27 October 2011

Solo at Sentosa

How are the seagrass meadows at Sentosa doing? I thought I should go and find out today.
Sentosa has many patches of Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides) all over the reef flats, and some stretches of Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) on the mid-shore.

I decided to use the TeamSeagrass methods to cover as much of the shore as I could. I managed random sampling on four segments of the shore, two near the northern end, another in the middle and the last one near the seawall off Rasa Sentosa.
There's still quite a lot of seagrasses here and most of them look healthy and happy. Although there were some patches of Spoon seagrasses with burnt leaf blades in the area near the seawall. Sorry for the blurry photos. Sneaky camera started to fog up inside towards the middle of the trip, probably because I was overusing it. Sigh.
The Tape seagrasses were blooming today! The female Tape seagrass flower has three corrugated petals that only open up on the surface of the water. When the flower is submerged (bottom left photo), the white petals close up.
The male flowers are tiny and float on the water surface, often forming 'rafts'. When these meet the open female flower on the water surface, pollination magic happens!
I also had a quick look at corals along the way. There were some small Favid corals (Family Faviidae) of various kinds, many small to large boulder shaped Pore hard corals (Porites sp.) and many Small goniopora corals (Goniopora sp.). I didn't come across any bleaching corals today. Mass coral bleaching that hit all our shores last year seemed to have affected Sentosa corals badly. Hopefully, the corals here can recover soon!
It was nice to come across some small colonies of leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) of various kinds that looked normal.
I also saw some small patches of sponges, and I saw a Red egg crab (Atergatis integerrimus) and a few Frilly anemones (Phymanthus sp.). I also saw on small Carpet eel-blenny (Congrogadus subducens) as well as many small, fast moving fishes.
Among the most precious natural treasures found on this shore is the pair of Nyireh (Xylocarpus rumphii) that are growing on the high shore. As far as I know, besides these two trees, the only other trees are 3-4 at St. John's Island.
It's good to see that Sentosa has warned people to respect the marine life on this special shore and not to remove anything.
Today, there was a light bloom of Hairy green seaweed (Bryopsis sp.). Just before I left, a last look at the massive reclamation project for the new Pasir Panjang container terminal takes up a large portion of the horizon facing this Sentosa shore.
The rest of the horizon is taken up by Pulau Bukom and the refineries there, as well as several large ships anchored in the vicinity.
Let's hope any new projects near this shore will take into consideration the marine life found here!

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