Monday, May 31, 2010

Survivors of the Oil Spill at Tanah Merah

While it was rather depressing to find so many dead animals at Tanah Merah, we were still rather heartened to see many survivors too. While some of them appear somewhat sickly, there were a fair number which appeared quite healthy too.

Stichodactyla gigantea
This Giant Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) still looked rather healthy, and the water surrounding it was in fact rather oil-free.

Stichodactyla haddoni
We saw many healthy looking Haddon's Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) too. I guess these sea anemones were probably in deep enough water to be spared from the worst of the oil spill.

Actinostephanus haeckeli
Near the sea wall, I spotted a Haeckel's Sea Anemone (Actinostephanus haeckeli). A member of the hell's fire anemone family (Actinodendronidae), this sea anemone can give very painful stings.

Soft Corals (Order Alcyonacea)
There were a few patches of Soft Corals (Order Alcyonacea) too.

Sea Fans (Order Gorgonacea
And I was rather glad to find a few Sea Fans (Order Gorgonacea) too.

Acorn Worm (Class Enteropneusta)
While I did not find as many Acorn Worm (Class Enteropneusta) casts like my previous trips, there were still a fair number of them.

Segmented Worm (Class Polychaeta
We saw this unknown Segmented Worm (Class Polychaeta) coming out of its burrow. Not sure if it was stressed out by the oil spill, but certainly hoped it would survive.

I had never seen so many Peanut Worms (Sipuncula) on a trip before. While there were many dead ones, many of them were still very much alive, but whether they could survive or not was still a big question mark.

Arachnoides placenta
There were still many living Sand Dollars (Arachnoides placenta) in different sizes.

Salmacis Sea Urchi
We even found a small Salmacis Sea Urchin (Salmacis sp.)!

While most of the Heart Urchins (probably Maretia ovata) we found were dead, there were a few that were still alive, and some were in fact burrowing back into the sand.

Synaptid Sea Cucumbers (Family Synaptidae)
I used to be able to find several Synaptid Sea Cucumbers (Family Synaptidae) on my trips here, but today, I only found one.

Holothuria scabra
We saw a few Sandfish Sea Cucumbers (Holothuria scabra) too.

Stichopus horrens
There was also a Dragonfish Sea Cucumber (Stichopus horrens), which previously I had only seen on Semakau.

Archaster typicus
While there were probably hundreds of dead Sand-sifting Sea Stars (Archaster typicus), there were just as many, if not more, living and healthy-looking ones.

Astropecten Sea Star
And this was also my first time seeing a Sand Star (Astropecten sp.) on this shore too! And this one was quite big, about the same size as a Sand-sifting Sea star!

Portunus pelagicus
The Flower Crabs (Portunus pelagicus) appeared to be not that badly affected too, and I saw many of them, including the two above.

Thalamita crenata
Apart from the Flower Crab, the other swimming crabs, such as the Crenate Swimming Crab (Thalamita crenata) above, appeared to be doing fine also.

Ocypode ceratophthalma
The Horned Ghost Crabs (Ocypode ceratophthalma) were rather badly affected, and the few living ones we saw were somewhat coated with oil.

Ocypode sp.
And I finally managed to get some shots of this smaller Ghost Crab (Ocypode sp.)! Not sure what exact species it is, but so far I have only seen this at Tanah Merah.

Dotilla myctiroides
There were quite a few Soldier Crabs (Dotilla myctiroides) on the higher shore, but they all appeared rather stress out.

Clibanarius infraspinatus
The Orange Striped Hermit Crabs (Clibanarius infraspinatus) appeared to be doing fine too.

Penaeid Prawn (Family Penaeidae)
There were many Penaeid Prawns (Family Penaeidae) in the many tidal pools, all looking very active and healthy.

Angaria delphinus
The Dolphin Snails (Angaria delphinus) appeared rather lethargic though, probably affected by the oil stains on the rocks.

Sea Hare (Order Anaspidea
I was quite happy to find a Sea Hare (Order Anaspidea) here! Still not sure what species this is though.

Bamboo Clams (Family Solenidae
We saw many dead Bamboo Clams (Family Solenidae) before we finally found the one above which was still alive, but barely.

Gymnothorax reevesii
Near the sea wall, I spotted this Brown-spotted moray (Gymnothorax reevesii) in a hole, with two little White-spotted Rabbitfish (Siganus canaliculatus) hiding below its head.

Sole Fish (Family Soleidae)
There was a Sole Fish (Family Soleidae) on the sand in the tidal pool too, and it was really hard to spot as it blended in so well with the sand.

I also saw this rather huge grouper which I wasn't sure of the ID, and too lazy to check my books now. Haha...

There were lots of other fishes trapped in the tidal pools, but being not too much of a fish person, I did not really take many photos.

And lastly, moving on to plants, there were a few nice patches of seagrass, which appeared to be doing ok.

Now that the authorities had cleaned up most of the oil slick, I do hope these survivors will continue to survive and do well.

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