Nov 15, 2012

Labrador (14 Nov 2012)

My first time seeing the fruits of Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)!
The highlight of our monitoring trip to Labrador to check up on seagrasses there.

Just as we started monitoring, the weather turned ugly. While we can still work in rain, we have serious respect for lightning. We hurried to shelter under the walkway during the lively "light and sound show". How nice that these days we can use a smart phone to check up on NEA's satellite map of the latest rain situation which updates every 15 minutes. The map shows we are close to the big angry red patch where the weather is worst, but that it would probably clear up soon.
And true enough, the lightning soon stopped although it kept raining. So it was time to get back to monitoring the seagrasses.
There's still some small clumps of various seagrasses here and there on the shore! It was good to see nice long Tape seagrasses, 50-60cm long as they should be.
There were also nice patches of Spoon seagrasses near the high shore.
As we were squinting to look for animals, we noticed tiny blobs in between the leaves of the Spoon seagrass. Wow! Fruits!

When I got home, I tried hard to take better photos of the fruits. One of the fruits had split open, releasing teeny tiny seeds which were very difficult to shoot. The seeds didn't float at all. They sunk straight to the bottom. The sample of fruits will be pressed and given to the Herbarium.
While Andy monitored east of the jetty where the seagrasses are lush, Pei Yan and I monitored west of the jetty where the seagrasses are less abundant. Mostly Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii) with  Spoon seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) nearer the high water mark, and nice long Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides).
My sense is that things haven't changed much seagrass-wise since our last Labrador monitoring in July. Thanks to Pei Yan and Andy for their help to complete the monitoring during the short tide window, made even shorter by the rain.

I also did a quick check for coral growth and sadly, we also found a 50m long abandoned driftnet on the shore and a lot of litter. More about these on the wild shores of singapore blog.

Labrador shore and the jetty are now permanently closed to the public due to safety issues. The natural cliffs along the shore are not very stable. Thanks to Yuet Hsin of NParks for permission to monitor.
For years, next to Labrador, there has been massive reclamation, dredging  and other coastal works for the new Pasir Panjang Container Terminal which includes underwater blasting. Hopefully, as the massive construction nearby comes to an end, the seagrasses and other marine life at Labrador can return. It is only through long-term monitoring that we can learn more about what is happening on this shore.

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