11 October 2014

Checking up on Labrador

A wonderful sunset trip at Labrador, Singapore's last natural reef and rocky shore on the southern mainland. This shore has been seriously impacted by the construction of the extension of the Pasir Panjang Container terminal seen  here on the horizon.
A small team of volunteers conduct our usual survey for seagrass and reef health yesterday. We were joined by a small team of NParks officers who manage the Labrador Nature Reserve.

We saw several Haddon's carpet anemones! The first time I've seen one since 2005. Most of the carpet anemones had anemone shrimps in them. There were also some Frilly sea anemones, and I saw one Wiggly reef anemone.
Marcus shows the anemone shrimps found in a carpet anemone.
On the rocky shore we also had a look at various snails including Nerite snails, Turban snails, Dove snails and Drills. Jonathan also found a cowrie under a rock. We also saw Onch slugs as well as a Long black sea cucumber. While there were large patches of Button zoanthids too. Thanks to Jonathan who found a Velcro crab!
The Velcro crab has hooked hairs on its body and legs that act as velcro. Allowing the crab to stick bits of sponges and seaweeds on itself as a disguise!
Jonathan also found a Giant reef worm! Earlier on,  he also found a Sea mouse or scaleworm, a kind of bristleworm.
Our last trip to this shore was in Jan 2013. It was heartening to see lush Spoon seagrass growing in a narrow strip near the rocky shore.
I was glad to see some clumps of nice long Tape seagrasses lower down on the shore. One had female flowers and another had male flowers. I didn't see any Tape seagrasses that were cropped. The tide was a little too high to check very far down the shore.
What a relief to see that the large patch of Sickle seagrass near the entrance is still doing well. There were also long Tape seagrasses growing near the seawall.
Here's a closer look at the Sickle seagrass. I couldn't find any that were flowering.
There was a bloom of Sargassum seaweed on the shore, normal for this time of the year. As well as various other seaweeds such as Green coin seaweed, Brown mermaid's fan seaweed, Halymenia red seaweed. Also lots of Taugeh seaweed, Holey green seaweed and some Bubble green seaweed. We also saw some different kinds of sponges.
I didn't see many corals, most were small. But none were bleaching.
I feel the shore is doing well, all things considered. The seagrasses are certainly doing a lot better than those that I saw at Pulau Semakau one day before.

Labrador shore and the jetty are now permanently closed to the public due to safety issues. Labrador is Singapore's last natural cliff on the mainland. It is natural for such cliffs to erode and for landslides to occur. This brings down trees and plants growing on the slope. This makes the shore and jetty below rather unsafe.
This contraption belongs to BCA who is using it to check the structural integrity of the jetty. Fortunately, we didn't come across any signs of nets on our trip. We saw a large net here in Nov 2012.
Sadly, the big concrete slab from the Seacil project is still there.
Photo by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
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.

Thanks to NParks for permission to monitor and for coming with us on our survey.

Posts of others on the trip

1 comment:

  1. You are lucky there are still abundance of life at the reef despite all the developments,at the Tanjung Gelang area in Kuantan,
    shellfish have become poisonous.



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