Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We would shout and swim about, the corals that lies beneath the waves: Tanah Merah 25/7 (II)

The previous post introduced some of the many critters at Tanah Merah, and of course i harped on the rubbish i encountered. to prove my point that Creeper Snails are really everywhere (i have a weird obsession with them im not sure why) :

Here they are again, crawling all over this poor Sea Urchin, which can be commonly sighted at Changi but hardly at Tanah Merah.

anyways, we also saw some interesting Anemones on the shore:

like this very plain Anemone above that they nick-named "Bob", due to its lack of features (however, no one has yet to identify it).

and this one quietly buried in the sand, waiting to strike. i would have missed it if not for Liana's sharp eyes.

I especially love this one here. how some of suction/tentacles are opened and some are closed.

For many people like me who didnt know, Anemones arent as innocent as they look. they are actually pretty fierce predators. they look pretty, however, they can sting and release toxins which are highly toxic and likely fatal to fishes and crabs. This gives the Anemones its 'sticky' and kinda soapy feeling when touched.

A particular group of fishes, the Anemonefish (a very creative name), are immuned to their stings. yes, Nemo the clownfish belongs to that group.

Well, since i quoted the Beatles song as my title, i will have to talk about the Coral Garden right next to Tanah Merah Jetty.

its right on the other side of this seemingly friendly seawall:

no biggie people, just climb over it and you'll get to coral land!!!

okay im kidding. please DO NOT attempt to climb this seawall if you are on your own. the stones are coated with algae and sea muck, making it really slimy and slippery.i swear i nearly died climbing over it. i was distracting myself by talking to ivan and he said he would write me a nice epitaph if i die haflway. so, DO NOT climb it on your own. on the other side:

i have to admit it was worth it. i never thought i would ever see something like this in mainland singapore. coral rubble, live corals, rocks rocks and more rocks. it was semi-heaven for me.

These are corals i believe, but i was too far away perched precariously on a lone rock, to take good pictures. i was too scared to step down in case i step on a Stonefish.

and i believe this picture below is a coral rubble:

Im sorry to say this, but i never knew that corals are living creatures till i took the Biophysical Env of Singapore module in NUS. i just thought they were pretty marine structures. BUT i now know corals are alive! and they (*refers to textbook):

- thrive in clear, warm waters and are mainly found in the tropics. (this is where geography comes in!)

- feed on plankton and other tiny swimming animals which they immobilize with their stinging cells (kinda like the anemones)

for more a more detailed post on the Coral Garden, visit Koksheng's blog! i kinda freaked out halfway and went back. so i didnt get the great pictures that he did.

anyways, tomorrow for the geography of tanah merah shore! please stay tuned.

love, serene!

hi hi hi there!

#2 Rocky candidate

This rock came from the White Chalk Cliffs of Dover, England. The cliffs are of very fine grained Limestone. If you look at the first picture (Click to enlarge), the grains are really tiny.

This Limestone consist of:

- Calcium Carbonate (the white parts), which depositions of skeletal remains of planktonic algae and other sea-bed dwelling organisms come together to form sediments of CaCO3.

- Flint (the black reflective parts of the second picture)

- Quartz (small colorless crystals of the third picture)

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, meaning it's made of various minerals being cemented together over time. and whats so special about this particular stone is that, the entire cliff was once below the ocean.

Since the calcium carbonate part came from depositions of sea-dwelling creatures, it is evident that tectonic activites over the millions of years uplifted that part of the seabed upwards. and the years of weathering then, exposed the chalk cliff!

beautiful isnt it? (:

(source: answersingenesis)

Thanks John, you couldnt have chosen a better rock! (:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If you were an ocean, I'd learn to float: Tanah Merah Shore 25/7 (I)

On a bright and early Saturday morning... okay scratch that, on a DARK and REALLY early Saturday morning, 4AM:
(this is the view outside my window)

i crawled up, looking forward, to my first unguided intertidal trip to Tanah Merah shore. according to Kok Sheng, its the best mainland reef in Singapore. i just have to see it for myself

Firstly, some background info on the Tanah Merah area. "Merah" means "Red" in malay, and Tenah Merah was once famous for its red lateritic cliffs.

okay, dont get all worked up over the word "lateritic", it simply means weathered material rich in aluminium and iron. Thus, giving it a reddish tinge. The cliffs, i suppose, are now gone, after massive reclamation occured in the early 1970s. what a pity ):

sometimes development really compromises the natural environment, and unfortunately for singapore, natural landscapes are often placed behind development, due to the Brown Agenda that Singapore adopts. I.e. the government is more concerned with end-of-the-pipe pollution monitoring, instead of conservation.

nevertheless, the reclaimed shore is still brimming with life:

Like these flat heads, a black one and a BW stripped one. i love how they are so placid. unlike some of the other gan-chiong fishes which totally freaked out when we walked a little closer.

we also saw this very very very cute Sweetlip fish. it looks sleepy! im dedicating this picture to the Sweet Leaf karin (:This is one of the very gan-jiong fishes im talking about - a Flat Fish (note different from Flathead). go a little closer to it and it will swim away, rather violently.

And this is a Rabbitfish. its very much alive, i assure you, for it is submerged in the shallow water. however, it attempted to kill itself a couple of times. and we had to nudged it back into the water, and it would violently swim out again. it happened like... 6 times.

'Rabbitfish'- the name makes it sound pretty harmless. however, the spines on the fins contain venomous glands that will sting if touched. its a defensive tool instead of an offensive one, as they are herbivores.

