Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Surprises at East Coast

There were at least 5 Basket stars spotted on pretty Sea fans on the shore along East Coast Park beach this morning.
Basket star on pink sea fan.
If you think that the beach along East Coast Park is plain and just full of sand, perhaps this blog post might change your perspective.
The shore at East Coast Park is not a natural shore. It is a reclaimed shore. After many years of settling, many parts of the beach is hidden with marine life. With the lowest possible tide for the whole year at -0.2, the team check out the pillars of Bedok Jetty and the lagoon outside National Sailing Club. This is my first time checking out the shores of East Coast.

Even on a stretch of the beach badly covered with litter and marine debris, a Horn-eyed ghost crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus) surprises us well hidden on the shore with a winking eye.
Horn-eyed ghost crab
The pillars of Bedok Jetty is very much full of life with all sort of marine animals.
Each of the sea fans we saw were covered with pretty Basket stars, such as this on which is pink. This is actually my first time seeing a live Basket star on our intertidal trips.
Pink basket star on white sea fan.
Closer look at the pink basket star.
Complete basket star
Underside of the basket star
Close up on the underside, showing the mouth
There were also pretty Brittle stars found individually, on sea fan and on Feather star.
Can you spot the brittle star on the sea fan?
Brittle star, individual
Close up of central disk
Brittle star on feather star
Mei Lin spotted a Ovulid or False cowrie snail on one of the sea fan. These snails have matching shell colour of the sea fan they are on.
Orange ovulid on orange sea fan
Along one side of the pillar, I spotted a Kanga hypselodoris nudibranch (Hypselodoris kanga). It has pretty coloured spots on its body and triangular cross-section on its gills.
Hypselodoris kanga
Closeup of its gills
We then drove down to East Coast Park Area G, where National Sailing Centre. The lagoon took everyone by surprise. I was told that this shore was totally wipeout in Aug 2008 from Kok Sheng. After 5 years of absent monitoring, Kok Sheng suggested checking out this place.
The lagoon has recovered rather well with good patches of seagrass, mainly Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) and Needle seagrass (Halodule uninervis).
Spoon seagrass
Samples of each seagrass species is collected for herbarium press specimen for record. It gives me a chance to practice what I have learnt during the recent TeamSeagrass trainings done by Seagrass-Watch .

The Eight-armed sea star (Luidia maculata) looks like they were out having a party. However the ones we saw are of six arms. By the way, it is Kok Sheng's birthday today. I think the sea stars are having a birthday party for him.
Eight-armed sea star
There were also Painted sand star (Astopecten sp.), Luidia sand star (Luidia sp.) and a Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera) seen on the shore.
Painted sand star
Luidia sand star
Cake sea star
There were a number of Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) on the shore and one of them had a brittle star on it.
Brittle star on Haddon's carpet anemone
The snails seen include Ball moon snail (Polinices didyma), Fig snails (Ficus variegata), Weasel olive snail (Oliva mustelina) and Miliaris cowries (Cypraea miliaris).
Ball moon snail
Fig snails
Weasel olive snail
Miliaris cowrie
I hope this has somewhat changed your perspective of East Coast Park Beach. Though reclaimed shore, it is still very much fill with interesting marine life.

Post by others on this trip:
Kok Sheng - Birthday Bash at shores of East Coast
Ria - East Coast Surprise: Lots of seagrasses!  and  East Coast Surprise: Reefy!

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