Thursday, April 30, 2009

Discover Jong on 30 April 2009

Ninety Second Discovery Posting:

Today, I had the chance to step on an island which I've passed and seen over many times on the way to Semakau Land-fill Island. This island is Pulau Jong. To get an idea why I've seen it many times to my way to Semakau, refer to the picture below.
Pulau Jong is a small and unhabitated island near to Semakau land-fill island. But they are not the cause of our interest in the island. Jong intrigues us as it not only possess a undistrubed coastal forest, it also has an inter-tidal area which is larger than the area of the island seen during high tide.

However to land on the island itself is not simple as it does not have any proper landing site, thus an amphidious landing would be one of the few ways available for us to land. Probably the picture below can give you a better idea. It shows our 'first' team which have just achieved a landing via a small boat.
Before the rest could follow, we were halted in our steps by mother nature. Storm clouds were approaching us and very soon Jong was overcasted by them (picture below).
Luckily for us, it was a passing storm and our very experienced boat captain soon informed us that it was safe for the rest to leave the boat and land on Jong.

And so my first photo of Jong on Jong...hahaha (picture below)I've heard from the others who have been onto the island that one could find many soft corals there and true to their word, Jong was covered with loads of soft corals. Here's a little bit of them (picture below). Here's a photo showing the marine transfer station over at Semakau in the back while a small part of the inter-tidal area of Jong in the foreground (picture below). Exploring around, I came across a few black margined nudibranch (Glossodoris atromarginata), polka-dort nudibranches (Jorunna funebris), a phyllid nudibranch (not sure of its species), some blue-lined flatworms, a blue-spotted fantail ray (which swam pass my legs), many hairy crabs, etc.

There are 2 special things I wish to highlight in this posting. The first one or 'discovery' is the giant reef worm (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. Giant reef worms are commonly encountered on our southern shores. However, they are shy and will quicky hide at the sight or sense of danger. Thus, it takes great patience or luck to have a decent photo of one. This (picture above) was a lucky shot.
2. They are segmented worms and can grow to a lenght of about 1.5m.
3. You must not wish to handle this as they are known to give a nasty bite.
4. Read more about them @

The second one or 'discovery' is a nudibranch which I've never seen before. If I am not wrong, this is a nudibranch from the Genus Bornella. Below is a series of photos of the same individual. Discovery Note:
1. From what i read from wildfacts, it states that they are said to be able to swim by flexing its long body from side to side. This is true as it was flexing away at the point of time when I came across it.
2. They are said to feed on hydriods. This means there is a possibility that they will carry the stings of hydroids as a result of their diet and for self defense. For your own safety, never handle nudibranches with your bare hands.

Overall, it was a great trip despite having a shorter time than planned to explore the area. Thanks to LK for organising this trip and of cos everyone else. =D

Side note:
Jong is mentioned in an interesting proposal, the Singapore Blue Plan 2009.
The Singapore Blue Plan 2009, in summary, is a proposal to the government and people of Singapore regarding about the conservation and rehabilitation of our coastal and marine heritage. And within this plan, Jong is proposed to be one of the places to be listed as "Marine Biodiversity Areas".

Right now, this blue plan is a draft and the planning committee welcome any feedback. So head over to, download the draft and provide any suggestions or feedback.

For those interested to find out what plants are found there, I found a list made by JL while I was searching information on Jong online.
Here's the link >

a) Read KS's blog entry on this trip. It has loads of pictures on corals.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Semakau Inter Tidal Walk @ 12 April 2009

Ninety First Discovery Posting:

Personally, this morning was quite a talkative morning as I leaded a group of Sec 2 students from Tampines Secondary. It was talkative because the group I was leading was talking amongst themselves almost on and on when I wasn't talking...hahaha.

Anyway, I'll feature some of the things we saw in today's walk. First 'discovery' are a group of sea stars found in a 'weird' position (picture below).
Discovery Note:
1. This unique positioning pattern is actually a part of the common sea stars' mating ritual.
2. The male, which is usually smaller in size, will be found on top of the female with its arms alternating with hers.
3. The common sea stars do not external reproduction organs. Therefore this behaviour is to increase the chance of exterior fertilisation.
4. Read more about this and the common sea star @

Here are two photos of the very talkative upside downs with their feet submerged in water (group name for the day, actually it's a short form for upside down jellyfish) (pictures below).
probably 25% Wacky Version (picture below).We were quite lucky this morning that our hunter seekers managed to spot a sea urchin. This is because it has been a while since once was spotted during a public walk, for me that is. Anyway, this is the second 'discovery' (picture below).Discover Note:
1. Sea Urchins are usually covered with lots of spiny spines.
2. These spines are used for moving around and at the same time for protection against most predators.
3. These spines can cause pain if contacted upon, so do not handle them with your bare hands.
4. The orange dot you see in the picture above is actually the anus of the urchin.
5. The mouth is located on the underside of the urchin.
6. To find out more about sea urchins, read on @

Next up on this post are nudibranchs, third 'discovery' (picture below).
Discovery Note:

1. 'Nudibranch' means 'naked gills'. The name comes from the flower-like gills found on the back of many nudibranchs. These nudibranchs use the gills to breathe.
Nudibranchs are related to snails. Little baby nudibranchs are born with shells, but they lose them when they become adults.

Most nudibranchs are carnivores, they eat immobile or small, slow-moving prey. Examples are sponges, ascidians, hard corals, soft corals, sea anemones etc.

4. To protect themselves, some produce distasteful substances, toxins and even acids. They advertise this with bright warning colours. Others are camouflaged to match their surroundings. Those that eat colourful creatures such as sponges or corals, may themselves be colourful to match their prey. Being small and flat, they can also easily hide in narrow places.

5. Read more about nudibranchs @

And after some hard work from our hunter seekers, people who set off first to look for marine creatures for us, they managed to find 3 knobbly sea stars, here's one of them (picture below).

Discovery Note:
1. They get their name from the knobs they have.
2. Although most of them are mostly red or orange in colour, beige or brown coloured knobbly sea stars have been spotted before also.

3. Can you believe that a knobbly seastar might be larger than your face? It’s about 30cm across! (look at the pictures below to get an idea)

4. As we need blood in our bodies to survive, sea stars need sea water to survive. So do not remove them from the water if possible!

5. Read more about knobbly sea stars @

Finally, a traditional group photo with the knobbly sea star (picture below)

Well, although verbally, it has been a quite tiring morning, i did enjoy the company. =D
Thank you, upside downs for this 'entertaining' morning, remember to only make noise when needed and don't make more teachers erm... dislike your class. =P