22 April 2015

Checking up on Giant clams at Pulau Jong

Back on Pulau Jong with the Clam Team of Dr Neo Mei Lin and Ambert Ang to check on Giant clams here. Thanks for letting us come along!
Pulau Jong is among our last untouched islands. This is what our Southern islands looked like before they were reclaimed. For example, the Sisters Islands, Pulau Hantu, St. John's Island and more.


We arrived at first light. Mei Lin kindly lights our way to a safe landing.
It has been very hot lately, which makes us worry about coral bleaching. Here's the latest Bleaching Alert Areas from the NOAA website. Singapore falls in the 'Watch' status.What is coral bleaching and why this is of concern on the Bleach Watch Singapore blog.
There are humungous leathery soft corals at Pulau Jong.
Most of the leathery soft corals were alright, though some had yellowish edges and a few small clumps were bright yellow and starting to 'melt' and break up into smaller clumps.
The most abundant hard coral on the intertidal flats were large boulder shaped Pore corals. Most of them were a pale brown (instead of a darker brown), but none were bleaching.
Although a few of the small Favid coral colonies were bleaching, most were alright. Other common corals such as Cauliflower coral, branching Montipora coral were also alright.
There were a few Disk corals, most of them were alright, but one large colony was very pink.
The Goniopora corals were mostly alright.
I saw two of these small Plate montipora corals and they seemed alright. In fact, I saw more corals hard and soft, bleaching on our last trip to Pulau Jong in Jul 2014.
The Leathery sea fan is still there and looking alright. The rest of the team also found the uncommon Merten's carpet anemone which was doing well. I saw some Frilly sea anemones which were also doing well.
The Mama Fluted giant clam that the Giant clam team came to check was doing quite well. She is huge! Mei Lin shares more about why this clam is special to her and more about Giant clams on her blog.
We also found another Giant clam that we have not seen before! Wow. For more about Giant clams, check out Mei Lin's awesome blog.
This is a pair of Spider conch snails! There is another one behind the one with a yellowish shell. I spotted its eyes and green body in the photo! Ambert also saw another pair together. Is it Conch Mating season? So much more to learn and discover about our shores.
Today was quite a fishy day! I saw this Peacock sole. It was lying very still. I soon realised it was dead.
We have to watch where we step as there are many small Blue-spotted fantail rays in the shallow pools left behind at low tide.
This Seagrass filefish stayed very still and I almost missed it as it doesn't look anything like a fish!
There were schools of little Chequered cardinalfish. Also many other fishes that zoomed about too quickly for me to photograph.
I love the little clumps of colourful seaweeds that dot the rocks.
I saw clumps of seaweed that were bleaching, and some that were completely covered in scum. I'm not sure what is going on. There were sparse patches of Sickle seagrass and they seemed alright.
Here's a pretty pink seaweed that I don't see often. I don't know what it is.
When we arrived before sunrise, there was massive flaring going on at the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom.
Here's a view of the petrochemical plants in daylight. Although the flaring is no longer going on, large clouds of emission hang over the chimneys there.
I looked and couldn't find any of the large fish traps that we used to find here on all our previous trips. Except for one, which was already cut open. But we did see some floats in the water that look like they marked a submerged fish trap.
Pulau Jong lies along the Jong Fairway, a busy shipping channel. It is also near the Pasir Panjang Container Terminals.
Pulau Jong is amongthe existing natural shores that may be impactedby the Land Use Plan following the Population White Paper. Others include Pulau Hantu, Terumbu Pempang Darat, Terumbu Pempang Tengah and Terumbu Semakau.
I realise I seldom take a nice photo of Alex's boat and the dinghy that get us to and from these reefs safely. Without his experience and his crew, we would not be able to make these trips with such ease.
Wow, I didn't know my camera could take selfies until Mei Lin took one. We all sure look surprised!
It was great to spend time with the Giant clam team, and a relief to know there isn't much bleaching at Pulau Jong. Let's hope all the great marine life there stay safe.

Posts by others on this trip

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