27 July 2017

Sentosa Tanjung Rimau is still alive

I last surveyed this shore at the height of mass coral bleaching in Jul 2016.
Living reefs of Sentosa Tanjung Rimau
It was a relief today, to see no bleaching. There were some hard corals, and many small leathery soft corals. But alarming to see signs of cropped Tape seagrasses.


This mostly rocky shore has lush seagrass meadows as well as scattered corals. Here's a video clip of what I saw today.
Living seagrasses and reefs of Sentosa Tanjung Rimau
There has not been much hard corals on this shore in the past. During the survey at the height of mass coral bleaching I estimated about 70% of the hard corals are bleaching. I saw a few small leathery soft corals and none of them were bleaching. I estimated 5-10% of the corals have died recently. Today, I didn't see any hard corals bleaching.
Living reefs of Sentosa Tanjung Rimau
There were many small Boulder pore corals. Many were alright, some had dead patches, and a few were very pale.
There were many Merulinid (previously Favid) corals. Most were alright. On my last survey, almost all of them were bleaching.
I also saw one Sandpaper coral, one Anemone coral, many Small Goniopora corals, two Plate montipora corals and two Flowery disk corals. They were all alright.
  There were some Blue corals and some tiny clumps of Fine feathery soft corals.
I saw many small colonies of Leathery soft corals of various kinds scattered on the reef flats. All of them were alright.
I saw many Frilly sea anmones and one Smooth frilly anemone. They were alright.
There were also some sponges of various kinds on the shore.
The high rocky shore was dotted with life. Like tiny Banded bead anemones. Nick also found Pink-spotted bead anemones. There were tiny onch slugs and tiny crabs among the seaweeds growing on the high shore. I also saw a small cluster of Nest mussels.
Among the animals I came across was a tiny Elegant lined flatworm, several Long black sea cucumbers, many Hairy crabs, one Top shell snail, many different snails on the rocks and a small hermit crabt that I've not seen before.
The natural coastal forest that cloaks this natural cliff has some of the last of Singapore's now rare coastal plants. Among them is Nyireh laut which is Critically Endangered in Singapore and we probably have only about 7 trees on our shores. There is a big old mother tree here, as well as her daughter nearby. They are both alright.
Nyireh laut (Xylocarpus rumphii)
There is a young Nyireh laut under the military pill box structure on the shore, which was nearly cut down accidentally by workers. I checked on it on our last surveys in Apr 2016 and Jul 2016, it looked fine, and today it is still ok. Thanks to Bian Tan for pointing out this young one to me. On the shore today, I saw another Nyireh laut sapling!
The entire blue drums 'security barrier' has been removed. In Apr 2016, the blue drums on the shore were removed, but those on the water were still there. Today, there were no drums on the water. The only sign of them is the large concrete block on the reef flat and part of a chain on the high shore.
There seems to be now a bloom of both Bryopsis green seaweed (mostly on the low shore) as well as a bloom of Bee hoon green seaweed (mostly on the high shore).
Chaetomorpha sp.
It was alarming to see signs of cropped Tape seagrass.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides)
Although there were still lots of Tape seagrasses and most of them had long leaf blades (about 50-60cm). There were also lush patches of Spoon seagrass (small leaf blades) and near the seawall, some Sickle seagrass.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides)
Let's hope this special sliver of natural shore on Sentosa stays safe until we return.

Others on this trip: Abel Yeo, Nicholas Yap.

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