Every day between the high and low tides, a coastal zone emerges from the water along Singapore’s shores.
These calm, shallow lagoons — known as intertidal zones — reveal a range of marine life: from sea stars to sea urchins; anemones to snails; and sea cucumbers to shrimp.
These areas along Changi Beach, Sisters Island, and Chek Jawa have become even more popular recently as we flock outdoors to explore nature close to home.
Intertidal zones are rich in life because of the nutrients from both land and sea. They are home to a variety of ecosystems with some life more active at high tide, and others at low tide. Yet, because of the waves, rain, and predators from both land and sea, intertidal zones are also one of the harshest natural environments to live in. Over time, though, intertidal aquatic life has adapted to live in these conditions, and thrive there.
But #YouShouldKnow that there are some things that marine life cannot endure. Intertidal organisms need our help to stay alive. Huge crowds trampling over sea grass or shores can upset the marine habitats. Many animals become distressed and are less likely to survive when poked, prodded, picked up, and removed from their natural habitats. When stressed, the pink wart sea cucumber and sea apple sea cucumber expel toxic substances. Starfish can be stressed by rain or freshwater — things outside their natural habitats — and will detach their arms. Anemones will die when uprooted from the water. And trying to wrench soft invertebrates from rocks can hurt or kill them.
While our intertidal zones are beautiful, they are also the homes of marine and aquatic life. So like any good house guest, let’s take care when exploring the intertidal zones in Singapore. Take nothing but photos, respect the environment, and do our part to protect the fragile biodiversity.