07 July 2015

Annual Labrador check up

The tree-lined promenade at Labrador Park sits on reclaimed land. The massive Pasir Panjang Container Terminal extension and other related works nearby have seriously affected marine life on Labrador's natural rocky shores, the last natural mainland reef. We survey this shore once a year to see how it's doing.
The seagrasses are doing well, and we saw some large coral colonies! Thanks to the NParks officers who manage the Labrador Nature Reserve for permission and joining us on the survey.

Our last survey here was on Oct 2014. Labrador shore has one of the best meadow of Sickle seagrass on the mainland and one of the few locations where the Tape seagrasses are not 'cropped'. The seagrasses are looking well.
There is a narrow strip of lush Spoon seagrasses along about half of the shore at the mid-water mark.
Some of the Sickle seagrass have yellowish bases. I'm not sure what is happening.
We saw a clump of Tape seagrass with developing female flowers.
There were some corals among the seagrasses too. Here's a video clip of them.
On the high shore, signs of rock falls. 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.
The most abundant corals were tiny to small and a few large colonies of Pore corals and Small goniopora corals. Also many small clumps of various sponges and seaweeds such as Green coin seaweed, Brown mermaid's fan seaweed, Halymenia red seaweedTaugeh seaweed and Holey green seaweed.
It was a nice surprise to see a small colony of Acropora coral, a tiny colony of Galaxy coral. I saw a few small colonies of Favid corals. Button zoanthids were abundant and I saw one large clump of Sea mat zoanthids.
There were many Frilly sea anemones and one Haddon's carpet anemone with anemone shrimps. Here's a video clip of them.
In the deeper waters, it was so nice to see that there are still some large colonies of corals. Mostly Sandpaper corals, also Plate Montipora corals and some Flowery disk corals. Some of them were showing signs of bleaching. Here's a video clip of the corals I saw.
But most of the corals I saw today were not bleaching. Let's hope our corals have passed the danger period for the year. What is coral bleaching and why this is of concern on the Bleach Watch Singapore blog. Fortunately, the latest Bleaching Alert Areas from the NOAA website shows that Singapore now falls outside the 'Watch' status.
Unfortunately, demolition works will at Labrador over five months (Jun-Oct 2015) to remove the jetty nearby (yellow arrow). According to an MPA Notice "the demolition work will be carried out by crane barge assisted by tug boats. Divers will also be deployed for underwater cutting work." I hope they will not use explosives which will shatter and damage the corals.
We noticed that much of the low water shore has become very sandy where it used to be rocky. 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 the NParks team, the big concrete slabs from the Seacil project have been removed! Hurray! We also did not come across any fish nets or traps today.

Thanks to Yuet Hsin and Pin Chong for permission to visit and joining us for the survey!

Posts by others on this trip

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