I'm delighted to be on Cyrene this morning on a trip organised by NParks for an enthusiastic team from URA led by CEO URA.
We start before dawn. Before we leave, Jim gives a briefing about Cyrene using the awesome GIS maps that Rachel and her team have done. He explains how Cyrene lies in the middle of the industrial triangle.
Dredging has been going on near Cyrene for some months now.
Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus)!
False clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and its home is the Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea).
Remarkable sea cucumber (Holothuria notabilis) which I usually see buried in clean sand. I first saw this at Cyrene. I have since also seen on other northern and southern shores.
White sea urchin (Salmacis sp.) which fascinates everyone. This sea urchin is more common on our northern shores like Chek Jawa and seldom seen on our southern shores. Indeed, I consider Cyrene the Chek Jawa of the South.
Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). Many of them with a pair of nearly transparent anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis).
Grey bonnet snails (Phalium glaucum). These snails eat sand dollars, which of course, are found in the sand banks...haha...lame marine joke.
Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) that are plentiful here. Marcus has observed this behaviour earlier in May.
Tun snail (Family Tonnidae) which is now occupied by a hermit crab. I've not (yet) seen a live Tun snail on Cyrene. But the dead shell is promising! More reasons to go back and look at Cyrene more carefully!
Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis), although it didn't look very snaky out of water.
Common sea stars (Archaster typicus), the Black long sea cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota), Big synaptid sea cucumber (Family Synaptidae) and Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra). Jim found the humungous Forskal's sidegill slugs (Pleurobranchus forskali) and I saw a Starry flatworm (Pseudobiceros stellae). We saw many different swimming crabs, noticed many kinds of shorebirds and all kinds of other animals. We had a brief look at the reefy parts, which remains rather desolate, possibly due to the effects of coral bleaching last year. Today I saw many patches of burnt and bleaching seagrasses, although some parts seem ok. Hopefully, the data gathered by TeamSeagrass on Cyrene will help give us a better idea of what is going on.
Fortunately, by the time the weather turned wet, we were more or less done with looking at Cyrene. It only started to rain in earnest when we reached the mainland.
With so many sharp-eyed people, we sure found many special animals today. I had a great time exploring Cyrene! Thanks to NParks for inviting me to come along. And also thanks to Mr Ng Lang who very kindly treated us to breakfast after that!
More about Cyrene Reef.