12 June 2010

Checking up mangroves of Changi Creek for oil spill effects

There's a small patch of mangroves at Changi Creek that can be easily viewed from the nicely built walkway on the large road bridge over the Creek.
This morning, we had a quick look to see if the mangroves here were affected by the oil spill that hit Changi on 28 and 29 May.

Dr John Yong has taught us to look at propagules on a mangrove tree for early signs of pollution affecting mangroves.

Propagules are the long things that we see hanging on some mangrove trees. These are not fruits but seedlings (thus 'propagating units'=propagules?) that develop on the mother tree. As in humans, these 'baby trees' are more easily affected by bad stuff that might not show up so clearly on a mature tree. Pollution may turn a propagule pink! Or yellow or white. These 'albino' propagules are a first sign of something going wrong in a mangrove.

Here are some 'albino' propagules that I've seen before in the past.
At Changi Creek today, the propagules on the closest mangrove tree looked normal!
We should come back and check again later on as the colour change may happen later. Oil spills and dispersants may take some time to show effects on marine life.

There is the usual darker band on the seawalls. I'm not sure if it's oil or just the usual scum.
But it doesn't seem as bad as the shiny oil slick stains on the seawall that we saw at Tanah Merah last week (below).
Today, we saw a Giant mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) too. It was resting on a piece of rubbish. Alas, there was as usual, lots of rubbish in the mangroves, including abandoned driftnets.
We had a nice trip checking out the Changi shore earlier in the morning!

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