13 July 2011

How is Labrador shore doing?

A lovely moonlit night, for our annual check on Labrador. For years, next to Labrador, there has been massive reclamation, dredging  and other coastal works for the new Pasir Panjang Container Terminal which includes underwater blasting.
My last trip here was in April 2010. How is the shore doing? Alas, it doesn't seem to be doing too well. But there were still many signs of marine life.

I saw few coral colonies today. This was the only large living hard coral colony that I saw on the intertidal.
There were very few living hard coral colonies. I saw some small to medium sized Pore corals (Porites sp.). Several tiny to small Favid corals (Family Faviidae) and one small Goniopora coral (Goniopora sp.).
There is also very little seagrass after the jetty. Before the jetty, I could still see good growths of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) and Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis).. Elsewhere, seagrasses are virtually absent with only a few clumps of Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) here and there. The situation seems to me to be worse than during my trip last year.
Several of the Tape seagrass clumps had just flowered.
Seaweeds are also not abundant. The most obvious where several clumps of green branching sponge like organisms which are actually a symbiotic combination of an algae (Ceratodictyon spongiosum) and a sponge (Halichlona cymaeformis)! On the rocks were many clumps of Small halimeda seaweed (Halimeda sp.). There were scatterings of various other kinds of seaweeds. The intertidal was basically quite barren.
There is still life on the shores! I saw several different kinds of fishes. Mullets (Family Mugilidae) were the most common with one or two of the other commonly seen shore fishes.
There were many little gobies (Family Gobiidae) in the pools left behind at low tide.
I don't know what this little fish is (it was about 6cm long). Possibly a grouper?
Mystery fish no. 1
I saw one small Black eeltail catfish (Plotosus canius).
There were lots of small swimming crabs (Family Portunidae), mostly these Blue ones (Thalamita sp.). This pair were in mating position although they looked rather small. I didn't come across any other kind of crab on the intertidal.
Among the gravel where the cofferdam used to be there were lots and lots of Saron shrimps (Family Hippolytidae) ! What a surprise! They were very shy and it was tough to get a good shot of them.
There were also many tiny shrimps in the pools, as well as snapping shrimps (Family Alpheidae). There were many wide smooth tunnels in the hard rubble and I saw signs of a Coral ghost shrimp (Glypturus sp.) in one of them.
I saw three Frilly anemones (Phymanthus sp.) and one cluster of corallimorphs (Order Corallimorpharia).
I saw a small pretty black-mouth cerianthid (Order Ceriantharia).
There were some but not many clumps of Zoanthids (Order Zoanthidea) here and there.
I only saw one flatworm, this small Blue-lined flatworm (Pseudoceros sp.).
Sponges were scattered here and there. The most common today was Yellow prickly branching sponges (Pseudoceratina purpurea), Blue spatula sponge (Lamellodysidea herbacea) and chocolate sponges (Spheciospongia cf. vagabunda). There were small clumps of other kinds of sponges.
The rocky shore seemed still alive with many of the usual snails, onch slugs (Family Onchidiidae) and crabs and crusties like Sea slaters (Ligia sp.) and Purple climber crabs (Metopograpsus sp.).
On the high shore, there were still several small Land hermit crabs (Coenobita sp.).
The big hole under the ramp from the seawall that I saw last year, is still there. Labrador seems to have 'lost' sand, possibly permanently?

Sadly, concrete slabs that have been seen for years on Labrador are still here. More in this post.

Life is still clinging onto Labrador. Let's hope it can return to its original splendor once the massive coastal works going on around it is over.

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