#12, My first Semakau OJT

Hi hi once again!

It was a great trip to Semakau once again... the only difference being that I was on a public guide- for the first time! (: It was an experience being able to interact with the students from Broadrick Secondary, and kudos to the leader of the group- Siyang, he did a great job guiding all of us, the Hermit Crabs. Thanks to Ms Wang for organizing the trip as well!

Really glad it didn't day 'cos the dark clouds were hovering above our heads.


Yay, we reached our destination: Pulau Semakau! (:

More about Pulau Semakau
Pulau Semakau's actually a landfill made up of two islands, Pulau Semakau & Pulau Sakeng. A 7km rock bund was then built surrounding the two island and the sea area in between- the road track actually resembles a car race track (as you can see in the photograph above).

The incinerated waste (ash) slowly fill the cells. The landfill is expected to be filled up by 2040 and unfortunately, it is the only landfill Singapore has left- what we can do is to minimize wastage by practising the three Rs, reduce, reuse and recycle.

The photographs on the top show of the landfill cells which are already filled

What can you expect from Semakau in the future?
As soon as the cells are filled, they would be topped up with soil to allow grass to grow. In the future, the place can then be transformed into a park or leisure area!

Alright, then we boarded the tour bus to pay a visit to the unloading bay. It's not smelly or filthy or anything, something we should be grateful for :D Most of the people on the bus were enthusiastically snapping photographs away.

Wind generator
This is a generator which provides energy (electricity) for the leisure activities in Semakau. This is in a bid to research for renewable energy (: It's very important, cos the Earth's resources are quickly dwindling.

I thought the sea was very beautiful. Took it at the southern most point of Semakau. It's light blue.


Right... so moving on! The bus soon dropped us off & sprayed our mozzie-repellants as we had to walk through the forest. Yes, and soon after we reached the intertidal area.

The inquisitive participants & the Fiddler Crab
Here, they were actually taking a look at the tiny male fiddler crab [Siyang was showing it to them]. The fiddler crabs seem to be in abundance in the intertidal area, especially in between the roots of the mangrove trees. It is interesting to note that if the male's large fiddler claw is lost, the males will then develop one on the opposite side in the next moult. [Crabs moult as they grow larger]

It was quite cute when the eyestalks of the fiddler crab bent in different directions (i.e. up & down).

For more information: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cwcs/pdf/FiddlerCrab.pdf, http://www.wildsingapore.com/chekjawa/text/s321.htm

Sponges in abundance!
These sponges belong to the Phylum Poifera, which means 'pore-bearing'. These sponges are extremely porous and are made up of colonies of loosely held cells. The pores in the sponge allows the cells to filter water, for food (such as organic material, bacteric, plankton etc.) - that's why they're called suspension feeders and oxygen as water is sucked in as well, for respiration.

These haemophroditic sponges reproduce by releasing sperms & eggs into the water, as cross-fertilization occurs as the other sponges nearby draw the sperms in. The larve, which has a tail-like structure, will later leave the parent sponge and find a suitable place to "plant" itself on. However, these sponges can also bud off from their parent sponge as well (asexual reproduction).

Sponges have proven to be useful as they can produce a variety of antibiotics. Researchers are currently working on isolating these antibiotics. In the past, before synthetic sponges were invented, these were the very bathing scrubs we used!

A noble volute & a scallop (bivalve)
The volute was actually laying eggs [left-hand side] and there was a scallop next to it [right-hand side]. Scallops have two similar-shaped shells and belong to a group of animals called 'bivalves'. Oysters and mussles also belong to the same group as the scallop. These scallops are fast swimmers as they are able to flap open & close its shell rapidly. Scallops are hermaphroditic, which allows it to switch genders. To breathe, these scallops actually have an in-current siphon (tube-like structure), allowing a channel for water to pass through its gills, before leaving an out-current siphon.

This one's almost fully fanned out like a flower as it's in water (: Anemones belong to the class Anthozoa, which mean flower animals (very apt name!) The mouth of the anemone's located in the centre. The mouth of the anemone also happens to be it's anus. The anemone has stinging cells (nematocysts) actually contain poison, thus it is not encouraged that we touch them. Also in touching an anemone, we might cause unnecessary stress on it.

Carpet Anemone
Two anemone shrimps were found on the carpet anemone. *points to the top left hand corner of the anemone* These shrimps are transparent with white stripes. To understand more about the relationship between these two organisms, you could read Siyang's post [http://uforest.blogspot.com/2008/03/anemone-shrimp.html].

Also, it is possible that the anemone consumes a (comparatively) large animal. It is able to use its venom to paralyse its prey and later, using its tentacles to push the food towards its mouth.

These are flower-like animals with colourful centres. Each circular polyp is linked to one another to form a colony. These zoanthids might seem mild & harmless but in fact possess poisons!

Hairy Crab (Or Teddy Bear Crab)
Awwww. I think this is so very cute, which explains its other name, the 'Teddy Bear Crab'. The Hairy crab has hair structures all over its body to trap sediments, allowing it to blend into its surroundings, especially when in the water, these hair structures flare up/out, making the crab's body outline almost fully camouflaged. These Hairy Crabs actually feed on the zoanthids (as above), and thus are mildly poisonous.

Sandfish Sea Cucumber
This animal has an endoskeleton to support itself. Its ability of its skin to soften and harden has brought about new research. You can read it here > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7279088.stm.

Blue-spotted Fantail Stingray
First time seeing this sea animal! It was nearly immobile because of the lowtide. There were two stingers growing out of the stingray, which contains venom, so be careful not to step on them because of their venomous spines at the end of their tail. The eggs of the stingray usually remain in the mother's body till they are about to hatch. The eggs are nourished by the egg yolk.

Other creatures we managed to see were the synaptid sea cucumber, nudibranches, flatworms, spider conch & the all-time famous knobbly sea star! (:

Really enjoyed the walk this time!

Thanks to Ron & Siyang for helping correct the facts of this post! :D


Siyang said...

Haha, thanks for the compliments, I'm flattered. U did well urself~ Now I have high hopes for u, so u better dun disappoint me! :)

EUNICEEESH(: said...

haha hi siyang :)

you were really good that day! waaa high hopes? *feeling the pressure already >.<* will do my best & improve so i can reach yr standard eh.

Jason said...

wah... the weather mus be veri good!
i love the few shots of the clouds.

EUNICEEESH(: said...

:) thx. but it was actually going to rain! lol!