Another predawn trip, this time with the Giant Clam team to check out Terumbu Pempang Tengah, a submerged reef near the refineries on Pulau Bukom. We arrive well before dawn and enjoyed a spectacular sunrise.
'Tengah' means middle in Malay and indeed it is in between two large submerged reefs. This is only our third time visiting the reef, our previous trips were in May 2011 and Jul 2010. There are so many shores and so few low tides that we often can only visit each of our spectacular reefs only once a year!
We're here today to have a look at the wild Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa) found on our reefs. Mei Lin and Kareen are doing work to propagate these fascinating large animals and hopefully replenish the populations on our shores. Here Mei Lin (aka Giant Clam Girl) is sharing with Jose, who is now working as an intern at Straits Times and will be writing about her project. Look out for his article soon!
Cushion star (Culcita novaeguineae) that has yet to reach its full Cushionhood. She shares that the ones she sees diving are almost spherical. It looks like a rock from above and it's sea star features are more obvious when we look at the underside. Oh dear, when we turned this over, it sprung a leak with a jet of water streaming out of the side, where it ought not to. Hopefully, it will heal soon.
White rumped sea cucumbers (Actinopyga lecanora), identified by the white ring around their butts.
Magnificent anemone (Heteractis magnifica). Alas, we couldn't find any anemone fishes in it.
Estuarine moray eel (Gymnothorax tile).
Diamond tuskfish (Halichoeres dussumieri). Ever since I got bitten trying to save one of these fishes I don't handle stranded fishes with bare hands anymore!
Heart cockle (Corculum cardissa)! We rarely see this strange bivalve.
photos of it in the wild.
Montipora corals (Montipora sp.)!
Acropora coral (Acropora sp.) that was quite healthy and forming into a table. There were also many other stumpy branched ones, and several with ridges on the branches.
Straits Times! Also listed on wildsingapore news. His article explains why this year's mass spawning event is particularly important.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) that are not cropped short or bleaching. There were also sprinkles of small Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis) on the sandy areas. And surprisingly, some Spoon seagrass with large leaves too. I also saw some patches of Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii).
MORE predawn trips, tomorrow we head over to Kusu Island.
Update: Jose wrote a great article about Mei Lin's work on giant clams for the Straits Times!
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