25 October 2011

Neptune's cup discovered in Singapore!

Feared to be globally extinct, the discovery of this fabulous sponge is featured in the latest issue of My Green Space published by NParks.
Karenne Tun and Eugene Goh share more about this exciting discovery!

Karenne and Eugene share that " the Neptune’s Cup sponge was first seen in Singapore waters in 1822. According to historical records, the Neptune’s Cup sponge was common during the time of Sir Stamford Raffles, An account by a British official in 1830 said “those gigantic sponges” were brought to them “in great numbers.” However, the Neptune’s Cup sponge population declined rapidly in our waters, and was last sighted in the 1870s. It seemed to also have disappeared from other coastal waters too – it was last collected off Bantam in West Java, Indonesia, in 1908. This led many scientists to believe that sponge had become extinct globally."

How exciting then, that "in March 2011, during a routine survey dive, marine biologists from DHI Water & Environment (S) Pte Ltd encountered a unique-looking sponge off Singapore’s southern islands. It was later identified by Singapore’s sponge expert, Mr Lim Swee Cheng, as a young Neptune’s Cup sponge."

This is one of the old photos of the awesome sponge that fires the imagination and search for it in our waters!
Read more about this sponge in the latest issue of My Green Space!

This edition of My Green Space also has an article by Lee Yen-Ling about the recent Sea Anemone Workshop conducted by Dr Daphne Fautin.
As Yen-Ling shared, "Remarkably, Singapore has twice as many species of sea anemones as can be found on a stretch of the Eastern Pacific shoreline from Vancouver to San Diego. At last count, Dr Fautin found that Singapore has 50 species – and she is still counting. This exceeded her expectation, especially considering that this country has few natural shores left. As she reiterated many times during the workshop: “I came here this time hopefully to complete the cataloguing of sea anemone species in Singapore, but it seems that I am getting further and further from completion. The volunteers keep showing me new records of species, and so my work is not done!”

Yen-Ling's article sure brings back memories of the last Anemone Hunts!

There's so much more to discover about Singapore's marine life!!

More about Singapore sponges and sea anemones on the wild fact sheets.

See also 'Extinct' sponge back from the dead by Grace Chua Straits Times 16 Nov 11;

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