Otterman speaks... (2003-2007)
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Otterman speaks...

Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives

List of Categories : travel * museum * cycling * Singapore Naturalist * science * kakis * mangroves * movies * mac and the internet * meow * NUS * life in Singapore * lit * world *

Fri 13 Feb 2004

Crawling for shrimp

Category : mangroves

There are two species of snapping shrimps in the mangroves, Alpheus euphrosyne and A. microrhynchus. They are easily heard by any casual visitor to the mangrove because of the popping sounds that snapping shrimps make.

You see, they are heard, not seen, and some researchers claim they are difficult to find. However, they are actually easily found. Likely, it is simply that I somehow recognise the sub-habitat, i.e. the specific area in space and time in the mangroves where they are found. This could be due to one or more factors such as soil type, tidal position, water salinity, predation pressure, food availability, etc. Few areas in the mangrove are alike when considered this way, and knowing this for ecologically significant species is extremely helpful in ecosystems management and impact.

My recognition, though, merely comes from a healthy number of hours of contemplative crawling in the mud since I first step into mangroves.

Well, earlier today, I was trying to demonstrate the search technique to Yen Ling. Hardly a scientific display, instead it seemed I was tapping into the Force. Well, I may have, as I was walking around aimlessly, before instinctively settling onto a spot. I uncovered the first prawn, and then itr seemed popping sounds peppered the air - we had hit Snapping Shrimp Central! In the two metre radius we settled in, some 30 mangrove snapping shrimps were relaxedly uncovered in about an hour.

Yen Ling's project attempts to uncover the complex parameters behind the seeming mumbo-jumbo - by defining the subhabitat in which these snapping shrimps are found. She'll get very muddy in the process and perpetuate a long-held research tradition in our mangroves.

Posted at 9:16AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | , .