27 June 2017

Living reefs at Terumbu Bemban

Terumbu Bemban has among the best reefs in Singapore!
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2017
Our last survey here was in Apr 2016, before the peak of mass coral bleaching. Today, I did not see mass coral bleaching, although I sense about 20% of the hard corals have died and some individual corals are pale or have bleaching patches.

There are amazing corals on Terumbu Bemban, even though it is close to where many large ships are anchored and to industrial areas like Pulau Bukom and Jurong Island.
Here's a glimpse at some of this shore.
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2017
Some special corals I saw today included Galaxy corals, Carnation corals, Ridged plate coral, Branching anchor coral   Branching horn coral. But I did not see some of the other special corals that I saw on our last survey in Apr 2016. I also did not come across any giant clams.
I saw several large Tongue mushroom corals, and several Bracket mushroom corals, but only one Circular mushroom coral. They were not bleaching.
I saw several small Acropora corals including a rather large colony. And some Pebble corals too.
I saw a few Brain corals, most looked alright also some had dead portions.
I saw some other Disk corals including a few large colonies. They looked alright.
But many of the Flowery disk corals I saw were pale.
Many of the large corals on the higher ground were  Merulinid (previously Favid) corals. Most of them had dead portions, and some had small pale or bleaching patches.
Cauliflower coral and Crinkled sandpaper corals that I saw were alright, although some had large dead portions.
Most of the Anemone corals I saw were alright, but a few were bleaching.
Most of the Boulder pore corals were alright, but some were very pale and appear to be nearly dead.
I saw a few Asparagus flowery soft corals and they looked alright.
I saw many Leathery soft corals and they all seemed alright.
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2017
There were spinkles of Spoon seagrass, and cropped Tape seagrass.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides)
The Sargassum seaweeds are still present, and rather bushy on the side facing the Live Firing Islands. This is well outside the Sargassum bloom season. Is this a sign of increased nutrients? From the nearby fish farm?
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2017
I didn't see any nets or traps on the high shore. But this sandy patch clear of rubble suggests a recent boat strike.
Boat strike on Terumbu Bemban
Let's hope this beautiful little reef stays safe until we get to survey again.

Photos by others on this trip
Others on this trip: Nicholas Yap, Colin Koh.

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