24 November 2011

Cyrene at high water with TeamSeagrass

Stormy weather and high water don't deter TeamSeagrass from checking up Cyrene Reef! We landed when the tide was still quite high! And ominous rain clouds gathered above us.
Fortunately, the rain stayed away. And we saw lots of interesting marine life after our monitoring session.

Jason spotted this small Geographic sea hare (Syphonota geographica) as we were heading for our site. It's my first time seeing it on Cyrene, although Meillin did spot it earlier here in August. We notice that it could swim in the water!
We also saw several Grey bonnet snails (Phalium glaucum) wandering about on the sandy shore in the high water. This one had tube worm tubes all over it. Was it eating them? Hmmm.
And this little snail creeping on the sand is a kind of Creeper snail (Family Cerithidae) with elegant bands that is commonly seen on many of our shores. It too seems to be clumped over some tube worm tubes.
Yi Shyuan spotted this carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) and it had an anemone shrimp. Later on I saw this Frilly sea anemone (Phymanthus sp.) that is often found in sandy areas.
There were lots of White sea urchins (Salmacis sp.) and we saw some Pink thorny sea urchins (Prionocidaris sp.) too. We usually only see these echinoderms on our Northern shores like Chek Jawa and seldom on our Southern shores. Cyrene is echinoderm heaven and in many ways, like the Chek Jawa of the South.
Marcus found a tiny baby Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammilatus). Good to know this sea star, a new record for Singapore first found on Cyrene Reef, is reproducing here.
Of course, there were lots of Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus). They seem to be gathered together in large numbers on the northern edge facing the Pasir Panjang Container Terminal. And lots of Common sea stars (Archaster typicus), some were in mating position, and there were small ones too. I'm constantly amazed at the marvellous marine life found in this submerged reef in the middle of the Industrial Triangle!
Jason pointed out this pair of Brahminy kites resting on the rocky areas while we were monitoring. My sneaky camera is not strong enough to take a good photo of them. Hmmm. It seems these birds do rest on our submerged reefs. In May, a Brahminy kite landed right next to me at Terumbu Pempang Tengah, a submerged reef off Pulau Hantu. How interesting.
Jason also spotted a Black tipped reef shark as we were leaving in high water of the incoming tide!

The seagrasses, however, seemed a little sparse. The Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides) especially were not doing too well. Most were still short and chomped. But today, we didn't see any dredging near Cyrene. More about the seagrass situation today on the TeamSeagrass blog.

More about Cyrene Reef.

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