Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There is life at Pasir Ris beach

Just less than a month ago, there were several reports regarding the unacceptable water quality at Pasir Ris Beach. The NEA decided to warn against swimming off Pasir Ris Beach because high levels of bacteria normally found in the faeces of warm-blooded animals were found in the water.

Does the poor water quality due to high bacteria count means that the shore of Pasir Ris is dead and badly diseased?

You're wrong. I was surprised to see a galaxy of sand stars (Astropecten sp.) this morning.

Yes, my friends: Khairul, Ginny, Xiuli and I were at Pasir Ris at 5am for my sand star project. We were amazed to see many sand stars at the shore.

Interestingly, I was asked whether should we use gloves today due to the high bacteria count report. I guess so long as the seawater doesn't enter your mouth or eyes, it is not a problem. Always remember to wash your hands before handling food: I learnt this lesson the hard way as I got diarrhoea for one week after my P. Hantu trip which is likely due to dirty hands touching tibits.

We also encountered two Cake sea stars (Anthenea aspera). This is the larger star which is adult-sized! If you look closer, you would have realized you missed other living organisms.

Yes, there are quite a number of these common shrimps near the arms of the cake sea star. I wonder is there an association between shrimps and sea stars?

A rough or "agar" guage of a decent living shore is sometimes to see if there are octopus. Indeed we saw something purplish and small flashing across.

Yes it is an octopus, and it's a juvenile one. It looks miniature and cute.

The substrates at Pasir Ris shores are usually silty. This favours anemones in general.

I saw this elegant looking glass anemone.

There is this unidentified sea anemone on the shore and to my surprise, there is a semi-buried sand star just right next to the anemone.

Though not true anemones, peacock anemones add colour and variety to any intertidal shore. They are usually accompanied with back phoronid worms near the stalk of the peacock anemone. That's not all...

There's more life in this photo: tubeworms (bottom left) and

a tiny goby at the bottom right of the previous photo.

There are also sponges enrusted on hard surfaces. One would ask, is it an animal or plant?

Actually sponges are animals, and are simple animals. It's okay if you think they are plants because scientists used to know sponges as plants long time ago.

I had an encounter with this striped eeltail catfish that was trapped on the sand during low tide. Gently, I tried to return this poor stranded fish back into deeper waters.

Today we also saw a huge stranded jellyfish!

Here's Khairul and Ginny with the smaller cake sea star (with brilliant yellow tips on its arms) found by Xiuli.

As usual, Xiuli is still photoshy! Haha. Need to be more paparazzi to take her photos next time.

Am very grateful they sacrificed their sleep hours to come and help me with my survey. We had a good time at Pasir Ris and it's nice to visit a mainland shore with the convenience of not needing to charter a boat and van (as to visiting Chek Jawa at P. Ubin).

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