06 July 2012

How's Labrador shore doing?

Siti and I monitor the seagrasses at Labrador as part of TeamSeagrass early this morning.
Labrador is one of the last few shores on the mainland with good growths of seagrasses, and it has been affected by the massive reclamation for the new Pasir Panjang container terminal (seen on the horizon in this photo).


My last trip here was in May. The seagrasses near the entrance are still looking well. Mostly Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) with  Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) nearer the high water mark, and nice long Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides).
This is a photo of the same area taken in 2005.
Seagrass meadow on Labrador shore
Here's some photos of the monitoring sightings in this area today.
I am particularly excited by the nice seagrass growths near the seawall.
Here's a look at the seagrasses there with the 50cmx50cm quadrat for scale.
Here's a closer look at the nice healthy seagrasses here. The leaf blades are nice and long and big and mostly clear of epiphytes.
West of the jetty, the seagrasses are less abundant. And it shows in our monitoring.
There are some small patches of Spoon seagrass near the high water mark.
There used to be more seagrasses here as this photo taken in 2005 shows.
Labrador shore
Further west and closer to the Pasir Panjang Container Terminal project, there is even less grass.
The tide was super low today, so Siti and I had a quick look at the low water mark area which is usually covered by water.  How nice to see patches of Tape seagrasses near the low water mark! We wouldn't see these seagrasses during a normal low tide.
Some patches of the Tape seagrasses are cropped but not as short as those at Cyrene Reef. Here's what Len of Seagrass-Watch shared about why they might be cropped.
I was also surprised to come across some medium sized coral colonies of Montipora corals (Montipora sp.), Favid corals (Family Faviidae) and Pore corals (Porites sp.).
There were a lot more and larger corals here, as this photo taken in 2005 shows.
Labrador reef
I'm heartened to see, dotting the shore everywhere including the mid-water mark and among seagrasses, many tiny and small coral colonies. Mostly Pore corals (Porites sp.) and Small goniopora corals (Goniopora sp.). I didn't see any bleaching corals today.
There were many patches of zoanthids of all kinds, a small patch of feathery soft corals (Family Briareidae), and several Frilly sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.).
Among the zoanthids are lots and lots of tiny tube worms, their slender tubes forming a hairy mat. We also notice the tubeworms among the Spoon seagrasses. Do the worms help the seagrasses settle by forming a mat? Or the other way around? So much more to learn about our shores.
There's lots of different kinds of sponges too. Although they were mostly small and well dispersed.
These look like young Barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinaria). Hopefully, they will grow up to reach the 50cm wide barrel sponges that we see elsewhere.
Here's a look at one of the several clumps of Smooth sponge green seaweed, which are actually a combination of an algae and a sponge, just like lichen! aMost of the shore, however, is quite bare. Among the common seaweeds growing here were various Halimeda, Gracilaria and Caulerpa species. Unlike our last monitoring here in May, today there wasn't a bloom of Bryopsis seaweeds.
Siti spotted a tiny octopus! Sneaky Cam is too feeble to take a good shot before it disappeared into its burrow. But we didn't see many other animals today.
Near the entrance, the abandoned Seacil is still there. There's not much seagrass around it. One thing I noticed is that there is not a lot of litter on this shore. Probably because the fishing jetty has been closed for a very long time.
As we were leaving, we notice the large barge is still working on the seawall. Here's more about this when I checked up on it about a week earlier.
With the super low tide today, the barge is practically siting on the seawall. If there are any corals growing on the seawall, they are probably doomed.
Hopefully, when the work gets close to the natural shore there won't be too much impact on the seagrasses there.

Labrador shore and the jetty are now permanently closed to the public due to safety issues. The natural cliffs along the shore are not very stable. Thanks to Yuet Hsin of NParks for permission to monitor.

For years, next to Labrador, there has been massive reclamation, dredging  and other coastal works for the new Pasir Panjang Container Terminal which includes underwater blasting. Hopefully, as the massive construction nearby comes to an end, the seagrasses and other marine life at Labrador can return. It is only through long-term monitoring that we can learn more about what is happening on this shore.

More about TeamSeagrass and how you can volunteer to join the Team.

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