28 May 2021

Rocky Changi still reefy

There is an underwater garden on the rockier parts of Changi. Today, there were many patches of healthy sea fans. Sponges have returned, providing food for our favourite nudibranchs.
Marine life on and under jetty legs, Changi May 2021
Seagrasses sprinkle much of this stretch shore, with a particularly lush patch in the lagoon. Unfortunately, the large fig tree that grows here has fallen over. But fishing pressure seems to have eased as large parts of the boardwalk are closed.

Today, there was a good variety and number of sea fans, sponges and other colourful encrusting marine life. Things seem much better than my last survey in Jul 2020. There was a  steady decline from our surveys in Jun 2019Aug 2018 and May 2017, with the best situation seen in Aug 2016
Various marine life on Changi, May 2021
Today I saw many large healthy colonies of commonly seen sea fans like Candelabra sea fans and Skinny sea fans. Also sea fans less commonly seen on the mainland: Asparagus sea fans, Flat branch sea fans and Tree sea fans. I didn't see many healthy Gnarled sea fans though.
Spindle cowrie snails live only on sea fans, and eat them! It was great to see three different kinds of ovulids today: less commonly seen Nectar spindle cowrie and Dalmation spindle cowrie and the more commonly seen Red spindle cowrie. I also observed some of the spindle cowries exposed at low tide hanging off the sea fan on a thread of mucus. I don't really know what is happening.
Today, there were a lot more sponges than I saw on my last survey.
Marine life on and under jetty legs, Changi May 2021
Sponges and other encrusting marine life were growing on all hard surfaces, natural and artificial.
Marine life on and under jetty legs, Changi May 2021
I saw a good variety of sponges. Some of them were particularly large and well formed. 
Sponges are food of nudibranchs. And indeed, today we saw a lot of them. There were many many Kanga nudibranchs. And this shore is the stronghold for the Pink-gilled nudibranch. We saw many other kinds. 
Jialin is much better at finding and taking photos of nudibranchs and the other reefy creatures we saw today, so check out his album.
The 'fields' of button zoanthids are flourishing again.
Button zoanthids (Zoanthus sp.)
Spoon seagrass are growing on many parts of the shore, even on the rockier areas. They are particularly lush in the small lagoon, that I saw for the first time during our Aug 2018 survey. I couldn't find any Hairy spoon seagrass though.
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)
The mangrove trees that have settled on the seawall are still there.
Mangrove settling naturally on artificial wall, Changi May 2021
Unfortunately, the huge Johor fig in the lagoon has fallen over. It appears to be due to some sort of slope failure. But the tree is not completely dead. There are still leafy branches on it and it's still figging. A hornbill was feasting on the figs when I was there.
Usually, fishing and trapping goes on at the Changi Coastal Boardwalk 24/7. During our last survey here in  Jul 2021, even at low spring tide at the crack of dawn, there were people already setting up many long fishing poles. Today, large sections of the boardwalk is CLOSED! So there were no people. And no fresh traps or fishing nets. Although old traps and nets are still there. There were some signs of light construction on the western most portion of the boardwalk.

See Changi shores for yourself!

More details on Changi - an easy intertidal adventure for the family.

What is the future of Changi shores?

Changi shores are precious because they may be reclaimed in the 2013 landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development released in response to 2013 Population White Paper.
The blue outlined areas are "Possible Future Reclamation". 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 the Changi Beach shores from Carpark 6 to Carpark 7.


Others on this survey: Jianlin Liu


Other shores surveyed today

Chay Hoon check up on another Changi shore


Kok Sheng checked out another Changi shore


Marcus Ng checked up on another Changi shore


Jianlin checked up on various Changi shores 28-30 May


Richard Kuah checked up on Punggol Point


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