Biology Overseas Fieldtrip to Tanjung Sutera Resort, Sedili 13-14 March 2008

39 students and 5 teachers went to Tanjung Sutera Resort, Sedili for a field studies course. The focus of the trip will be a visit to an palm oil mill and an investigation on rocky shore ecology. Despite the very wet weather, all of the trip’s objectives were met.

The team first went to the Felda palm oil processing mill where short presentation on the various stages of palm oil processing was conducted, the students also had a chance to examine the products at various stages of palm oil processing before going for a short tour of the mill.

At Tanjung Sutera resort, the team continued their discussion on the issue of using palm oil as a biofuel. Once the weather clears up, they quickly moved down to the rocky shore for a quick walk to explore the various organisms at the high intertidal region. Amongst the interesting things seen were land crabs, hermit crabs, goose barnacles, and the shell of a horse shoe crab. The team moved back for dinner when it started raining.

After a short lesson on intertidal ecology, the team went down for an amphibian survey. They had the good fortune of seeing the four lined tree frog, banded bull frog, dark spotted chorus frog and also the asiatic toad. What is particularly interesting were the banded bull frogs congregating together at a pond and the males trying to out do each other with their mating calls. The result was this cacophony of frog calls, bull frogs dominating the majority of the air time, chorus frogs sneaking in between.

The next morning’s weather was perfect for the rocky shore transect. All spent a good 2 hours exploring the various zones where the transition of organisms at various zones were very distinct. As they progressed toward the low intertidal zone, organisms such as sea anemone, sea cucumbers and swimming crabs began to appear. The interplay of abiotic factors and biotic factors were clearly shown in the students’ transect data.

Photos of the trip here

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This was a compact field studies courses with ended with more questions for everyone to ponder over. For the coming term, there will be a Kent Ridge walk organised by the Sec 4 Bio and History RA students.

Resource on Ecological studies on Amphibians – Sodhi, N.S., Bickford, D., Diesmos, A.C., Lee, T.M., Koh, L.P., Brook, B.W., Sekercioglu, C.H., Bradshaw, C.J.A. 2008. Measuring the Meltdown: Drivers of Global Amphibian Extinction and Decline. PLoS ONE 3(2): e1636. (PDF)

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