06 June 2016

Changing Changi shore

There is sliver of shore at Changi that has become our favourite because it is so rich with marine life. How is it doing today?
On our last survey in Aug 2015, I noticed a sharp decline compared to my last trip in May 2015, when I already noticed a decline compared to our last visit here in May 2014 and Jun 2013. Today, the situation did not seem to have deteriorated further.


This shore used to be very rich in echinoderms. Biscuit sea stars are still the most common sea star here, with many small and medium-sized ones. There were also a few small Cake sea stars. I didn't see any sand stars today.
We did see a large Eight-armed sea star.
This shore also has a wide variety of sea cucumbers. It's always a delight to see the large colourful Sea Apple sea cucumber.
There were still many Thorny sea cucumbers and Pink warty sea cucumbers. I saw a few medium sized Garlic bread sea cucumbers, some Orange sea cucumber, one Purple sea cucumber. Burrowing in the sand were many Ball sea cucumbers as well as some Smooth sea cucumbers.
I saw a few very large White sea urchins, and one small Thorny sea urchin.
This Biscuit sea star appears to be eating a Sea pencil? There were many Sea pencils and Spiky sea pens, also some Slender sea pens. But I didn't see any Flowery sea pens.
I saw many small Ball flowery soft corals. Almost all of them had a very large brittle star living on them. Jonathan also found a small feather star.
There were also many Cerianthids, most of them with Phoronid worms. And also many large Geographic seahares and their pink egg strings.
I saw two Seagrass pipefishes. But none of us saw seahorses. I didn't see any other fishes.
This small Flower crab appears to be eating a Seagrass pipefish which is already cut into two pieces.
We saw a few small Big head seagrass octopuses. hese poor animals are often harvested by fishermen and used as bait. We also saw some horseshoe crabs, both Mangrove and Coastal.
I saw two Babylonia snails. This beautiful snail was identified as a new record for Singapore in 2013. Before then, we have not seen them. Now, we often see them on Changi, as well as East Coast and signs of them at Pasir Ris. Where did the snails come from? Does this suggest a change in our shores? I also saw one small Noble volute and one Ball moon snail. I also saw a few large living Fan shell clams.
There was good cover of Spoon seagrasses both with large and small leaf blades. But only a few patches of Needle seagrass. I did not see any Fern seagrass today, unlike on our last survey in Aug 2015.
Kok Sheng spotted a patch of Smooth ribbon seagrass!
There were some patches of what look like Beige sheet ascidians that look like they were growing on the seagrasses.
I came across several furrows that look like dugong feeding trails.
I saw a few medium sized Haddon's carpet anemones. Most of them had Tiny carpet anemoneshrimps. This anemone was heavily covered in sediments. Oh dear. Usually, the animals manage to keep themselves clear of sediments. We also saw the usual anemones that are common here, like the Tiger anemone, Striped sand anemone, Big hermit hitching anemone.
I noticed the area has become much sandier and firmer. In the past it used to be softer. The narrow shore along the beach has changed in shape. In Aug 2015, I had already noticed that there are large sand bars bare of seagrass and the entire area is much firmer. In the past, it was much softer.
Where is all the sand coming from? From reclamation nearby?
At sunrise, two people came to the shore foraging with a plastic bag and torch. I didn't get to talk to them as they moved quite fast.
In the distance, a man in what looks like a dinghy was checking the net laid parallel to the shoreline. It appears that netting happens all along the Changi shore all the time.
Our shores are rich but narrow and impacted by a wide variety of unmanaged impacts. Let's hope Changi stays safe until we can visit again.

Posts by others on this trip


Others on this trip: Nicholas Yap.

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