Led by Loh Kok Sheng, I visited for the first time, a sandy artificial shore at Tanah Merah. While Kok Sheng and some of the team explored the reef that settled on artificial seawalls nearby, the rest of the team were wowed by the lush seagrasses that settled here. Mostly Spoon seagrasses with large leaf blades, and Needle seagrass with broad and skinny leaf blades. There was a lot of Crunchy pom pom seaweed among the seagrasses.
Noodle seagrass! They were lush and seemed to be in large patches that cover possibly 20m or more. It was hard to tell in the dark. This is probably the largest patch of this rare seagrass on mainland Singapore.
Tape seagrass, that has yet to form a circular patch.
Sickle seagrass. I saw one broken leaf blade of Serrated ribbon seagrass but couldn't find any growing patches.
Dubious nerite snails, Bazillion snails and Tiny red sea cucumbers. Pei Yan found a live Baler snail here too.
Penaga laut that look like they naturally settled on the shore. This tree is listed as 'Critically Endangered'.
Jan 2013. Mostly Spoon seagrasses with large leaf blades, skinny and broad Needle seagrass,
Sickle seagrass too!
Thorny sea cucumbers, and a few large White sea urchins. But I didn't find any sea stars.
Moon crabs and lots of tiny to small Flower crabs.
Cake sand dollars. So I wasn't surprised to see their predators. There were several small Grey bonnet snails.
Fig snails too. These snails eat sand dollars and other sand-dwelling creatures. They are rather rare in Singapore because we have lost our flat sandy shores to reclamation. It's nice to see these animals returning to our artificial shores.
Weasel olive snails and small Ball moon snails. I saw large sand collars. But I couldn't find any living Button snails that used to be abundant on this shore.
Smooth sea cucumbers, and several Acorn worms.
Haddon's carpet anemones in the seagrass meadows. The sand nearby suggests that someone dug up something.
Here's more about my wacky idea for aSingapore Great Barrier Reef. Which was to consider planning the East Coast reclamation to allow and encourage natural regeneration. Extensive reclamation at East Coast Park is among the massive reclamation plans outlined in the Land Use Plan following the Population White Paper.
Allow reefs to settle on the outside of the seawall. Encourage mangroves and seagrasses to grow on the inside of the seawall and shallow lagoons. Naturalise canals leading to the sea for a continuum of freshwater wetlands to mangroves. Imagine what's possible! Kilometres of reefs and natural marine ecosystems at our doorstep. Singapore's 'Great Barrier Reef' on the mainland, for all in the City to enjoy.
Posts by others on this trip
- Loh Kok Sheng on his blog and facebook.
- Lisa Lim on facebook.
- Heng Pei Yan on her blog and facebook.