Today, I saw scattered small clusters of one or a few kinds of sponges with other encrusting animals on the rubbly areas all along the sand bar west of the beacon. It's been six years since the mass deaths and yet the area has not fully recovered.
Kok Sheng did a study of Chek Jawa's recovery.
|Sponge garden at Chek Jawa in 2002|
as on Changi. The most common kind were Candelabra sea fans. I saw one Skinny sea fans, one Gnarled sea fan and one Sea whip. I couldn't find any commensal snails in the sea fans. There were also a few Stinging hydroids.
Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera) (with my size 7 foot for scale). Kok Sheng also found some Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)! There were also some brittle stars (Class Ophiuroidea).
Pore hard corals (Porites sp.). I saw one Neat hexa corals. Of course there were small clusters of Zebra corals (Oulastrea crispata) which is common on our Northern shores.
Posy sea anemones. Just like at Pulau Sekudu. There was also an abundance of White ascidians today on the rubble.
Fine-line flatworms. At first glance, they do look like Mermaid's fan seaweed (Padina sp.)! There were a few fan worms (Family Sabellidae).
Many-banded snapping shrimp (Family Alpheidae) that we rarely encountered. It rapidly vanished into its burrow.
Blue spotted flatworm (cf Pseudoceros indicus).
Fern seagrass (Halophila spinulosa), Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) and Needle seagrass (Halodule sp.). I saw broad ribbon-like seagrasses which turned out to be a broader version of Needle seagrass. Some parts of the meadows were teeming with baby Swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi).
sand stars (Astropecten sp.) and many Biscuit stars (Goniodiscaster scaber) in the seagrass meadows. I also saw a few White sea urchins (Salmacis sp.), but not as many as at Pulau Sekudu or Changi.
sea pens, cerianthids and small sea anemones among the seagrasses.
Kite butterflyfish (Parachaetodon ocellatus) hovering together and near a carpet anemone, Halfbeaks (Family Hemiramphidae), Filefishes (Family Monacanthidae) a large fish that looked like a wrasse (Family Labridae). There were also many Rabbitfishes (Family Siganidae), toadfish (Family Batrachoididae).
dugong feeding trails in the seagrass meadows! It was hard to take a good photo of them in the dark.
Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) were rather pale. Hope they are not bleaching. As we approach the wet season, I always worry about the repeat of the 2007 mass deaths which lead to mass deaths of these sea anemones and other common marine life at Chek Jawa.
Thanks to NParks for permission and support to do these predawn low spring tide surveys of Chek Jawa. Thanks also to Chay Hoon for making all the transport arrangements. And the team for helping to cover as much ground as we can during the narrow low tide window. Thank you!
More about why I think it's important to regularly survey Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa.
Posts by others on this trip
- Photos on facebook by Kok Sheng and on his blog A glimpse of the glorious beacon area at Chek Jawa
- Chek Jawa checkup - 21082013 by Mei Lin
- Huge sea star and orange flatworm at Chek Jawa by Pei Yan.