Dec 27, 2007

Can Labrador survive?

Today is the very last lowish tide for the year, and we thought we should have a look at Labrador, especially after the recent distressing entry on the reddot blog.Indeed, the cofferdam is in the process of being dismantled, and a new fence has been erected to replace the disintegrating blue hoarding that we saw on our visit about two weeks ago (which was emblazoned with the names of the parties involved in the project).

But surprisingly, although the contractors bothered to take down the hoarding and build a new fence, they didn't bother to clear the rubbish in the area!There was even discarded green fencing on the shore and stuffed into natural crevices in the cliff, together with other rubbish. My mind is boggled.The entire work area is a disgusting mess and smelt as foul as it looks.
Apologising doesn't cure this situation, I feel.

But how is the shore coping with the stress of trash and high sedimentation?

The rocks were alive with lots and lots of colourful Nerites (Nerita sp.)For some reason, there were plenty of orange ones in various sizes.On the big boulders, there were Toothed top shell snails (Monodonta labio), with the signature 'tooth' across the shell opening.
As well as Dwarf turban snails (Turbo bruneus) with their semi-spherical 'door' to seal the shell opening, and conical Spotted top shell snails (Trochus maculatus). The Spotted top shell snail is listed among our threatened animals due to habitat loss.
On the stones were huddles of tiny hermit crabs in assorted tiny shells.Here and there, the boulders were still encrusted with animals such as the rubbery brown zoanthid and blue sponges.Among the coral rubble were zoanthids, struggling to stay above the thick layer of silt.I also saw two Branched-tentacle sea anemones (Phymanthus sp.). These anemones are usually very commonly seen on our Southern shores and normally we would see dozens.
Heading down towards the seagrass meadows nearer the entrance, alas, we see again the heartbreaking concrete slabs left behind by Singapore Polytechnic for their seacil project. In further state of disintegration, threatening to release their component plastic bits and other potentially deadly parts.

The two enormous rectangular slabs where still there.And the triangular slab too.

The slabs lie right on the seagrass meadows, which are alive with all kinds of plants and animals.

There were tiny colonies of living hard corals among the seagrasses.
As well as small clumps of soft corals.
In the pools were little gobies like this fat Ornate lagoon-goby (Istigobius ornatus).
There were also fast skipping mudskippers, and little cardinalfishes. While a few snapping shrimps were busy keeping their burrows clear of sediments.

And this transparent, shy anemone.It is probably a peacock anemone (Order Ceriantharia) because it has an outer ring of long tentacles, and an inner ring of short tentacles.The Sickle seagrasses (Thalassia hemprichii) were blooming! And little shrimps are found among their leaves. There are two in this photo, can you see them? Look for their blue eyeballs! The longer Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) were also blooming.
On the left, a female flower developing into a fruit, on the right, a male flower. The Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) were also still valiantly alive.

We had a strange encounter today, with a man who brought a bag of living corals TO Labrador. He said he was returning the corals that he got from the shore.Hmmm...

Another mystery is the large number of dead corals washed ashore with large clumps of sargassum seaweeds attached to them.
I saw at least 15 such corals. There was a broad band of sargassum growing on Labrador, but in deeper water. Did these corals wash up from that zone? Why did they wash up? What does this mean?

Some stuff we saw, however, is no mystery. PVC pipes that roll about in the waves, squishing life on the shores.
Marine life on Labrador was magnificent before the construction. And today, we see that some marinelife still exists.

If the mess on the shore is cleared up soon, the marinelife might get a chance to make a slow recovery.

Otherwise, the result might be more ominous...

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