28 April 2021

Nudibranchs at Pasir Ris Park

The lush seagrass meadows at Pasir Ris are teeming with life!
Living seagrass meadows at Pasir Ris Park, Apr 2021
Today I saw many nudibranchs, also sea stars and other echinoderms. Unfortunately, there is some coastal works going on there. Come see these shores for yourself! Here's more tips on where and when to go.

I often see more interesting nudibranch on our Northern seagrassy shores than on our Southern reefs. Today I saw one Pink-gilled hypselodoris, which we more commonly see at Changi. I also saw FIVE Blue-spot nudibranchs! It is also common to see many sea hares here, and I did see one Hairy sea hare and one Geographic sea hare.
Our northern shores are also rich in echinoderms. Today I saw several lively healthy Plain sand stars and one small Painted sand star with two broken arms. I saw one medium sized Cake sea stars, one small Biscuit sea star and one Crown sea star. During our last survey in Sep 2020 and Mar 2020, there were lots of very large Eight-armed sand stars. Today, I only saw two, one small and one medium.
There were also many Black sea urchins on the shore. They were well dispersed and not gathered tightly together. These urchins tend to 'carry' seaweeds and are thus well camouflaged - so it's important to watch your step to avoid crushing them. Some had banded Urchin-mouth worms around their mouths. I also saw some recently dead urchins with a large hole on their underside but spines still attached - who ate them? Crabs? As well as one complete spherical urchin skeleton (called a test) without any spines. 
Today, I saw many large  Garlic bread sea cucumbers near the water line, they were not buried in the sediments - so I suspect they were washed up from deeper water. I saw some the feeding tentacles of Ball sea cucumbers buried in the ground, I only saw a few Pink warty sea cucumbers (small ones).
The soft silty shore is perfect for sea pens. And indeed, today, I saw a lot of Sea pencils. Also many Flowery sea pens, which look like sausages when their polyps are retracted. I saw one small Haddon's carpet anemone, and one Mini carpet anemone. I also saw one ceriathid. Healthy patches of Zebra coral covered many of the rocks.
Lush growths of Spoon seagrass still cover most of the intertidal. Most with large leaves, although I saw some with small leaves too. The shoreline is very soft and silty in most parts. I didn't see any dugong feeding trails today. The last time I saw them here was on our survey in Jul 2017. The Ulva bloom wasn't too overwhelming today.
Living seagrass meadows at Pasir Ris Park, Apr 2021
Today I saw a construction site right at the beach with large excavators and machinery. There is a silt trap around the site. The hoarding extends from the beach front all the way across the park. There was no signs indicating what the works is about or who is in charge of it. I couldn't find a notice about this work on the NParks website or an MPA notice either.
There was also a large barge just off the beach, with an excavator on it. I also don't know what is going on.
Let's hope these don't affect Pasir Ris shores too much.

Can I visit Pasir Ris shores?

YES, come see these shores for yourself! Here's more tips on where and when to go.

What is the future of Pasir Ris shores?

Pasir Ris shores may be affected by the 2030 landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development. The plans include a road link (black line) from the mainland jumping off at Punggol, crossing to Pulau Ubin through Chek Jawa to jump off to Pulau Tekong before circling back to the mainland on Changi East. Proposed reclamation (in yellow) will bury Pasir Ris shores, Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa as well as a large amount of shore at Changi Beach.

Today I was solo as most of the team are supporting NParks' survey of the Southern shores.

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