27 November 2019

Seringat-Kias: Still seagrassy despite oil spill

It's wonderful to see the seagrasses in the artificial lagoon at Seringat-Kias are still doing well. Although we saw signs of a recent oil spill, which probably explains why the meadows were rather quiet today.
Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata)
I explored a small seawall and short reefy area on the other side of the island which was much livelier.
Living shores of Seringat-Kias
While the rest of the team explored Lazarus and other parts of Seringat-Kias with interesting sightings like a cone snail and more!


Seringat-Kias was created by reclaiming the submerged reefs of Seringat and Kias. One of the touted features on this island is the C-shaped 1km long artificial lagoon. Here's more about what was done to create Seringat-Kias. There's marine life on the artificial shore as well as on the natural shores of Lazarus Island.
The Southern arm of the large lagoon on Seringat Kias was densely covered in Smooth ribbon seagrass on the low water mark. With dense coverage of Spoon seagrass and Needle seagrass on the higher shore.
Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata)
In the middle of the lagoon facing Kusu Island, I saw healthy Noodle seagrass sprinkled with some Tape seagrass.
On the Northern arm of the lagoon, there was a patch of Tape seagrass with long leaf blades that was flowering!
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) with female flowers
Here's a video of some of the seagrasses in the lagoon.
Living seagrass meadows at Seringat-Kias, Nov 2019
I notice the litter on the shore was covered in oil as I started walking towards the Northern arm of the lagoon.
At the Northern arm, there was a layer under the sand of what looked, smelled and felt like oil.  Perhaps that is why we did not see any soft bodied animals on the seagrasses that we saw on our last survey in Jan 2019. Like Common sea stars, sea cucumbers, carpet anemones and slugs.
But there were still many snails: Lots of Bazillion snails with sprinkles of Dubious nerites, Moon snails with their sand collars, Gong gong snails and Black lipped conch. I saw one Spotted moon snail, one Olive snail and a few Fan shell clams.
We did see one Knobbly sea star in the lagoon but I didn't see any other echinoderms. On the other side of the island facing St John's though, I saw a live Thick-edged sand dollar (and many dead ones), one Common sea star and a White-rumped sea cucumber.
I had a quick look at a short stretch of reefy area on this artificial shore facing St John's Island.
Living shores of Seringat-Kias
The short sea wall had lots of healthy Asparagus soft coral, small Leathery soft corals and some healthy hard corals, mostly Merulinids. On the rocky area at the low water mark there were more hard corals including some well formed plate corals.
There were also several Giant carpet anemones, while on the short sandy stretch, there were several Haddon's carpet anemones with Peacock-tail anemone shrimps.
Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) with Peacock-tail anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis)
On the seawall, lots of Jewelled chitons were crammed into the crevices just above the mid-water mark!
Meanwhile, Jonathan explored the smaller artificial lagoon where he saw lots of Upside down jellyfish and other marine life. The rest of the team also checked out Lazarus Island where Kelvin saw a cone snail, Jianlin saw lots of nudibranchs, and more!

The future of Lazarus and Seringat-Kias?

The cluster of Kusu, Lazarus and St. John's Islands has been recommended by the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 for elevated protection status.

The Blue Plan highlights that Lazarus, St. John’s, and Kusu Islands are established sites for coral nurseries as their shoreline offers ideal sheltered areas for growth of corals. Designating these islands as No-fishing Areas can bolster their rehabilitation. Protecting a larger cluster of islands means zonation plans for use can be implemented to manage tourism and human impacts.

DOWNLOAD the Plan, SUPPORT the Plan! More on the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 site.


Photos by others on this trip

Kelvin Yong


Jonathan Tan


Marcus Ng


Jianlin Liu


Liz Lim

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