There is a stretch of shore on Sentosa that I've long wanted to check out.
Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.) suggests that there are reefs out there!
From Google Earth, there are tantalizing signs of a large expanse of reef outside the seawall (circled in yellow) as well as mangroves in the sea-fed lagoon (circled in red).
Bakau pasir (Rhizophora stylosa) which have naturally settled here. This mangrove tree is listed as Vulnerable on the Singapore Red List, and this the densest patch of naturally growing Bakau pasir that I've seen!
Merambong (Scaevola taccada).
Elegant branching sponge (Haliclona sp.), a large patch of flourescent Lumpy pink sponge (Haliclona cf. baeri) and some other sponges that I'm not familiar with. Swee Cheng, our resident sponge expert, would certainly find this lagoon very interesting!
pink ascidians which are animals too. We often see the Red-tipped flatworm (Pseudoceros bifurcus) on these ascidians, but these worms are usually more active at night. I can imagine this lagoon coming alive after sunset!
Periwinkle (Family Littorinidae) on a mangrove leaf. And many little Chut-chut (Cerithidea quadrata) crawling about on the rocks.
Sea mat zoanthids (Palythoa tuberculosa). Sea mat zoanthids contain the highly toxic palytoxin. It is reported that the Hawaiian natives produced poisoned arrows by rubbing the tips on the zoanthid Palythoa toxica. It is believed that the toxins are not produced by the animal but by bacteria that live in symbiosis with the polyps. Even a boring looking animal can have fascinating stories!
Favid corals (Family Faviidae). Each hard coral is a colony of tiny animals called polyps. Each polyp produces a hard skeleton. What you see as a hard coral is the joined up skeletons of countless tiny polyps. The different patterns of a coral is the result in the different ways the polyps create their skeletons.
Pore corals (Porites sp.). The polyps of all reef-building hard corals harbour microscopic, single-celled algae (called zooxanthellae). The polyp provides the zooxanthellae with shelter and minerals. The zooxanthellae use sunlight to carry out photosynthesis inside the polyp and share the food produced with the polyp. Hard corals are the 'trees' of an underwater rainforest, producing from sunlight, shelter and food for a whole food chain in the reefs.
Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.) and Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.) which I don't often see on even the Tanjung Rimau side of Sentosa.
Bleach Watch Singapore blog.
There are several small Leathery soft corals (Family Alcyonidae) which were not bleached. These are also colonies of tiny polyps, which are retracted at low tide revealing their common leathery tissue.
Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.). Perhaps there are larger anemones in deeper water here? Singapore's large anemones often harbour clown anemonefishes!
Button zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.).
Blue spatula sponge (Lamellodysidea herbacea), the Yellow many-coned sponge (Spheciospongia sp.) and Smooth blue sponge (Lendenfeldia cf. chondrodes). I also saw a small Yellow pot sponge (Rhabdastrella globostellata).
Dwarf turban snails (Turbo bruneus), Drills (Family Muricidae) - so named because they can drill holes through barnacles and other immobile shelled animals! And the Spotted top shell snail (Trochus maculatus).
While we were busy looking at the outside shore, Shufen and Jit Chern collected some precious propagules of the rare Bakau pasir for propagation and replanting.
Once again, many thanks to Gee Khoon and Shao Wei and the many warm and friendly Sentosa team members who were just as excited as we were to explore the fascinating natural parts of Serapong. We look forward to meeting them and the shore again!
I've uploaded 300dpi photos of Serapong marine life on wildsingapore flickr for free download. Hope I can add better quality photos later!