Poster presentation is on the 26 of March. Thesis is due on 10 April.
So I have been sorting like mad. Horseshoe crab gut samples are all done and I am left with 7 sediment samples.
Managed to id another gut content with TK’s help. Chironomid larvae. Identifying them took some CSI work with only the heads being recognizable until I found a few complete chironomids in the gut content.
According to Wiki, chironomids are insects, non-biting flies to be exact. Larvae are found in supposedly degraded ecosystems because they have adapted to anoxic conditions. Does it mean Mandai is polluted? Not necessarily. Because the mud habitat is generally anoxic.
An interesting thing to note is that juvnile horseshoe crabs (T. tridentatus and C. rotundicauda) in Hong Kong feed mainly on chironomid larvae. Doesn’t seem the case for Mandai where polychaetes are the most commonly occurring food item. Why the disparity? Might be because insect larvae aren’t as abundant as polychaetes in Mandai? Haven’t found chironomids in the sediments so far.
TK also helped me identified another gut content. This is a barnacle larvae, cypris to be exact. She went for a graduate congress in Malaysia and the speaker was talking about his study on barnacles. She messaged me excitedly to tell me that she had a possible id for my unknown gut content, after which she managed to catch the guy and show him my photo. The guy said highly possible that its a cypris and also mentioned that they are ideal food for other organisms at this stage because they hold alot of nutrition content (they do not feed at this stage, priority is to look for a good environment to settle down, so the nutrients in them are supposed to last them till they settle down).
Sorting mud sediment samples are extremely painful because the sediments are very fine and you really need to look very closely to pick out infauna. The sand ones are much better because they are coarser and infauna is easier to spot. So far nothing that in particular that caught my attention in the sediments, maybe because I kind of have already seen everything that is there. But copepods are still my favourite.
Yen Ling from TMSI is also helping me with polycheate identification based on fangs. These biod people are all so helpful, glad to be in such a community:) Will post about polychaetes soon!
In other news, I went for HSBC’s coastal cleanup at Semakau. Its such a trash filled place, and I really do not like styrofoam now. Horrbile styrofoam, they break down into small bits that are extremely detrimental to the ecosystem because animals may ingest them. Interesting how I noticed that all the mangrove trees where Rhizophoras and Ngan Kee mentioned about how when they replanted mangroves, only one species was planted. Haha.
I also went birding with the birder Grace Tang for our urban ecology project. Quite fun, even though waking up at 5am is crap. I learnt about the Crimson Sunbird and the Blue Crown Hanging Parrot and alot of other birds that I can’t remember. Interesting to note that I can’t spot birds/terrestrial life for nuts. Must be something to do with the search image. I’m gonna get the terrestrial people to bring me out after FYP.
Blogging is also good because it forces me to research and consolidate my thoughts. Life’s realllllly busy, but nice in a way because I love what I’m doing.