Saving ourselves via youtube

We’re asking for your help in a unique online experiment that we hope will raise awareness of environmental damage in a new and effective way.

In an opinion article that will appear in the September issue of The Scientist magazine, we propose that posting videos on YouTube could be one of the most effective ways of showcasing just how much environmental damage is being caused worldwide. To test this idea, we and The Scientist magazine are proposing a crowd sourcing experiment. We’re calling on scientists around the globe to post one or more short video clips on a specially created YouTube channel that documents the effects of environmental damage in their local area. For instance, if there is species and habitat loss, regional effects of climate change, or environmentally-unfriendly activities that people continue to commit despite repeated warnings, post a video of this on the channel. If you have posted this type of video elsewhere on YouTube please link their video to this channel, so that this creates a centralized source of evidence for the global impact of environmental damage. If you don’t have videos, but have pictures on Flickr, then post the relevant links in the discussion pages.

As you are all too aware, the public at large is still unaware of the extent of the planet’s environmental problems, and government policy makers are still refusing to commit to measures that would help create real change. With your help, we hope that a network of local videos and images will combine to create a compelling snapshot of environmental effects worldwide. So please do take part in this crowdsourcing experiment, and help us pass the message on through emails, blogs, and word-of-mouth — the more videos posted, the more the public can learn about the problems at hand, and the more that governments will find it difficult to ignore the need to act any longer.

Heavy Metals in 2 genera of seaweed Ulva and Sargassum in Singapore

I have been very busy dealing with my research project since the beginning of the year till now. The research project was done to fulfil part of my graduation requirement for my Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental).

Due to the subject of the research, I had been travelling to differents shores with the Wildfilm crews to collect my samples. Because of their help, I was able to collect 16 different samples from different localities and analyse the heavy metals in them.

Abstract of my thesis:
The concentrations of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn of 2 genera of seaweed (Ulva and Sargassum) found in intertidal coastal environments in Singapore were determined using microwave digestion and ICP-MS. In general, heavy metals are found to preferentially accumulate in Ulva with the order, Zn > Cu > Ni > Pb > Cr > Cd, while the accumulation in Sargassum follows the order Zn > Cu > Ni > Cr > Pb > Cd. The highest level of heavy metals was found in Sargassum, with Zn concentrations up to 58.16µg g-1 (dry weight) and the lowest level of heavy metals is found to be 0.02 µg g-1 for Cd. The levels of contamination in Singapore appear to be similar to low and moderately polluted sites in the world. Comparison with heavy metals found in edible seaweeds displays close similarities for all metals except Cu. However, the Pb concentration in the seaweeds is not in compliance with Singapore legislative requirement.

Of cloudless sky, stars and a leaking boat

On the last day of April, in the midst of my exams, I decided to go on a sample collection trip with Wildfilms to Beting Bronok (somewhere near Tekong I was told) to try to collect my final sample of seaweed for analysis.

We are supposed to meet at 4am in the morning, such ungodly hours, at Changi Point Ferry Terminal. With no private transport of my own, I had to take a cab to be there on time. We left the jetty on time on a big bum boat that was blurping out heaps of dark gasoline smoke. Perhaps that was a omen of things to come. Barely making it of the Changi beach, the boat experienced its first malfunction. The engine died, leaving us adrift in the Serangoon Straits. It was a surreal experience actually, the gentle waves, the cloudless sky and the stars were out in full force. This is one of the few times where I have seen so many stars in Singapore. The bumboat pilot mumbled something about the boat leaking and went under to fix it. After a while, he emerged and we started making our way to Tekong. But soon, the boat engine died again and mild panic spread.

The plan to go to BB was abandoned and P. Sekudu was made the new destination. It later emerged at the end of the trip, only a pipe was leaking instead of the boat.

This is the start of the super low tide season in Singapore. Lots of animals were out and about in on the island. I’ll just put some photos here but I won’t attempt to identify them by their scientific name. 😉 I’m lazy.

Starfish and Sea Urchins
Starfish and Sea Urchins

Crab, Sekudu
Some Crab.

Eel, Sekudu
Eel hiding under a rock

Cuttlefish Eggs, Sekudu
Cuttlefish eggs attached on a rock

Creepy sponge, Sekudu
Some sponge. It’s a little creepy with the tiny things in the grooves.

Anaemones, Sekudu
Anaemones in Sekudu

Sunrise, Sekudu

Enough of still photos already. The next clip is filmed by me in “stingray” territory in the lagoon of Sekudu. Standing from where I am, I was surrounded by 4 stingrays, buried less than 10cm from my feet.
The video shows filefishes, stingrays and a Knobbly seastar

See also Ria’s post @ Wildfilms Blog
< Starry night on Sekudu >