01 July 2010

How's the East Coast sandy shore doing after the oil spill?

I had a quick look at a stretch of East Coast Park beach that got hit by crude a month ago.
Just off the shady park, a vast sandy shore is exposed at low tide. It was heartbreaking to see vast amounts of crude land on this shore on 26 May.

Here's what I saw a month ago.
Here's what this shore looks like today. Clean sand and clear water. No lumps of crude on the mid-water mark as at Tanah Merah today.
There is a layer of dark stuff floating at the edge of the clear waters.
It's just dead leaves. Phew.
Although this is a reclaimed shore, in the past, it was teeming with Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) and Button snails (Umbonium vestiarum). All kinds of other special creatures are also sighted here.
As I walked the shore this morning, here and there are dead sand dollars and empty shells of button snails.
There are signs of some living button snails. But much fewer than in the past. Previously, the sand bar is so thick with them that button snails would float up with every step I take on the shore.
And I found a stretch with some living sand dollars!
A closer look at the sand dollars. Most were small, about the size of a 50cent coin or smaller.
I also saw a few burrowing Acorn worms (Class Enteropneusta).
A dead fish has attracted all kinds of scavengers!
Gathered around the feast were several big Striped hermit crabs (Clibanarius sp.) and even Moon crabs (Matuta lunaris), which usually don't come out in daylight.
This shore is cleaned EVERY day, so there is hardly any litter on the high water mark. It's nice to see a line of many Ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus) burrows here.
On the high shore, many empty shells of button snails. But this is not unusual.
Oh dear. A closer look and there's some dark stuff under the sand. But certainly not as much of the dark muck as I saw on Tanah Merah earlier.
Hopefully with time, the amazing marine life that we saw here will return.

Some posts about past trips to this shore:
  • My last trip here in Mar 10 with a million dollars
  • Kok Sheng's trip in Feb 09 with special sea star and sea slug
More photos of marine life on East Coast Park on wildsingapore flickr.


  1. The dead fish appears to be an armoured suckermouth catfish (Pterygoplichthys spp.), which are freshwater fish from South America that have become established in our waterways. I wonder if this was a carcass that got washed down a drain or canal.

  2. Thanks Ivan! I was just going to ask you what fish that was.

    The shore is in front of a large canal. So it could have come from upstream.



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