wishes