Tuesday, May 29, 2007
As those in the know would realise, you have to be a little insane to do research on ecology. Sure, there are perks, such as the very obvious one of diving for work (no-one tells you of the seasickness and the long long hours), and getting paid (albeit peanuts) to dive on coral reefs in exotic locations (sometimes). For me, one of the major thrills is the challenge of unravelling the mysteries behind each organism that make up an ecosystem. Each time I dive, I'm just amused and amazed at the wonderful complexity that can arise from a driver as simple as natural selection, something akin to fractal patterns, where within seeming chaos lies an order, and it's such a joy to unravel each question to find the underlying pattern.
Sounds fine and dandy. So what's so bad about being an ecologist? You know the complexity that I love so much? It's just terrible for experimentation! So there I have this really neat fish predator exclusion experiment, which is just great on paper- collect a bunch of sponges, cage half of them, see if fish eat them. Simple! Well, I found out recently why noone seems to work on encrusting cryptic sponges....They're a real b**ch to remove! And when I tried to collect rubble pieces with the sponge growing on it, the wondrous complexity everpresent on the coral reef has it such that loads of other organisms grow on the same small rubble piece! Argh. So much for the best laid plans of men and marine biologists. Times like this, I hit myself on the forehead underwater and ask myself why why, why did I quit my job to come to graduate school? Why didn't I do something 'safer', like genetics work, or pure biochemistry? Why afflict myself with the vagaries of weather and life itself? Damn ecology!
With all these plans that I'm flushing down the can, why am I still putting myself through all this torture? When it comes down to ultimately...I guess I just wouldn't have it any other way... :)
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Things seemed steady at first, but as we left the shelter of the shallows, I could begin to see why small craft advisories were in place for the past week. Stomachs churned as we rocked and bobbed on the roiling sea towards Conch Reef. As we geared up and strapped our BCs on, I finally threw in the towel, and decided that donating my breakfast to the sea was preferable to holding it in and spewing cereal on my labbies in the boat.
It was definitely preferable to stay deep down underwater then bucking about on the surface, so we decided on super-short intervals, changed tanks quickly, and jumped right back in. Coming back wasn't too easy too. Slammed myself against the boat while hanging on the ladder coming up. Thank goodness for short Force Fins...
But...it was good to see my survey data coming in, and Mycale laevis fragments gathering within their collection cages. Now to psyche myself for the next few days without lunch!
Saturday, May 26, 2007
See how long it was?
Friday, May 25, 2007
And I certainly provided a lot of entertainment for the guys. They even skipped Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider to attack my hair with gusto and stainless steel scissors. Joe finished off with the clippers, set to #6.
Now I have to apply sunblock to my scalp before going out! How strange...
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
On the plus side, I guess I have not slept so well as I did last night for weeks, and I took a very nice healthful walk during sunset today. Tim, Steve, and the NURC guys hooked up my pneumatic drill today, and we took it for a test run on a limestone rock sitting in the parking lot. Not too bad, I just need to find a way to start drilling cleanly, so I don't score the coral surface so much. We went to pick up Sven and Kyle from Miami airport 3 hours earlier than we planned, except Steve took a wrong turn and we ended up stuck in Miami traffic for about 2 hours, haha.
Tomorrow we build multitudes of Vexar cages and punch out hundreds of Dymo tape labels! Please wind, die down soon!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
A thing of beauty in full bloom
Your vibrant colours shining through
The soft scent of fragrance that wafts from you
O cursed time stole your youth
That I could hold out my hand
And stop this path of sand
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Cross a windy bridge one winter night
Past Embankment Gardens enter warmth and light
Face the music (It's never easy)
Forget the chill
Face the future (It's never easy)
Find the will
If life is worth living, it's got to be done
One might be forgiven for thinking it's a life on the run
Many roads will cross through many lives
But somehow you survive
Look around, picture what's in store
Is this the final edit, or is the subject now a bore?
Don't shrug your shoulders (It's always easy)
You can't ignore
That life is worth living, it's still worth a damn
One might be forgiven for thinking it's something of a sham
Many words may make it sound contrived
But somehow we're alive
The survivors - Our heads bowed
The survivors - At memorials for other faces in the crowd
Teachers and artists (It's never easy)
And Saturday girls
In suits or sequins (It's never easy)
If life is worth living, (If life is worth living)
It's got to be run (It's got to be run)
As a means of giving, (As a means of giving)
Not as a race (race) to be won (not to be won)
Many roads will run through many lives
But somehow we'll arrive
Many roads will run through many lives
But somewhere we'll survive
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Notice - Environmental report for disposal of dredged material at designated containment site east of Pulau Semakau. 02 May 2007.
The Public Utilities Board plans to dredge sediment material from Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon. The dredged material will be placed in the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's designated containment site east of Pulau Semakau. Studies have been carried out to determine the environmental impact of this activity.
The environmental report is available, for public viewing by appointment, at the Environment Building, 40 Scotts Road, Singapore 228231 for 4 weeks with effect from 2nd May 2007.
To view the said report, please contact Mr Sim Hock Lai at 67313820 or via email at .
Anyone who wishes to inspect the said report after 29th May 2007 can contact Mr Sim Hock Lai to make arrangements to view it.
"First published in the Government Gazette, Electronic Edition, on 2nd May 2007 at 5.00 pm."
Sunday, May 06, 2007
1. They can survive in really elevated levels of sedimentation, levels more than one level of magnitude higher than those reported to KILL corals. Ain't that cool?
2. They seem to be more resistant to bleaching-related mortality brought about by elevated sea surface temperatures (SSTs) such as during the El Nino event in 1998. About 25% mortality (correct me if wrong) compared to massive die-offs such as in the Maldives?
If these attributes have a genetic basis, as maladaptive corals around the world die-off in response to habitat degradation (e.g. increased terrestrial run-off) and climate change, Singapore corals could become important genetic broodstock to re-seed surrounding areas! We need to save them now!
Okay, I'm making a heck of alot of assumptions here, but isn't this something worth thinking about?