09 September 2014

Terumbu Pempang Tengah check up

Our last predawn trip to a submerged reef for the year. We check up on the reefs on Terumbu Pempang Tengah with flaring going on at the petrochemical plants at Pulau Bukom nearby.
We check for coral bleaching and encounter interesting marine life.



False clown anemonefishes not only live with large sea anemones (like this Giant carpet anemone) but need to be close to their host for protection. At low tide, the fishes are sometimes stranded in pools near their anemone. When the tide returns the fishes will hurry back into the safety of their  host's tentacles.
I only saw one small Magnificent anemone. I could not find any fishes or shrimps living in it.
I also came across a tiny Fire anemone.
There were lots of large Spotted black flatworms. This flatworm was next to a False scorpionfish. The rest of the team also spotted Frogfishes.
Something zipped past in a pool of water.
It turned out to be a Swimming file clam.
I came across a large patch of Branching montipora corals. It was too dark to take a photo of the full extent of this patch.
Most of the corals I saw were Favid corals. Only one or two were very pale. Most looked healthy.
I saw two bleaching Disk corals.
The Anemone corals and Small goniopora corals that I saw were not bleaching.
During the last mass coral bleaching in 2010, among the first to bleach were Crinkled sandpaper corals and  Cauliflower corals. Those I saw today were not bleaching.
Most of the Pore hard corals I saw were not bleaching although one was bluish.
In some parts of the shore, it appears that some large corals are being buried in sand. I wonder where the sand came from?
All the Asparagus flowery soft corals that I saw were purplish but had yellowish tips. I saw many large Leathery soft corals and they were alright.
This Leathery sea fan is not often seen and usually only one colony. I'm glad to see it's not bleaching.
All the Tape seagrass I saw were cropped short to about 15cm. There were also patches of Spoon seagrass, most of them heavily covered in epiphytes. I also saw patches of Sickle seagrass.
There were lots of swimming crabs as well as Smooth spooner crabs and Hairy crabs. Today, we didn't come across any fish traps. I could only cover a small part of the Eastern side of this large submerged reef. My last trip here was in Apr 2013 where I surveyed the western side of the reef.

At sunrise, it was time to leave as the tide turned.
This submerged reef is close to Jurong Island, all lit up on the horizon. Major shipping lanes also lie next to the reef.
Here's the location of the submerged reef we visited today. 'Tengah' means 'middle' in Malay, while 'Laut' means 'seaward' and 'Darat' means 'landward'. These beautiful submerged reefs may be affected by reclamation in the future. The 2030 Landuse Plan by the Ministry of National Development released in Jan 2013 shows plans for 'possible future reclamation' (in light blue surrounded by dotted lines) that may impact Terumbu Pempang Darat and Terumbu Pempang Tengah. More about the possible impact of the 2030 Landuse Plan on our shores.
Click on images for larger view.
Let's hope these beautiful reefs will be spared this fate.

Posts by others on this trip

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