18 June 2022

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal corals are still alive!

Today, a small team returns to survey the amazing coral reef that has settled naturally on the seawalls of Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. We last surveyed this shore in 2013
Living reefs at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 2022
Besides the amazing corals at the Ferry Terminal, there were lush seagrasses on the shore next to the Ferry terminal with all kinds of animals. We also encountered otters, saw a stonefish, and a large ray.

Some of the team explore the tricky seawall infront of the Ferry Terminal. Here's Dayna's photo of Kok Sheng among the huge corals!
Here's a montage of Kok Sheng's photos taken at the seawall infront of the Ferry Terminal. While most of the corals were boulder shaped, there were also many delicate branching and plate-forming corals. They seemed to be well formed without many dead patches. There were also the usual anemonefishes and large sponges common on our shores.
Meanwhile, I joined those checking out the area behind the seawall next to the Ferry Terminal. This shore is now strictly off limits without a permit. We surveyed with permission kindly arranged by NParks and support from the Ferry Terminal.
Living shores at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 2022
Even here, many corals have settled on the seawall, especially where pools of water are retained even at low tide. Most are boulder shaped species, but there were also many large, plate forming species. Most were well formed without any dead patches.
The shore next to the Ferry Terminal is mostly sandy with good cover of seagrasses of various kinds.
Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymodocea rotundata)
There are a lot of large Fan shell clams throughout the shore, and many Spider conch snails (I saw about 10). This might be the result of restricted access to the shore as these animals are usually heavily harvested. There were also some small Haddon's carpet anemones, one with a pair of Peacock tail anemone shrimps. Chay Hoon found a Snaky sea anemone (our first record for this shore) and I saw a Fire anemone and several Slender sea pens.
Chay Hoon found a Knobbly sea star (our first for this shore) and another was also found. I saw a few Common sea stars scattered in sparse groups. There were many Cake sand dollars (in the past not so common here) and Oval moon snails
Stonefish are common on this shore and while we looked for them near the seawalls (where we often see them), Chay Hoon finally found a large one in the middle of a patch of seagrasses!
There was an unusual stingray swimming in the shallow lagoon left behind at low tide. Kok Sheng has identified it as the Whitespotted whipray (Himantura gerrardi)
James spotted otters quietly checking out the seawall and shore. We also saw otters on our previous surveys here. The restricted nature of the shores probably makes them feel more at ease here.
There are now many patches of Tape seagrass, most of them with long or very long leaf blades. The larger clumps grew in pools that remain at low tide, and these had recently bloomed female flowers. There were single clumps on the higher shore and even among the seawall boulders. Some clumps appear to have cropped leaves, but not very short. In the past, there was only one, but large, Tape seagrass clump.
The big patch of Smooth ribbon seagrass is still there and seems to have grown a lot bigger. There are also many patches of this seagrass nearer the ferry terminal, and sprinkling of them growing among the boulders of the seawall.
There are now many large patches of Sickle seagrass with fresh leaves. Some were cropped but most were alright. In the past, there was only one small patch of this seagrass.
Spoon seagrass remains the most abundant species, growing almost throughout the shore. I also saw a sprinkling of Needle seagrass. Vincent saw some Noodle seagrass.
I was pleasantly surprised to see almost no marine litter washed up on the shore.
Hardly any marine litter at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 2022
A look at the corals at the Ferry Terminal in daylight as the tide turned and we ended the survey. Check out the albums by the team members who surveyed this area: Dayna Cheah
Living reefs at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 2022

Where did all these corals come from?

The babies of these corals are from Singapore reefs! This chart shared in the Long-Term Plan Review shows coral larvae (babies) dispersal in our waters from mass coral spawning. This highlights the importance of protecting our 'mother reefs' so that they can continue to produce babies that settle all along our shoreline.

What is the fate of this shore?

Seems like the area we surveyed today might be spared the massive reclamation outlined recently in the Long-Term Plan Review

Photos by others on the survey

Che Cheng Neo

Dayna Cheah

Loh Kok Sheng

Chay Hoon

Jianlin Liu

James Koh

Kelvin Yong

Vincent Choo


Related Posts with Thumbnails