The shore is literally covered with these Creeper Snails, i tried to avoid stepping on them but to no avail. Liana also showed me these very beautiful Dubious Nerite Snails (yes thats their real name DUBIOUS huh) :

they are so incredibly tiny! i thought that they were simply larger grains of sediments. however, if you noticed, each individual snail has different markings on its shell.

This is an orange Moonsnail, so pretty!

This is an Acorn Worm (up). it 'eats' the sediments and extracts the organic materials in the sediments and later passes the rest of the sediments out (down).

This is a Fan Worm when its closed up. And when it is opens, it looks like this:

and another Fan worm of different color, incredible arent they. i used to think that all worms are gross till i saw them.

and there is my favourite, the Peanut Worm:

they are burrowing creatures, and here is an example of a kaypo worm poking out to the surface:

we later saw a whole bunch of different crabs on the shore, most which i cannot identify. like these:

hahaha look at their eyes!

and this is a Moon Crab:

and a very fierce Flower Crab which tried to giap Liana:

its amazing isnt it. that all these could be seen on a reclaimed shore, filled with litter:

(i cant write a proper post without commenting on the rubbish i see) and notice those black dots around the rubbish? they are really the Creeper Snails i mentioned above.

this post is getting a little long hahahaa.
stay tuned for the next one, on the anemones and other critters that we spotted (or at least they spotted HAHAHA). and also the physical geography factors behind it all! This is only the beginning!!! (:

Love, serene!

Special Thanks to: Koksheng for organising this trip, Liana, James and Ivan for company (:
Special Thanks to: Ria for helping me figure out what is wrong with my blogger dashboard!!!

On a completely unrelated note, ive started a rock collection. my friends who went travelling picked up many many rocks for me along the way. and after every post, i'll talk a little bit about one of them.

so the first candidate:

this is a volcanic rock and it came from Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand. Serchung picked it up for me when he was there for some army training thing (a very convenient valentine's day present).


okay anyways, Mt Ruapehu is a very active stratovolcano. Its eruptions are explosive in nature, very much UNLIKE those in Hawaii, which eruptions are more subdue. an example of an eruption at Mt Ruapehu:


the lava (magma = molten rock under the earth's surface, lava = molten rock on the earth's surface), is Andesitic in nature. Andesitic, meaning it has marine mineral influence, as the mt ruapehu is form when the Oceanic crust subducts under a less dense oceanic crust.

This process injects the ocean water into the molten rock (magma) mixture and when the molten mixture comes up to the surface during an eruption, it cools to form the rock i have.

did i lose you guys there? (i think jiayi just fainted). a diagram wld be good here:

(source: USGS)

This process is still taking place today. as one plate continues subducting under the other. it has been taking place over millions and millions of years. HAHA and i have a bit of that history sitting on my desk right now. (:

i love plate tectonics and i promise there will be more of such stuff to come.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

News Flash: Total Solar Eclipse!

Prolly a lot of people already know about this, but...

My friend, Wanleng (aka Anty), just told me that a Total Solar Eclipse will occur on:

Wednesday, 22nd July 2009

– 08:40:51 AM to 09:43:55

Maximum Eclipse at 09:11:26 AM

Here to find out more about the Eclipse. Dont miss it! it is apparently the fullest one in the 21st century (well we are only 10 yrs into the century, but never mind.)

Im so excited HAHAHA, I'll be going to Sungei Buloh with some friends to catch this (:
updates after wednesday! (:

Love, serene!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Xiao Gui Lin II: Some random finds and photos

Quite a few of my friends told me that they didnt know about Xiao Guilin till they saw the blog entry. so i thought maybe i should put up more pictures of this awesome granite quarry (ex-quarry?). here are some random pictures i took:

I love the innocence of this picture. it kinda reminds me of the stories my dad used to tell me about his childhood - catching spiders and fishing. It says nothing of the fast-living urban life that many of us lead.

We also saw several small figures of a Hindu God on the Granite hill that we climbed. after showing Vithya the pictures, she told me this is Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. she reckons that there are two reasons why the figures are here. Firstly, someone may think that this spot is Holy, thus, he/she placed the figures here to 'guard' the place. Second reason is more practical. the person wanted to get rid of the figures, but he/she did not want to chuck it in the trash. thus, placed Ganesha at this scenic spot. So if you see them, dont freak out.

the diverse types of joints found at Xiao Gui Lin. you can see the vertical and horizontal joints (straight lines on the rock),intersecting to form Cuboidal Joints - making the rock out to be kinda like a cube.

The granite... intrusion, hill, ex-quarry whatever, from another point of view. i love it i love it i love it I LOVE IT.

i think these are mint plants (Mentha), they smell like the mint veggie thing my grandma puts in our Hakka dish Lei Cha. i never knew they are so pretty! and they really florish in rocky environments. im quite apprehensive when it comes to putting up pictures of plants and/or animals.. as im not a biologist/ecologist, im not good at identifying them. so if you can, pls leave a
comment (: thanks.

OMG. OKAY CORRECTION: this is NOT MINT. i received an email from Chen Ko. apparently this is Lantana camara. it is one of the top ten MOST TOXIC WEEDS found, so please DO NOT TRY IT. it smells like mint, BUT IT ISNT MINT. omg i am damn cainiao. thanks chenko!!!

Sab gave me this awesome paper bag right before my trip to Xiao Gui Lin. awesome isnt it?!


A really beautiful contrast. (:

love, serene!

Thanks to mr chongserchung for teaching me how to spell 'Scenic' HAHAHAHA.