10 August 2013

Seagrasses at the natural underwater world on Sentosa

There are narrow strips of lush seagrasses growing on the narrow bits of natural shore that escaped reclamation on Sentosa, behind Underwater World Singapore.
I had a quick look at them this morning. Pei Yan visited the other shore near Rasa Sentosa and saw disturbing signs there.


There were several large patches of fresh green Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii). There were several clumps of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) with nice long blades. There were also small patches of Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.) both with broad blades and those with super skinny blades. Tiny-bladed Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) were found almost everywhere below the mid-water line.
Here and there are clumps of Tape seagrass with nice long leaf blades. This one is growing right behind Underwater World Singapore. I briefly checked the seagrasses on this shore in June 2012 and first properly looked at the seagrasses here in July 2011.
In deeper water, there were thick growths of small Halimeda seaweed (Halimeda sp.). All kinds of other seaweeds were growing in clumps here and there, with a sparse growth of Bryopsis seaweed (Bryopsis sp.) everywhere.
There were many Giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea) here and they were quite large. Alas, I couldn't find any 'Nemo's in them.
I saw several Frilly anemones (Phymanthus sp.) and four large Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). All of them were not bleached. But I didn't see any shrimps in the carpet anemones.
With the incoming tide, I saw a swarm of young Striped eeltail catfishes (Plotosus lineatus)! I also saw several Moon crabs (Family Matutidae), Hairy crabs (Family Pilumnidae) and some swimming crabs (Family Portunidae). On the sandy shores, there were several Oval moon snails (Polinices mammila). But I didn't see any Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) here anymore.
I also did a quick check for coral bleaching and thankfully didn't see any bleaching corals. There aren't many corals here and most of the colonies are small. I saw several small Pore hard corals (Porites sp.) and all of them seemed alright.
There were a few small colonies of Favid coral (Family Faviidae) too, and none of those I saw were bleaching.
Among the special corals seen where tiny and struggling colonies of Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.), Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.) and Montiopora corals (Montipora sp.).
Washed up on the shore, the dead shell of what looks like a baby Giant clam (Family Tridacnidae)! Was the hole in the shell made by a drilling snail? Does it mean that there may be other Giant clams on this shore that are still alive? So much more to learn and discover!
There used to be some large coral colonies near the cable car tower is. But these were buried in reclamation for Resorts World Sentosa (the wall with the red roofs).
It was heartbreaking to watch them bury the reef there.
Corals on the doomed shore
Here's a view of some of the coral lost in that reclamation
Coral reefs on shores on Sentosa slated for reclamation
I also couldn't find this patch of branching corals just behind Underwater World Sentosa.
Sentosa's original underwater world
This part of the shore has in fact become very soft and silty.
The day became hot and sunny! I heard before I saw the three people near the old broken jetty on the shore.
It seems that they were fishing there. In the background, the massive reclamation for the new Pasir Panjang Container Terminal.
The people were still fishing when the tide turned. I took this photo as I left the shore.
Later in the morning, I saw a father take his two kids down to the shore. Oh dear, it's very dangerous to climb down the slippery seawall. But they made it safely down and spent some time exploring the high shore.
The shore is quite free of the usual small litter. But there were large rubbish there which probably were dumped on the shore and did not float up from somewhere else.
I saw two large plastic road dividers, one was half buried in sand, a car battery, and a large fish net on a stick.
Meanwhile, at the same time, Pei Yan was checking up on the blue drums laid out on the natural shore next to Rasa Sentosa. Pei Yan has done a thorough review of the situation on her blog, showing how the layout of blue drums have changed over time, including video clips of how the wake from passing ferries cause the drums to bash against the intertidal reef flat at low tide, and on the high shore, rocks battered by the blue drums and how a  shattered blue drum is leaking foam all over the shore.
What I saw in June 2013 just two months ago.
Another big event that happened for the shores today is the International Coastal Cleanup Singapore at Lim Chu Kang to celebrate National Day. Here, 41 volunteers clear 3/4 tons of trash in the mangroves. More on Sivasothi's blog post.
Photo by Sean Yap on facebook.
Our shores are impacted by all kinds of threats. It's a struggle for the small team to keep up with surveys to keep a regular watch on all of them. Today, we split up with some joining TeamSeagrass to monitor at Cyrene Reef. Thus we managed to cover more shores during one low tide.


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