It's nearly a year since the oil spill hit Tanah Merah's reefs and shores. Today, I sense the corals here are showing signs of a comeback!
leathery soft coral (Family Alcyoniidae) here seems a lot happier than on my last trip to this shore in December 2010.
My first impression wasn't very uplifting. It's been a year, and there's still crude on the shore at Tanah Merah! The water draining out at low tide carve out dark streams where the crude lies beneath a thin layer of sand.
my trip in December. Perhaps the rain today dispersed it?
Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) on the midwater zone. Some were still burrowing through oil-soaked sand.
Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) with a pair of resident anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis)! Anemone and shrimps looked quite alright. I didn't see the other Haddon's anemone that I saw on previous trips. I also didn't see any other kinds of sea anemones.
moon snails (Family Naticidae).
Gong-gong snails (Strombus turturella), many Black lipped conch snails (Strombus urceus) and one Firebrand murex (Chicoreus torrefactus). On the rockier areas, there were some Bazillion snails (Batillaria zonalis), but I didn't see any on the silty sandy areas. The rocky areas also had lots of Planaxis snails (Planaxis sulcatus), several different kinds of Nerites snails (Family Neritidae) and Plain creeper snails (Family Cerithiidae). I saw one live Fan shell clam (Family Pinnidae) and Thorny oyster (Spondylus sp.).
Onch slugs (Family Onchidiidae) on the rocks.
Ghost crabs (Ocypode cerathophthalmus) trying very hard to blend in with its surroundings. I glimpsed a few small Swimming crabs (Family Portunidae), but didn't come across many crabs on this trip.
Smooth blue sponge (Lendenfeldia cf. chondrodes). There were a few Thumbs up sea squirts (Polycarpa sp.) that were nice and 'clean' -- and not covered in scum.
Bracket mushroom coral which I don't often see on our shores!
Circular mushroom corals (Family Fungiidae) which were still attached to the rocks. But they were already quite large (about 10cm in diameter) and very happy looking.
Acropora coral (Acropora sp.) is still there! It seems somewhat bigger.
Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.) . They were not very large but they were healthy looking and unbleached.
Brain coral (Family Mussidae).
Flowery disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) along the rock wall.
Zebra coral (Oulastrea crispata) remains abundant and seem happy. I also saw one colony of Cyphastrea sp.
Favid corals (Family Faviidae).
Pore corals (Porites sp.) and several greenish ones that encrusted the rocks.
Button zoanthids or colonial anemones (Zoanthus sp.) here and there.
fan worm (Family Sabellidae), and didn't see any Acorn worms (Class Enteropneusta) on the sandy area.
I didn't see much seaweed on the shore today. There was the small clump of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) here, some ropes were covered with Pom pom red seaweed and there were small patches of Mermaid's fan (Padina sp.) on the rocky areas.
Tomorrow I'm going to check out the other part of this very long shore at Tanah Merah.
More about the oil spill on this blog and on the Oil spill facebook page.