Monday, May 9, 2016

Checking out the reefy East Coast shore

It's been about 3 years since I last visited certain stretches of East Coast Park during super low spring tide. Yes there's marine life at East Coast! However, they are only exposed at super low tides that do not usually occur much in a year and that limits the number of times we can go down to take a look.

One of my favourite spots would be this stretch that is home to lots of colourful sea fans! Even at the minimum tide, the sea fans are still half submerged and I had to endure the splashes from the waves.

It is not difficult to find the rarey Basket stars (Family Euryalidae) clinging onto the sea fans if you look hard enough.

Here's another one that got swept up the higher shore. According to Dr David Lane, juveniles are often found on sea fans, while adults are typically found under large corals and crevices during the day, but at night climb up to an elevated point to unfurl their arms into the current.

What a surprise to find an octopus among the rocks by the seawall!

Earlier during this trip, I had a quick look at yet another stretch which used to be full of reefy organisms. This shore was previously badly hit by the oil spill in 2010. During our last visit in 2013, it seemed very sparse. Back then, we figured it could be due to beach nourishment (topping up of sand) that took place earlier. This could have smothered many of the marine life.

During this trip, I noticed the shore is still not at its former glory but it is slowly recovering. One of my favourite moments would be to find this rock with a tiny colony of the Disk coral (Turbinaria sp.), a Spiny sea star (Gymnanthenea laevis) and also a small red Sea fan or Gorgonian (Order Gorgonacea).

There are also other types of encrusting hard corals such as the Zebra corals (Oulastrea crispata), Cave corals (Tubastrea sp.) and the Pore hard coral (Porites sp.).

This shore has always been a good spot to find many of these Spiny sea stars (Gymnanthenea laevis). Here's one clinging onto the rock.

On top of the Spiny sea stars, there are also new finds on this location- the Biscuit stars (Goniodiscaster scaber)!

I saw came across a large Painted sand stars (Astropecten sp.).

The sea fans are making a comeback with smaller colonies growing onto the rocks. There's also  Spindle or False cowrie snails (Family Ovulidae) found on some of them!

I particularly love this tiny red sea fan with purple tentacles. How cool-looking it is!

The Miliaris cowrie (Erosaria miliaris) used to also be found on this shore and I'm glad to find one on this trip.

And to end off with a lovely surprise, I stumbled upon a handsome Arabian cowrie (Cypraea arabica)! First time seeing it here. Let's hope this shore will continue to recover with no further impact. 

More photos of the trip can be found here:

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