18 May 2018

Amazing seagrass meadows of East Coast Park!

This morning, I was amazed to see lots of seagrasses on the artificial shores of East Coast Park.
Baler volute (Melo melo)
Living among them was a large Baler volute, considered Endangered and now rarely seen on our shores. Other interesting encounters included Diadema sea urchin, a juvenile batfish, and a rather large Copperband butterflyfish.


We started at a smaller but still lush patch of seagrasses growing at the mouth of a canal. This beautiful lagoon is believed to be the proposed site for a new sea burial site. I hope they do a proper EIA for the proposed construction and that they consider building in such a way as to allow more marine life to settle naturally there.
Living seagrass meadows at East Coast Park
Once again I tried taking videos in the dark. Seagrasses are nurseries of our shores. I came across many juveniles such as juvenile Penaeid prawn, small swimming crabs, and many juvenile fishes. A nice surprise was to see a Diadema sea urchin and a juvenile batfish. But the seagrass meadows seemed rather 'empty' as usual, like a beautiful mansion with few inhabitants. And I did not see the Knobbly sea star that we saw on our last survey here in Apr 2017.
Seagrass nursery at East Coast Park
The most abundant were Spoon seagrass, both large and small leaved; Needle seagrass, both broad and narrow leaved. There were dense patches of Noodle seagrass and about 6 clumps of Tape seagrass, of which one clump had female flowers and another had fruits. I also saw Sickle seagrass which I here in Apr 2017. For the first time, I saw Serrated ribbon seagrass. I didn't cross the canal so didn't check on the Smooth ribbon seagrass that I saw there on our last trip in Apr 2016.
Living seagrass meadows at East Coast Park

Second seagrass meadow

We then quickly moved to a nearby shore to check it out while the tide was still low. What a lovely surprise to see that the seagrasses appear to have spread over a larger area! The seagrass meadows appear to have expanded greatly since I was last here in Jul 2017. The species were mostly Needle seagrass (with broad and narrow leaf blades) and Spoon seagrass with large leaf blades.
Living seagrass meadows of East Coast Park
Here's a video of views of these meadows with Haddon's carpet anemone, Pink warty sea cucumber, Copperband butterflyfish and a large Baler volute!
Living seagrass meadows of East Coast Park
There were lots of large Fan shell clams. I saw a few large White sea urchins and Frances saw an octopus.
Living seagrass meadows of East Coast Park
The seagrass is growing almost right to the seawall!
Living seagrass meadows of East Coast Park

Living sand bar

As I had first noticed in July 2017, the sand bar appears to have changed in shape, to become shorter and broader, compared to our last survey in Feb 2016. The sandbar is teeming with burrowing life. I saw several Grey bonnet snails, some Ball moon snails and many Weasel olive snails. There were also abundant living Button snails, as well as abundant small Cake sand dollars. But I didn't come across any Fig snails.
Some predators of the sand bar
Two people were fishing at the first site we surveyed. We didn't come across any traps or nets. Alas, the second shore we surveyed was still littered with lots of golf balls and some large trash.
Living seagrass meadows of East Coast Park
Let's hope these marvellous shores stay well until we can check up on them again in a year's time.

Thanks to Frances Loke for the company and these finds and photos. She runs the awesome Little Green Men channel.


Meanwhile, Jianlin Liu surveyed a Changi shore.


Alas, Victor Toh saw a net which trapped horseshoe crabs when he surveyed these shores the next day.

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