20 May 2015

Coral reefs at East Coast Park!

Thanks to Arjun Sai Krishnan who shared with me some intriguing photos of corals at East Coast Park some months ago. Also thanks to Kok Sheng who recce the area beforehand, a small team visited this morning.
We were astonished to see a lot of corals, as well as seagrasses and other marinelife on this artificial reclaimed land. The glorious sunrise was a bonus!

This is what Kok Sheng shared of the corals growing there! But of course only Kok Sheng aka the Human Climbing Crab can cover this treacherously slippery area in such quick time!
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
I didn't see as much as Kok Sheng did because I dare not walk on the rocks. This was what I saw before I turned back to do the high shore. Colourful corals and other marine life encrusting the artificial seawall.
As usual, the most abundant were Favid corals.
I saw a lot of Zebra coral, and Melted chocolate sponge.
There were some Pore corals too.
A small patch of encrusting Montipora coral.
I saw a few tiny to small disk corals, several encrusting Goniopora corals.
There was a large (about 20cm across) Flowery disk coral in the water.
I saw one small sea fan, and a few cerianthids.
I spent most of my time checking out the shallower areas. How delightful to see a small but healthy patch of Serrated ribbon seagrass!
I saw small clumps of Spoon seagrass with large leaves, and a tiny clumps of Noodle seagrass. Kok Sheng saw some Tape seagrass and Needle seagrass.
Among the seagrasses, some young swimming crabs and other small crabs. I also saw other kinds of swimming crabs near the rocks. Jianlin saw Red egg crabs.
In the murky shallow water, there were also some large Haddon's carpet anemones. I couldn't take a closer look because the ground was soft and silty.
I also saw a tiny Glass anemone.
There were a few large Window pane shells. This one has Agar-agar seaweed growing on it. Wedged among the rocks I saw a Fan shell clam.
Jianlin spotted a Seagrass octopus in the shallow waters. He also saw Reef octopuses in the reefier areas.
There was a few mounds of Zoanthids and nestled among them, a Miliaris cowrie. Jianlin and Kok Sheng also saw an Arabian cowrie, which is also quite commonly seen at Tanah Merah.
On the seawall, I was surprised to see these tiny sea anemone with spots that Prof Daphne, world authority on sea anemones, discovered in Singapore but in the mangroves of the north. Interesting to see it so far south!
On the high shore, I saw a washed up White sea urchin, and some Striped sand anemones.
These shores are amazing and it will take many more visits to properly discover and document all the marine life here. Alas, there are few low tides and too many other shores to survey. Yes, Singapore has lots of amazing shores!

Alas, I came across a few small bundles of abandoned fish nets.
There is as usual, trash accumulated on the high tide line.
The reefy seawalls at East Coast Park reminds us of the reef that has settled naturally on the artificial seawalls at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
In fact, before I saw the East Coast reefs, I had a wacky idea for a Singapore Great Barrier Reef. Which was to consider planning the East Coast reclamation to allow and encourage natural regeneration. Extensive reclamation at East Coast Park is among the massive reclamation plans outlined in the Land Use Plan following the Population White Paper.
Allow reefs to settle on the outside of the seawall. Encourage mangroves and seagrasses to grow on the inside of the seawall and shallow lagoons. Naturalise canals leading to the sea for a continuum of freshwater wetlands to mangroves. Imagine what's possible! Kilometres of reefs and natural marine ecosystems at our doorstep. Singapore's 'Great Barrier Reef' on the mainland, for all in the City to enjoy.
Thanks once again to Arjun for telling us about this reef, and Kok Sheng for doing the recce and his usual 'Human Climbing Crab' feat to bring us photos of this amazing reef. Check out Kok Sheng's blog post of our visit.

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