09 May 2011

Sharing Sentosa

It's time to do a quick check on the shores of Sentosa. My last trip here was in Dec 10.
How nice to be joined by a small but enthusiastic team from Sentosa Development Corp! We start at the sandy shore behind Underwater World and wow, there's a carpet anemone! The Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) is commonly seen on shores like Chek Jawa.

Even though the tide was still high, there's stuff to look at and wonder about. On the high shore, we learn about the many different ways sea creatures suck up carbon. Besides hard corals, there are seaweeds too that incorporate calcium into their bodies.
The bunch of little discs is the remains of the
Coin green seaweed  (Halimeda sp.) that incorporates calcium.
There are also all kinds of shells that reveal some of the marine life that goes on in the area. On the rocks, there are lots of Nerite snails (Family Neritidae). Later on, we find the 'doors' or opercula of the Dwarf turban snails (Turbo bruneus). It took a while to find the live snails. Although I saw representatives of the snails commonly seen on this shore in the past, I got the sense that there were fewer of them. I'm not sure why. Here's some of the snails that were abundantly seen on the this shore in Nov 2010.
In the waters, we saw many different kinds of swimming crabs (Family Portunidae) and Spotted moon snails (Ashtoret lunaris). In the pools of water, we saw many Cresent perch (Terapon jarbua). But I couldn't find any Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) that we used to see here.

On the rocky part of this shore, we saw some Purple climbing crabs (Metopograpsus sp.) and lots of Sea slaters (Ligia sp.) which were too fast for me to photograph. Under the stones, some small crabs including the Spoon pincer crabs (Leptodius sp.). On the rocks, some oysters (Family Ostreidae). Lower down on the shore, there were colonial anemones (Zoanthus sp.) and some Frilly anemones (Phymanthus sp.).

Today, there is a bloom of Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.) and some Sargassum seaweed (Sargassum sp.). But the bloom is not excessive. We also saw some Mermaid's fan (Padina sp.) and Neomeris sp. which was given a very good common name of 'Taugeh' seaweed! Seaweeds are a natural part of the shore and go through cycles of bloom and bust. They provide food and shelter for all kinds of animals. Here's some of the tiny creatures we have seen in Hairy green seaweed on Sentosa in the past.
On the artificial seawall, a Nyireh bunga mangrove tree (Xylocarpus granatum) has settled naturally! Hopefully, this seawall will attract natural settlement of many other kinds of mangroves, just like the seawalls at Pulau Hantu!
We head towards the natural rocky shores near Tanjung Rimau beacon. It overlooks Labrador Nature Reserve and Berlayar Creek, which has mangroves. There is massive construction going at Berlayar Creek now for a new boardwalk there. In the sandy areas nearby, we saw one Cake sand dollar (Arachnoides placenta).
Just across from the Sentosa shore is the massive reclamation going on now for years for the new Pasir Panjang Container Terminal.
Rounding the Beacon, we have a quick look at the natural reefs near Rasa Sentosa. How nice to see lots of long Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides). Although many leave blades were cropped to an equal length, they are long and mostly green and not burnt.
Alas, the Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) were not doing well at all! I came across patches of seriously bleaching seagrasses with the blades losing the green parts. Others had reddish leaf blades, and yet other patches had no leaf blades at all!
Here's a closer look at the leaf blades of Spoon seagrasses in the area. Fortunately, this shore is being monitored by students in collaboration with TeamSeagrass.
The tide was a little too high to see all of the reef, but we could see some large hard corals. Although I didn't see any bleaching corals, it appears many of the corals on Sentosa did not survive the global bleaching event in 2010. Here's what we saw on this shore in June 2010 at the height of the bleaching event. More about coral bleaching on Bleach Watch Singapore.
Earlier on the sandy stretch, Shao wei found a branching Montipora coral (Montipora sp.). On the reefs next to Rasa Sentosa, we saw some Favid coral (Family Faviidae), as well as Pore hard corals (Porites sp.) and Goniopora corals (Goniopora sp.).
I saw many Feathery soft corals, one small Leathery soft coral (Family Alcyoniidae) and a small colony of Blue coral (Heliopora coerulea).
There were a wide variety of sponges on the shore including Blue spatula sponge (Lamellodysidea herbacea), Yellow pot sponge (Rhabdastrella globostellata), Daisy sponge (Coelocarteria singaporensis) and Blue jorunna sponge (Neopetrosis sp.).
Sentosa's natural cliffs have lots of interesting coastal plants. In particular, Sentosa is a haven for the Critically Endangered Sea Teak (Podocarpus polystachyus) which is abundant here. This curious tree is a pine or conifer! Although it produces seeds, it has no flowers. Instead, it has reproductive structures called cones. Male cones (left photo) and female ones are found on separate trees.
We also have a quick look at the awesome mother Nyireh tree (Xylocarpus rumphii). With a younger one nearby. These trees are listed as Critically Endangered. As far as I know, these mangrove trees are only found on Sentosa and St. John's Island.
Another special plant found in this coastal forest is the Critically Endangered Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia). This plant is famed for its purported aphrodisiac properties, which sadly leads to over harvesting.
Another special plant is the The Critically Endangered Critically Endangered Delek air (Memecylon edule) . It's starting to bloom! This tree is famous on Chek Jawa.
There is a huge patch of Raffles' pitcher plants (Nepenthes rafflesiana) scrambling on this coastal forest. The pitchers are modified leaves and contain a substance that can dissolve hapless insects that slip and fall into the pitcher.
There were several Jejawi figs (Ficus microcarpa) that were figging! Joseph Lai did a survey of this forest in July 2006 and shares a long list of the many plants found here.
Oh no! Just as we were about to end the walk, Shao Wei stepped on a stonefish! It was clearly a stonefish as it hurt her very badly, and there were puncture wounds on the underside of her right foot (two punctures, we found out later). Fortunately, Rasa Sentosa and Sentosa Beach staff were quick to respond for a rapid evacuation. Shao Wei was very brave and her friends helped her limp off the shore and even carried her up the final slope!
Rasa Sentosa even had this special wheelchair that could roll over sand! They said this is used to help the disabled get around on the beach. I'm very impressed.
This is my first time on the shore after Rasa Sentosa completed their renovation. The access to the beach via Rasa Sentosa is now a gentle slope. We no longer have to scramble up and down a dangerous seawall! The blue warning sign is still there to advice on high water, currents and other dangers on the shore.
Here's a closer look at the access to the shore.
Our last encounter with Mr Stonefish was Ivan in 2010, who had to stay in hospital for days! Here's more about the horrible Hollow-cheek stonefish (Synanceia horrida), which I encounter all too often. My most recent being just a few days ago at Tanah Merah. But this is the first time I've encountered one on this Sentosa shore. Oh dear.

I just heard from Grace that Shao Wei has been discharged from hospital. What a relief! Hopefully, this means her encounter was a mild one and that she will have a speedy recovery!

More about this natural Sentosa shore. Thanks to Shao Wei and other friends, recently I also managed to see other interesting parts of Sentosa such as the rare mangrove trees at Serapong and a glimpse of the reefs at Serapong.


Related Posts with Thumbnails