10 September 2018

Special Changi shore finally cleaned of oil, still alive!

We surveyed a stretch of shore that used to be lined with long stakes and large bags that appeared to be some attempt at erosion control. During the Jan 2017 oil spill, the entire set up was badly covered in oil and remained so 12 months after the spill was cleaned up elsewhere.
Oil spill in the Johor Strait (5 Jan 2017) from Changi Carpark 4
Oil spill on this shore in Jan 2017.
Today, we found the entire set up had been removed. But the shore seemed rather barren, although the eastern part of it is still lively.

In the past, many of the stakes have been uprooted from the high shore and littered all over the low shore. As the stakes move in the waves, they are probably also killing any seagrass or animals that attempt to settle there. A blog post by Jocelyne Sze on this setup in 2014 showed it was still okay. I observed it falling apart in Apr 2015, again in Aug 2016. This is what I saw on our last trip here in Dec 2017.
Dislodged stakes scouring seagrass meadows at Changi
Long stakes litter the shore in Dec 2017.
Today, these have all been replaced with a seawall, and the stakes on the shore are no longer there. Our survey ended before sunrise, so this is the best photo I could take. But the shore in front of the seawall is rather barren and smells anoxic. With time, I hope the life we used to see there will return.
Seawall replaced previous deteriorating erosion control
The area near the jetty had lush seagrasses and many different colourful animals had settled on the jetty legs. Including flowery soft corals, sponges and hydroids. Attracting flatworms and other animals that feed on and near them.
There were also many Blue feather stars. Some on the jetty legs, others dispersed among the seagrasses.
There were lots of sea cucumbers! Thorny and Pink warty sea cucumbers remained the most abundant. As well as Ball sea cucumbers. I saw two Sea Apple sea cucumbers, a few Beige sea cucumbers and one Plasticky sea cucumber and one large Garlic bread sea cucumber.
We saw one large Cake sea star, one medium sized Knobbly sea star and many Biscuit sea stars. I didn't see any Painted sand stars or Plain sand stars.
There were some large White sea urchins, many carrying all kinds of stuff. I also saw one small Black sea urchin and the dead shell of a Cake sand dollar, I couldn't find live ones.
A special anemone find was one small Burgundy anemone, the first I've seen beyond Pasir Ris. I also came across one Brown peachia, which was described from Singapore! There were also some common Peachia anemones, a few Swimming anemones and some Haddon's carpet anemone. On the jetty legs, there were lots of Lined bead anemones.
This shore is soft and silty, perfect for sea pens. I saw many Sea pencils, some Slender sea pens and Flowery sea pens, and one Spiky sea pen. But I didn't see any cerianthids, although we saw many here with Dr Stampar on May 2017.
I saw their eggs before I saw the large Geographic sea hare! The rest of the team saw other interesting slugs too.
On the jetty legs there were cowries of all kinds. Including many Wandering cowries, some Miliaris cowries and one Onyx cowrie. There were also many Drills laying eggs.
I saw many enormous sand collars, egg masses laid by Moon snails. But only saw a few small ones like this Calf moon snail and a Pink moon snail.
Calf moon snail (Natica vitellus)
I saw the bright tiny orange-and-black thing and thought it was a slug. But it turned out to be the siphon of a buried Nobel volute!
Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis)
There was one Rafting crab on the jetty legs, and one Maroon stone crab among the rocks. There were also some Purple climbing crabs and many Swimming crabs of all sizes and all kinds. On the seagrasses, there were many Orange-striped hermit crabs.
Near the jetty, there were lush growths of clean seagrasses. Fern seagrass, Spoon seagrass (with large leaf blades) and Needle seagrass (narrow leaf blades). But the seagrasses in the area in front of the new seawall appear to be gone. Hopefully, they will return.
I saw one fishing rod, and several patches of fishing nets already heavily covered in seaweeds. There were also trash that looked like they were tossed from people partying at the promenade, e.g., beer bottles and cans.
Let's hope this shore can recover to soon!

Photos by others on this trip

Dayna Cheah

Others on this trip: Dayna Cheah, Jonathan Tan, Yong Jen.

Yesterday was also a low spring tide and I was also at Changi with Prof Peter Ng's Masters students.

Able Yeo was also at Changi and documented these sightings

Dayna Cheah was at East Coast Park

Tan Yong Jen

Manfred Ong

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