02 April 2010

Cyrene Reef with TeamSeagrass

Another early morning trip, this time to Cyrene Reefs with TeamSeagrass!
Cyrene is a submerged reef surrounded on three sides: by the heavy industries on Jurong Island (in photo above), the huge refineries of Pulau Bukom, and our world-class container terminals. Despite this, it has one of the best seagrass meadows in Singapore!

Here's the Pulau Bukom refineries off Cyrene Reef's seagrass meadows in the early dawn.
There is little flaring at the Bukom refinery. Not as huge as the one I saw the day before when I was at Labrador.
After the monitoring, we had a quick look around Cyrene. Besides seagrasses, Cyrene also has vast sandbars teeming with Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) and Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta).
And some spots are crowded with big Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus).
These sea stars come in all shapes and colours. One in the water was really fat and bloated. Perhaps it ate a lot? While another was pale and somewhat bluish.
One of the sea stars had lost an arm. A sea star can purposely drop off an arm if it feels stressed. This is why we should never pick up a sea star by its arm or dangle it about by its arm. In fact, we should try not to touch sea stars to avoid stressing them.
Cyrene is also ringed with reefs! And the seagrasses grow right into the reefs. There are all kinds of hard and soft corals here, with seagrasses poking out among them.
It was a blue blue sky day and a great time to take some landscape photos. There are fascinating living reefs even though it is just infront of our world class container terminals!
With some really huge leathery soft corals! Here's one with Jurong Island in the background.
Humungous ships pass by Cyrene Reef all the time as it lies smack in the middle of our port.
Among the animals I chanced upon, was a Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) among the seagrasses. Cyrene is so far the only site in the South where I have often encountered these anemones.
And I saw a really huge moon snail sand collar that's half the size of my foot! A sand collar is the egg mass of the moon snail. The mama snail creates it by using her large foot to mix sand with mucus and eggs to form a plastic-like coil around her spherical shell. Imagine how huge the moon snail mama must be to have made this sand collar!
Sean and Jocelyn also saw the special Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammilatus)! This sea star was first spotted on Cyrene and turned out to be a new record for Singapore. Marcus also saw a cushion star (Culcita novaeguineae).

On the way home, we saw continuing signs of work on the massive new container terminal at Pasir Panjang next to the last mainland reef at Labrador. There was a barge piled with sand being pushed towards the reclamation area.
And the long line of the huge reclamation works continue to take shape.
As we approached Labrador Park, we notice some kind of dredging going on near Berlayar Creek which has mangroves and also a little sandy shore.
Here's a model of the work site from the table top model at the URA Master Plan exhibition.The project is so large that it is likely to impact Cyrene Reefs as well.The work site (in green) in relation to Cyrene Reefs (highlighted in yellow).

Let's hope all these works don't permanently affect the marvellous marine life on the nearby shores of Labrador, Cyrene Reefs and Sentosa. That's why monitoring work by TeamSeagrass is important, to keep a watch on the situation.

Other posts about this trip

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