Here's the glorious sunrise in its early stages, with the city skyline, a huge container ship and the container terminals. Cyrene lies in the middle of the industrial triangle and yet it has amazing marine life!
Grey bonnet snail (Phalium glaucum) ambling about on the shore. This snail feeds on sand dollars, and is rarely seen elsewhere though common on Cyrene. Later on, we also spot the Japanese bonnet snail (Semicassia bisulcatum).
heart urchin (Lovenia sp.), lots of little Swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi) and other small critters. The area is also dotted with Chocolate sponges (Spheciospongia cf. vagabunda) and Fan shell clams (Family Pinnidae). Also of course, lots of seagrasses and various kinds of seaweeds.
Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis)! Not very common elsewhere, but quite regularly encountered on Cyrene. Among the other anemone-like critters spotted by the team were zoanthids or colonial anemones (Order Zoanthidea) which contain palytoxin which is among the most potent natural marine toxins; Cerianthids (Order Ceriantharia), also called Peacock anemones because of their colourful variety, and the shy Wiggly star anemone (which remains unidentified though it is quite common).
Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus). Not just large adults but also some tiny babies. Joanne found one that was very well camouflaged among the seagrasses. According to the Star Trackers, "the presence of juveniles, subadults and adults indicated that there is a healthy level of recruitment at Cyrene Reef. This habitat may be the only sustainable population of knobbly seastars left in Singapore today". Among the Knobblies was the special Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammilatus) that was first seen on Cyrene and is a new record for Singapore.
Cake sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta). Also many Common sea stars (Archaster typicus), including a pair in mating position! The higher portions of the sand bar are dotted with signs of Sand bubbler crabs (Scopimera sp.). Not to forget the intriguing sand coils made by Acorn worms (Class Enteropneusta). The presence of such marine life shows that the sand is clean.
White sea urchins (Salmacis sp) that carry things. So they are rather hard to spot. 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.
Fan seaweed (Avrainvillea sp.) with tiny Strawberry slugs (Costasiella sp.) on it. I couldn't take a photo of the slugs with feeble Swimming Camera so here's an old photo I took of the slugs.
Marine spider (Desis martensi) crawling on the corals!
flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae) and other reef animals.
leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae), rather smaller than usual following the mass coral bleaching event in 2010.
Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.). These were among the first to bleach during the mass coral bleaching event in 2010.
hairy crab (Family Pilumnidae) that looks fluffy so we sometimes call it the 'Teddybear crab', a pair of Flower crabs (Portunus pelagicus) mating, lots of hermit crabs large and small. Resembling tiny lobsters, we saw and heard snapping shrimps (Family Alpheidae). We saw several scary bristleworms (Class Polychaeta), nice feathery fanworms (Family Sabellidae).
As we were leaving CE MPA stopped by to chat with Siti who was on Cyrene for her seagrass experiment. She shared more about her work and the seagrasses on Cyrene as well as elsewhere in Singapore.
talk I gave to MPA last month. And a big thank you to CE MPA and all the MPA staff who made time to come, and put up with my lame jokes and spotted so many great things on our trip!
Joanne Fang shares some wonderful photos of our trip on facebook.
Here's some posts and photos shared of Cyrene by volunteers who were on the shore together with Siti. I'm so sorry I didn't have time to take better photos today.
- Rick on facebook
More about Cyrene Reef.