20 July 2012

How are Sentosa's seagrasses doing?

Well before dawn, a tiny team headed out to find out how the seagrass meadows at Sentosa's natural shores are doing.
How nice to have Rae of Rasa Sentosa and Shao Wei of Sentosa Leisure Group help out with TeamSeagrass monitoring today.

The seagrasses at Sentosa seem to be doing well. Today, we saw lots of Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) and Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides). Siti also saw some Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) here in Apr 2012, but we didn't come across it today.
The Tape seagrasses here are nice and long in most parts of the shore. A relief to know as Tape seagrasses at Labrador, Cyrene Reef and other southern locations have recently been cropped short. There were some places though, where the Tape seagrasses were not very long.
Another lovely surprise, to see many young female flowers about to bloom. Shao Wei and Rae saw some in bloom as they did a site on their own while I went on to do some other sites. The seagrasses were also blooming here when I last monitored in Oct 2011.
Today, there was a light bloom of Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.).

As we monitor, we also come across sea creatures. Sharp-eyed Shao Wei spotted an octopus! As I tried to take a photo of it, it decided to take a closer look at my tiny Sneaky Swimming Camera! Before it disappeared into a burrow.
I also came across this Giant sea anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) that I first saw many years ago. It's still in the same spot! How nice to see that it is still there and doing well. Sea anemone can live for decades, so this is not surprising. I also saw a Frilly anemones (Phymanthus sp.).
I saw a nice medium sized Giant top shell snail (Trochus niloticus). This snail is quite common on Sentosa's rocky reefs.
We also had a look at the 'Teddy bear' crab or Hairy crab (Family Pilumnidae). It is covered with hairs which fluff up when it is in water.
I didn't come across any fishes, but this large Pore hard coral (Porites sp.) has signs of fish bites all over it.
The waters in Sentosa are quite clear at low tide! Here's a look at a rather large leathery soft coral (Family Alcyoniidae).
I also took the opportunity to sneak a peek at how the corals are doing here. We came across this very nice large Favid corals (Family Faviidae)!
Most of the corals I saw today were small to medium sized Pore hard corals (Porites sp.). I saw some Favid corals (Family Faviidae), one Small goniopora corals (Goniopora sp.). Also a small clump of Feathery soft corals and many small sponges such as the Yellow volcano sponge (Spheciospongia sp.) and Chocolate sponges (Spheciospongia cf. vagabunda).
I came across several small to medium sized leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) of all kinds. None of the animals I saw were bleaching. Hurray!
Work is ongoing to install floating 'security barriers' along the shores of Sentosa which seem to include some part of this natural shore. Let's hope this work will not permanently damage the seagrasses here.

Monitoring will help us know how the work affects them. I did this stretch alone in Oct 2011, and another stretch of seagrasses at Sentosa last month.

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