03 August 2012

Checking up on Changi's rocky shores

It's my last chance to have a look at Changi's rocky shores for the morning low tides. I'm also wondering how the strange 'armoured' sea cucumbers here are doing.
The shore was rather quiet and my most interesting encounter was looking more closely at Stinging hydroids. As usual, there were lots of these skeleton shrimps hanging on to these.

And here's a closer look at the very tiny tentacles on the individual animals of this colony. I can't believe such tiny animals can pack the painful zap we get when we merely brush against them. I noticed a coil of eggs laid on one of the 'fronds'. I guess it's a safe place to lay eggs!
Compared to my last trip here in June, I sense some changes. I didn't see any living sea fans (Order Gorgonacea) aside from this single one. Oh dear.
I did see two feather stars (Order Crinodea), here's one of them. Next to it is a fanworm (Family Sabellidae) which may look similar at first glance.
As usual, this little Blue spotted flatworm (cf Pseudoceros indicus) is seen suspiciously near Yellow clustered ascidians (Eudistoma sp.). I strongly suspect that these flatworms eat the ascidians.
The only nudibranch I saw was this tiny yellow blob. It didn't put out its rhinophores until some time later!
I checked and still found lots of the 'armoured' sea cucumbers that I first saw in June. The top photo I realise is of three of them! I notice they are sometimes 'buried' under gunk with only a tiny blob of either their butt or mouth sticking out.
There were also other sea cucumbers like a tiny purple one and one orange one. There were many Crown sea stars (Asterina coronata) everywhere.
There are still many sponges both on the rocky shore and encrusting other hard man-made surfaces. There were also still many clusters of Zebra corals (Oulastrea crispata).
Large parts of the midwater area were carpeted with nest mussels (Musculista senhousia). Nearer the low water line were many clumps of zoanthids (Order Zoanthidea).
I explored the seagrassy areas there which was lush and full of all kinds of animals like big fat flowery sea pens (Family Veretillidae) and cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia).
Today I saw many patches of these strange seagrasses that might be the Hairy spoon seagrass (Halophila decipiens). I've been seeing this on many parts of Changi growing on Nest mussel carpets in particular.
There was a much bigger patch of this seagrass further along the shore. I saw a much smaller patch on my trip here in June. Did the small patch grow this fast in such a short time? Wow.
There are still some big pieces of litter on the more remote parts of the shore including the wheel barrow I saw on my last trip. I also saw a trolley. And there was one fish trap, but I couldn't reach it. Some good news though is that all the traps and trash under the boardwalk seems to have been removed. Hurray!
Let's hope this shore will stay well. I won't be able to visit it for some months.

After a quick look at this shore, I hopped over to another part of Changi where I tried to figure out why there is less seagrasses there.

Today, I didn't do the intertidal survey as there were so many things to do in such a short tide.

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