19 August 2016

Surveying stormy Changi

There is a lush seagrass meadow at Changi. We quickly surveyed it during breaks in stormy weather, and found it was still very much alive.
As usual, Changi is full of colourful echinoderms such as sea stars and sea cucumbers. Alas, this shore continues to be impacted by long fishing nets that appear to be laid every day.


Jonathan found one baby Knobbly sea star!
I saw one Painted sand star and a few tiny Biscuit sea stars.
Pink warty sea cucumbers were the most abundant sea cucumber on the shore. There were much fewer Thorny sea cucumbers. We also saw some Smooth sea cucumbers, Ball sea cucumbers and a Purple sea cucumber.
I saw a few Cake sand dollars on the sandy slope above the mid-water mark. A strange place to find them. I didn't come across any sea urchins.
I saw one Tiny carpet anemone, and one tiny cerianthid. I didn't see any seapens or any large Haddon's carpet anemones.
There were a few Noble volutes on the shore. This one appears to have 'caught' something. These snails eat buried bivalves and engulf them with the humungous foot.
Other molluscs include many Gong-gong, most of them quite young. I suspect the 'older' ones have been harvested by people. There were also a few Large cockles, some medium sized Fan shell clams. I saw many shells of Big brown mactra clam but no living clams.
There were also many Window pane shells. This one was coated in Green gum drop ascidians, and had a Big hermit hitching anemone on it. There were also many Orange striped hermit crabs.
On the mid-shore, we find some live Surf clams which live in the surf zone. Probably, there are a lot more buried safely in the sand. The high shores were dotted with the burrows of Ghost crabs, although we didn't see any of the crabs, probably due to the rainy weather.
The seagrasses were lush and teeming with marine life. Like these two small swimming crabs, and a half buried Pink warty sea cucumber. Today I noticed there were many Green gum drop ascidians dotting the seagrass blades.
Much of the Spoon seagrass I saw was heavily coated in ascidians. Mostly Beige sheet ascidians.
Wow, a small clump of Smooth ribbon seagrass. Our first sighting of this at Changi. At first I thought it was just broad Needle seagrass, but fortunately, Jonathan took a closer look. There were also large areas of Needle seagrass with narrow leaf blades. I didn't see any Fern seagrasses in the small area that I surveyed. But they may be present in deeper water.
There were also many clumps of crunchy Slender pom-pom seaweed dotting the seagrasses.
Disconcerting to see a line of Slender pom-pom seaweed washed ashore.
It was a stormy morning as the predawn Sumatras hit the shore. But I managed to do a quick survey of a small portion of the shore before the storm hit, and again later after it passed and before the tide turned.
Despite the wet weather, we saw two men on a boat attending to a very long net laid in deeper water along the Changi shoreline.
Attending to a long net at Changi, Aug 2016
We also saw a man lay a very long fish net from the shore during our last survey here in the late morning in May 2016.

Jonathan Tan was also on the trip.

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