08 June 2015

Terumbu Pempang Tengah in the rain

A rainy trip on a reefy grassy submerged reef near the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom.
How nice to come across some areas with special corals such as these Acropora corals.


Possibly due to the rain, some of the corals were producing strings of mucus or slime. Snotty corals.
It has been very hot lately, which makes us worry about coral bleaching. So we also checked for this during our trip. 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.
from the NOAA Coral Reef Watch website.

Fortunately, most of the hard and soft corals I saw seemed alright.
Only a few of the corals were bleaching, like this Anemone hard coral.
Here's some of the other colonies I saw that were bleaching. Most of the hard corals I saw were alright.
There was a nice large patch (about 10m x 4m) of branching Montipora corals. They were mostly alright though most of those in the middle appeared dead. The patch seemed to be in better health when I saw this on our last visit here in Sep 2014.
Just before the tide turned, the sun came out making it easier for me to take underwater photos near the reef edge. Here, there were some large coral colonies.
Including some mushroom corals.
There were a variety of soft corals too. Most of the large Leathery soft corals were alright, although some of the Asparagus flowery soft corals and Spiky flowery soft corals were rather yellowish.
I saw one Leathery sea fan. I wonder why I usually only see one colony of this on each trip.
There were all kinds of colourful sponges too, creating a surreal underwater landscape.
I saw a cushion star. Jianlin found another one too.
There were many Magnificent sea anemones, all looking rather sad in the scrunched up in the rain. I saw one tiny anemone fish in one, but couldn't take a good photo of it. Mei Lin found one Fluted giant clam, possibly a new one.
As with our recent trips to other nearby Terumbus, there was a coating of scum on many parts of the shore.
The seagrasses on this Terumbu seemed to be faring better, although much are also covered with epiphytes. I saw patches of Spoon seagrass with small leaves, and with large leaves.
Also some Sickle seagrass and even some clumps of longish Tape seagrass.
Although it was raining on the mainland as we returned, we didn't see a 'brown flood' of sediments emerging into the sea, as we usually do. I'm not sure what changed upstream. But this is good news. Today, I didn't see any fishing nets or traps, but Jianlin spotted one fish trap.
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 Developmentreleased 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 thepossible impact of the 2030 Landuse Plan on our shores.
Click on image for larger view.
Click on image for larger view.
Let's hope these beautiful reefs will be spared this fate.

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