May 11, 2008

Coral bleaching at Sentosa

This morning, I joined the Naked Hermit Crabs in a recce of Sentosa's natural shores in preparation for public walks there in June.

It was heart-breaking to see the shore being impacted by the reclamation works for the IR.Just last year, we discovered large living corals under the cable car tower where the massive construction is now on going.

I check up on the little 'Nemo' in his anemone home.
Alas, although the anemone was still there, I didn't see him. He was sighted last month on the lekowala blog. The seagrass meadows there are also getting very thin.

The small team of Ley Kun, Vyna, Terry and Jane moved on to the shores just behind Underwater World where we saw lots of carpet anemones! And there were at least four little anemone shrimps!We saw some branching corals and the shell of a dead heart urchin. So there is still some life on this shore.

We moved on quickly past the stunning natural cliffs towards the Tanjung Rimau beacon. We didn't want to miss the tide and wanted to see the hard corals on the Tanjung Rimau side of the natural shore.The beacon is being reconstructed!That's quite a lot of construction as the beacon is very large.

The Tanjung Rimau shore is still somewhat alive.
The coral rubble was coated in living animals of many colours and studded with Phymanthus sea anemones.
With soft corals here and there.

We also came across a large 'ball' of Lined eel-tail catfishes (Plotosus lineatus).I also stumbled upon a very long ribbon worm, while the others saw some nudibranchs and a living mushroom coral.

Unfortunately, we also came across several large hard corals that were bleaching.Hard corals have a white skeleton. The tiny animals (called polyps) that make up the hard coral contain symbiotic algae (zooxanthallae) that add colour to the living hard coral. When the polyps are stressed, they may lose their zooxanthallae. Thus their white skeleton becomes more obvious.

This is what a healthy hard coral would look like.But there were other hard corals on the shore that seemed alright, for the moment.The Sentosa shore currently bears the onslaught of much human impact.

We came across a plastic road barrier under the natural cliff.And another on the Tanjung Rimau shore that was already half buried.In addition, there are massive developments next to the Sentosa shore.

Besides the IR reclamation, reclamation for the new Pasir Panjang Terminal next to Labrador Nature Reserve will soon start.Sentosa's Tanjung Rimau lies just opposite Labrador Nature Reserve (the green hilly area on the right of the photo below).And the beautiful living shores lie just opposite the Pasir Panjang terminal.We can only hope for the best that the shores at Labrador and Sentosa survive these ongoing developments.

from PORT MARINE NOTICE NO. 104 of 2008 9 May 08

This is a revision of Port Marine Notice No. 09 of 2008. The working area has been revised and
working period extended. With effect from 10 May 08 to 09 Nov 08. In the vicinity of Pasir Panjang Terminal and Pasir Panjang Wharves. 24 hours daily including Sundays and Public Holidays.Works will include reclamation, dredging, soil investigation, caisson construction, demolition of PW 1 and PW 2 and removal of submarine cables and pipelines.

Further general enquiries can be directed to Mr Y Abe, the project coordinator, at Tel: 9664 8810, email:

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