11 September 2018

Punggol shore clinging on to life

We return to this rocky shore, directly opposite the source of the 300-tonne oil spill in the East Johor Strait in Jan 2017 at Pasir Gudang Port in Johor.
Living rocky shore at Punggol
The shore today seemed a lot less lively than our last survey in May 2017. But there is still some life here.

Compared to our survey in May 2017, there are a lot less sponges and even less ascidians. But there were still small sparse patches of colourful sponges, ascidians on the rocks and hard surfaces here. The rest of the team even saw nudibranchs!
I saw a few small patches of Zebra coral and one small patch of Cave coral. Quite similar to what I saw in May 2017. Unlike my survey in May 2015, I didn't see any cerianthids and Flowery sea pens on the sandy shores below the low water line.
There were lots and lots of these tiny sea anemones with an orange 'mouth'. They were found lower down the shore than the usual Banded bead anemones. I also saw a lot of them during our last survey in May 2017.
It was great to see 10 Burgundy anemones (I saw only 3 in May 2017) because Punggol is the stronghold of the intriguing anemone, it is not found in large numbers elsewhere. This anemone was seen mostly in or near the low water line. Also one of the strange orange small anemones we've seen before. Lined bead anemones were high up on the shore and jetty legs. Banded bead anemones were on the mid shore. The rest of the team saw Haddon's carpet anemones.
 I saw a few Crown sea stars and one Purple sea cucumber and one Black sea urchin.
There were a lot of these animals that look like 'tunghoon' and often mistaken for seaweed. These Glassy branching bryozoans were more plentiful near the jetty. These are a kind of colonial animal. The polyps are super tiny.
There were lots of Purple climber crabs, many Powder blue-clawed swimming crabs and Stone crabs. I also saw many tiny shrimps and small gobies. While the rest of the team saw a wide variety of small fishes.
Other animals on the rocks included. Compared to our last survey in May 2017, when there were many Green mussels, today I saw only a few small ones. I also saw few Worm snails. In May 2017, I also saw lots of mussels look like those we saw at Kranji in Mar 2017, today I didn't see any, although I saw one small patch of nest mussels. After looking hard, I found a few onch slugs. There were more seen in May 2017. There were a lot of Spiral melongena snails and Drills.
It was nice to come across a few small but lush patches of very healthy looking Hairy spoon seagrass, which I last saw here in Aug 2014.
Shocked to see how fast buildings are appearing right next to the shore.
Living rocky shore at Punggol
This must be the Punggol Point District announced recently in the news. Today, I saw that the little natural mangrove along the Road is completely dead. Here's my last look at it in Jan 2016.
From Channel NewsAsia, Aug 2018
The shore near the new buildings are heavily trashed.
Trash on Punggol shore
This shore is cleaned daily, so this looks like just a day's load of trash?
Trash on Punggol shore
Most of the high shore is well cleaned, and there is a lighter load of trash towards the jetty.
Trash on Punggol shore
But there were lots of bits of plastic and styrofoam on the high water line, and among the rocks at the high water mark.
We also saw one very long abandoned net. It was already well covered in algae and thus we left it there.
There is also a huge barge near the jetty.
Large barge on Punggol Beach, Sep 2018
I have no idea what is going on here.
Large barge on Punggol Beach, Sep 2018
This Punggol shore seems to be getting less and less rich over the years. In Jun 2012, I even saw sea fans and a seahorse here. Sponges were more abundant and in greater variety, with many different kinds of nudibranchs. I do hope the shore will eventually recover its former glory.

Posts by others on this trip

Dayna Cheah

Richard Kuah and on his blog

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