16 December 2012

Cyrene with TeamSeagrass

Back with TeamSeagrass to monitor Cyrene, an amazing submerged reef in the middle of the industrial triangle.
Besides checking up on seagrasses, we also found some interesting creatures. Sadly, once again, we encounter 'flooding' at sea.

Before we started our monitoring, we have a quick look at the amazing Knobbly sea stars that are abundant on this reef. Among them was a yellow spotted Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammilatus).
Here's a closer look at the sea star which was first discovered on Cyrene Reef and is a new record for Singapore!
Alas, the Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) on Cyrene are all still cropped short, with ends that are brown or bleached.
Doesn't seem much better that what I saw in Aug 2012 below. Oh dear.
But there's still lots of seagrasses on Cyrene and I sense that there hasn't been any further deterioration, although the Tape seagrasses have not recovered fully yet.
We finished close to sunset so we didn't have much time to look around. But Chay Hoon and I did come across some interesting marine life.
Chay Hoon found this cute little crab that is very hairy. I have no idea what it is.
An interesting find was this black nudibranch with red edges on its body and foot. The presence of white spots suggests that it's probably Dendrodoris nigra, which I've seen before at Cyrene.
I found a Seagrass sea anemone that was much larger than those I've seen before. These pretty anemones have yet to be identified.
Chay Hoon found this Polka-dotted sea anemone which has yet to be identified. We have seen this animal on Cyrene as well as Changi.
It had been raining hard before our departure earlier in the day. So once again, we see massive runoff from the land into the sea. Sediments from the mainland colour the water brown, clearly seen against the blue of seawater.
Here's another view of the 'flood' of brown water all around the mainland. We encountered a similar situation during another wet trip to Cyrene last year Dec 2011. Sedimentation is bad for marine life as it clogs up delicate feeding and breathing parts, and blocks out the sunlight which many animals depend on, especially animals that harbour symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) which make food from sunlight and share the food with their animal hosts. These include corals.
Oh dear. Well, we are also monitoring seagrasses at Labrador and Berlayar Creek which lies within this brown zone. Hopefully, TeamSeagrass data will help us better manage such issues.

More about Cyrene Reef and some of the outreach work for the Reef. TeamSeagrass monitoring is an important aspect of this effort! Here's more about how ordinary people can join the Team.

Later today, our last low tide trip for the year, to a special part of Pulau Ubin.

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