Although there were small clumps of a variety of sponges, the shore is not as 'spongey' as it used to be a long long time ago.
|Sponge garden at Chek Jawa in 2002|
Pink warty sea cucumbers (Cercodemas anceps) and Thorny sea cucumber (Colochirus quadrangularis) were not as abundant as at Changi. Ivan found a Beige sea cucumber. And I only saw one White sea urchin (Salmacis sp.). There were many Garlic bread sea cucumbers (Holothuria scabra) in the seagrass meadows near the rubbly area.
Ball sea cucumbers (Phyllophorus sp.) that have emerged from their usual buried position, perhaps to mate with the incoming tide? Or are they some other kind of sea cucumber? So much more to learn about our shores.
octopuses that look like the kind that we see on reefs. The rest of the team also saw a large squid. And there were many Noble volutes (Cymbiola nobilis).
Chromodoris lineolata nudibranchs, including this pair that look like they are about to make new nudis. Although more commonly seen on our Southern shores, we have spotted these too on our Northern shores including other parts of Pulau Ubin and on Pulau Sekudu. Chay Hoon, of course, also spots all kinds of other nudis and slugs (some are so tiny I have no idea how she spots them in the dark!).
Leaf porter crab (Family Dorripidae) sits above the leaf to hide from predators in the water, but will flip over when it notices my torch. There was also a Maroon stone crab (Menippe rumphii) as well as many different kinds of Swimming crabs (Family Portunidae).
great video clip of the crab (Actumnus setifer) using its rubbly shelter.
Prawns (Family Penaeidae), snapping shrimps (Family Alpheidae) and various kinds of tiny shrimps.
wrasse (Family Labridae), several small Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus), Rabbitfishes (Family Siganidae), toadfish (Family Batrachoididae). The rest of the team also saw several different kinds of sting rays and other fishes.
Changi as well as at the East Coast.
Fine feathery soft corals (Briareum sp.), Spiky flowery soft corals (Stereonephthya sp.). At the beacon, there was one large Pink flowery soft coral (Family Nephtheidae). The water was too high to explore the beacon area properly. There were also some small Flowery sea pens (Family Veretillidae), Spiky sea pens (Pteroides sp.) and in the seagrassy areas, some sea pencils and cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia).
Swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi) all over the seagrass meadows with a range of these anemones from tiny to the usual adult size. Another abundant anemone were Posy anemones. Of course, there were lots of Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) all looking healthy. I also saw one small Tiny carpet anemone (Stichodactyla tapetum).
ascidians on the coral rubble.
fan worms (Family Sabellidae) are common among the rubble, as well as lively bristleworms roaming among the seagrasses.
Blue-lined flatworms (Pseudoceros sp.) and two pairs of Purple-spotted flatworms (Pseudoceros laigensis). Of course many tiny Blue spotted flatworm (cf Pseudoceros indicus).
Fine-lined flatworm has yet to be identified and is not often seen. In the past, I used to see them often at Chek Jawa so it's good to see that they are still there.
More about this net on Project Driftnet.
Apr 2013 and Jan 2013, some near signs of dugong feeding trails. We also saw a fisherman lay a very long driftnet inside the Chek Jawa lagoon in February 2013. The issue of driftnets on Chek Jawa (and elsewhere) is a painful one and does not have an easy or quick solution.
Ivan found this huge fish isopod stuck on a small fish that was entangled and dead on the fish net.
Fern seagrass (Halophila spinulosa) were particularly lush in the area I surveyed. As at Changi, I noticed Beige sheet ascidians growing on Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) (and only on Spoon seagrasses it seems). I also noticed that the Ribbon seagrasses were growing on the seaward side of the Southern sand bar too. There was also Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.).
Compared our recent trips to nearby shores such as Changi and Pulau Sekudu, we didn't come across some expected animals. But this could be because we didn't go at a minus-zero tide. I didn't come across any Sea fans, Ball flowering soft corals (Dendronephthya sp.), no hard corals except for a tiny patch of Zebra corals (Oulastrea crispata) and no hydroids (Order Hydrozoa). There also didn't seem to be many Fan clams (Family Pinnidae) and Window-pane clams (Placuna sp.) compared to Changi. We didn't come across feather stars (Order Crinodea) or large brittle stars (Class Ophiuroidea). We hope to do another predawn survey of Chek Jawa this year to cover the areas that we missed due to the highish tide. Hopefully, we will find these 'missing animals' then.
Why did I restart the pre-dawn surveys at Chek Jawa?
We can't take Chek Jawa for granted. There are plans that may affect Chek Jawa in the not too distant future. These include plans to locate at Pengerang Johor, a petrochemical complex that was rejected in Taiwan for environmental and health reasons.
2030 landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development includes plans for a road link (black line) from the mainland jumping off at Punggol, crossing to Pulau Ubin through Chek Jawa to jump off to Pulau Tekong before circling back to the mainland on Changi East. Proposed reclamation (in yellow) will bury Pasir Ris shores, Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa as well as a large amount of shore at Changi Beach.
|Click on images for larger view.|
Thanks to NParks for permission and support to do these predawn low spring tide surveys of Chek Jawa. Thanks also to Chay Hoon for making all the transport arrangements. And the team for helping to cover as much ground as we can during the narrow low tide window. There are very very few people who not only can do such an awesome job but also turn up at 1am for the trip! Thank you.
Tomorrow, we will be surveying Pulau Sekudu which also lies within the Chek Jawa Wetlands area.
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