19 July 2019

Pasir Ris explodes with sea hares and Babylon snails

There are lush seagrass meadows at Pasir Ris Park. This morning, there were lots of Hairy sea hares and Babylon snails.
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)
It's been a while since I surveyed this shore in Jul 2017. I'm relieved to see it's doing well.

Today, I saw lots of Babylon snails this morning. They are clearly scavengers as there were many at a dead fish, fighting with the tiny whelks.
Spiral babylon (Babylonia spirata)
This beautiful snail was identified as a new record for Singapore in 2013. Before then, we have not seen them. Since 2015, we often see them on Changi, as well as East Coast. The shell has different patterns, some plain. The one in the photo with a dark tip is occupied by a hermit crab (I found out later when I processed the photo). Does it mean the shell changes after the snail dies?
There were also a lot of Hairy sea hares everywhere! They are rather well camouflaged.
Hairy sea hare (Bursatella leachii)
I found them alone as well as in clusters. There were also many piles of orange egg strings, probably laid by them. These animals release a purple dye when they feel stressed.
This morning, I only saw a few sea stars: One small Cake sea star, one small Painted sand star, a few Plain sand stars. I didn't see any Biscuit stars. I saw many more sea stars on our last survey here in Jul 2017. There were many Ball sea cucumbers. I didn't see any other kind of echinoderms.
I saw many Haddon's anemones, most were medium sized. One had tiny carpet anemone shrimps in them. I saw one washed up Tiger anemone, a small Cerianthid, several Sea pencils and one Flowery sea pen.
The seagrasses are dotted with smooth rocks. Today, there were many patches of Zebra coral encrusting them, some of the patches were quite large. There were also some patches of Smooth rainbow sponge that comes in a wide variety of colours.
With sponges, there must be nudibranchs around. Although I couldn't find any, I did come across a lovely egg ribbon, possibly laid by a nudibranch. The water is super clear this morning!
Egg ribbons possibly of a nudibranch
I also noticed many tiny blobs encrusting the seagrass leaf blades. I think they are some kind of ascidian.
Unidentified ascidian
The water is super clear today! The shoreline is quite firm and sandy in some parts. But is still very soft and silty in most parts. Sadly, I didn't see any dugong feeding trails today, like I did on our last survey here in Jul 2017.
Living seagrass meadows at Pasir Ris Park
Trash remains an issue on this shore. A carelessly disposed trash bag can smother and kill a whole lot of Zebra corals growing on a rock.
Trash smothering corals
The bloom of Ulva covers the low water mark so I can't really tell if there is a lot of trash under it. But I still came across many bags of rice, sugar, flour, as well as of carbohydrates like bread, instant noodles, cookies. There are about 60 Singapore fish farms located off Pasir Ris. They probably use these kinds of ingredients to make food for the fish they raise. The farms are not provided with door-to-door trash collection and are expected to bring their trash back to the mainland for proper disposal.
There was a huge vessel parked near the 'blue drum' security barrier. I'm not sure what it's doing.
Coastal works off Pasir Ris Park
As the sun rose, I noticed many people came to exercise or do their meditation or chanting along the shoreline. Deeper in the park, folks were running, cycling or walking.
Living seagrass meadows at Pasir Ris Park
There were also a few recreational line fishermen.
Fishing on Pasir Ris shore
Our shores are indeed appreciated by a wide range of people in many different ways.

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