Aug 1, 2008

East Coast quickly

3.30am and we're on the East Coast eagerly awaiting a super low spring tide to see the wonderful seafans and other marine life that Kok Sheng saw in May.

It seems that this beach is also affected by the recent NEA announcement about poor water quality at Pasir Ris.We saw a similar sign when we visited this same beach in May, but at that time there was no detailed explanation for the closure.From media reports yesterday...

Based on a new international water quality guideline by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Pasir Ris Beach has been identified as one where swimming would not be recommended. However, activities like canoeing and kayaking can continue.

The beach scored a fair grading because it contains an abnormal level of a type of bacteria traditionally found in human faeces and warm-blooded animals.

Accidentally consuming the water at the beach could cause gastro intestinal illnesses and conjunctivitis.

We decided to have a look at the beach anyway.

Alas! The entire shore was blanketed in a thick layer of cloying sediments.What looks like a thick plank was actually a very thick layer of sediment on a thin plank.But even in these conditions, the soft silty ground was covered with tiny little green sea anemones!As well as bigger sea anemones.Of various kinds.Some silty areas were blanketed with long red filaments.I have no idea what they are. Probably something to do with worms.

There were some really tiny echinoderms:One small sea urchin and one really tiny sea cucumber. We also saw some ball sea cucumbers stranded on the high shore.

In the brief 15 minutes we spent on the shore, I also saw one swimming crab.And lots of shrimps of various sizes.And we even managed to see a few very small sea fans!Sea fans are colonial animals.Each colony is made of up tiny white polyps that share a hard support structure.
Sea fan colonies are usually branching on one plane and thus resembles a fan. In this way, the polyps maximise the region in which they filter for food particles.

Many marine creatures in fact filter feed, that is, they feed by filtering the water for tiny food particles. These particles are comprise bits of dead, decaying plants and animals and yes, fecal material too. Bacteria are yummy as well to marine animals such as sponges; these suck a flow of water into their spongy bodies and filter out the tiniest titbits.

'Poor' water quality to humans might actually be a restaurant for some marine creatures.

So I wonder: is water quality affected by marinelife? Too few animals to process the water? Or too much muck in the water for natural processes to clean it up?

Kok Sheng shares more about the situation at the East Coast and sedimentation in general on his wonderful creations blog.

In any case, we quickly gave up on exploring the East Coast shore because the ground was very soft and full of anemones. We fled off to Changi to catch the remaining low tide.


Ivan said...

Interesting... I had noticed how the drain outside my workplace had seemed especially murky this past week at high tide. I was wondering if it was pollution or an unnaturally high level of siltation going on.

Hope East Coast soon recovers.

YC said...

didnt look like a nice beach - even the filter guys looked off eh?