10 February 2017

Bleaching at Changi seagrass meadows one month after the oil spill

One month after the 300-tonne oil spill in the East Johor Strait, widespread bleaching is seen in small seagrass meadows near Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
Large hole with oil on the high shore at Changi
A family rests on the grass near the oil accumulation.
On the high shore, oil has accumulated in a large depression in the sand. The situation appears a little worse, compared to our last oil spill impact survey in Jan 2017, about two weeks after the oil spill.

A pile of rocks near the shore were stained with oil, but I couldn't smell the oil. The stains remained a little sticky to the touch.
Oiled rocks at Changi
Coastal plants nearby were also stained with oil, but no smell. On our last survey two weeks after the oil spill, the smell here was overpowering.
Oiled plants at Changi
It was heartbreaking to see most of the seagrasses at Changi Creek were bleaching at their tips, and some were more extensively bleached.
Seagrasses 'bleaching' at Changi Creek after oil spill
Seagrass were also bleaching in the bay nearby.
Seagrasses 'bleaching' at Changi after oil spill
Seagrasses can lose their green chlorophyll when stressed so their leaves appear 'bleached'.
Seagrasses 'bleaching' at Changi Creek after oil spill
We also saw puddles of oil and sheen at the bay nearby.
Oil and sheen still on the shore at Changi
The tide wasn't low enough to properly check the lower intertidal, but I saw some life on the mid to high shore. These include tiny Black mussels (they are naturally black, not covered in oil), Drill snails laying eggs, ascidians, Onch slugs, Banded bead anemones and fields of Button zoanthids.
As we were heading back, on the high shore we noticed a large depression in the sand that was coated with oil. We could still smell the oil!
Large hole with oil on the high shore at Changi
A family were fishing on the shore.
Large hole with oil on the high shore at Changi
Our Changi shores are beloved by many ordinary people.
Huge ship passing Changi
Yellowish patches on green  seagrass meadows
as people fish and a huge vessel passes by.

Today, Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers and I surveyed these Changi shores for oil spill impact
See also Debby's post on the Hantu Blog.

Posts about the Jan 2017 Johor Strait oil spill

The next day, Victor Toh led a walk at the same beach and saw more animals. Thanks to Mohammad Juhari for photos of the trip.

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