19 June 2015

Surveying Singapore's last western reefs

It was a nice sunny day when we arrived at Tuas Merawang Beacon for our survey.
We had a great day surveying this last natural western reef of Singapore.

Today, I attempted a video of some of the highlights of this special shore.
Near the green Beacon, there are some corals. Everywhere along the channel, there are sea fans.
The sea fans are still somewhat plentiful.
And some are well formed. But others were rather beat up. I also saw some Stinging hydroids.
I didn't notice until I got home that this sea fan was sheltering two crabs and a razorfish!
There were also some small colonies of Flowery soft corals, though they were much smaller and not as abundant as before.
There were many tiny to medium-sized Ball soft corals. I only saw two Long black sea cucumbers and no other kinds of sea cucumbers.
There were colonies of Disk corals and Pore corals. None of those I saw were bleaching. I also saw some small Haddon's carpet anemones. But I couldn't find anemone shrimps in any of them. There were also some Cerianthids. There are still large clusters of what appear to be Starry leathery soft corals.
This shore has a lot of the special Cryptic sea stars on the high shore (can you spot two of them in the photo?). These sea stars are uncommon. So far, we have only seen lots of this sea star at Pulau Semakau. The rest of the team also spotted some large Cake sea stars.
Sadly, there doesn't appear to be much Spoon seagrass left on the shore. Probably because of the extreme sedimentation that has led to a much sandier shore. But once the cause of the increased sedimentation is reduced, the seagrasses will probably grow back. Just like those we saw yesterday settling on artificial shores in the East.
There are also some tall mangrove trees growing on the eastern side of the shore.
Many mangrove saplings have also settled here.
There were only Api-api putih and Perepat trees on this shore. They seemed healthy, with some blooming.
Opposite Tuas Merawang Beacon in Johor, there is reclamation going on for the Forest City Project. The situation appears to be similar to what I saw in Mar 2015.
There doesn't appear to be a seawall being built first to keep the sand in. Is the sand simply dumped into the sea? There seems to be a silt barrier.
There are several large barges nearby. Possibly bringing sand in for the reclamation.
To the west of the Beacon, a long line of silt traps and a large barge in the middle of the area.
What's going on?
Here's some graphics of the Forest City reclamation from recent media articles.
From Straits Times, 19 Mar 15
From The Malaysian Insider, on Today Online 19 Mar 15.
Here's the latest media articles about the Forest City reclamation.

Thanks to Sheryl of MSD for facilitating our visit and looking after this shore. Here she is showing scale for the mangrove tree on the shore. Together with her colleagues of MSD, the company that is located along the shoreline, Sheryl has been monitoring the lush seagrasses that grow here under TeamSeagrass. She also makes all the tedious arrangements so that we can make these surveys. Thank you Sheryl!
We last surveyed this shore in Mar 2015 and we led a trip for agencies here in a few days later.

Posts by others on this trip



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