28 February 2010

Semakau with TeamSeagrass

It's a hot HOT day out with TeamSeagrass at Pulau Semakau.
After our short monitoring session, we had a quick look as we walked back. Pulau Semakau has lots of interesting marine life!

Right on my transect line, I saw the Fire anemone (Actinodendron sp.) right next to our tape. As the common name suggests, it can sting badly. In fact many marine creatures can be unpleasant to touch, so as a general rule, we prefer NOT to touch anything.
The Upsidedown jellyfish (Cassiopea sp.) was seen next to another transect. It's quite commonly seen on Pulau Semakau and prefers to be upside down. This is because it harbours in its frilly arms, symbiotic algae that undergoes photosynthesis and shares the food produced with the jellyfish.
And here's another big animal that looks similar. It is the Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea). Alas, there were no 'Nemo's in this one.
Along the way, we also saw some other common anemones like the Haddon's carpet anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni) and the Frilly sea anemone (Phymanthus sp.).
And lots of hard corals of all kinds of shapes and colours. Pulau Semakau is one of the few places in Singapore where Sunflower mushroom corals (Heliofungia actiniformis) (lower left corner) are commonly seen.
In the pools of water were little animals like this fluffy Fan worm and a tiny Carnation hard coral (Pectinia sp.)
Another very common animal on Pulau Semakau is the pretty Noble volute (Cymbiola nobilis), here next to a green hard coral.
We saw a stranded Jorunna nudibranch (Jorunna funebris). It didn't revive when we put it back into the water. Perhaps the day had been too hot for it.
Also rather flat and crispy were two small sea cucumbers stranded out of the water. They revived somewhat in the water. I'm not sure if it's the Durian sea cucumber (Stichopus horrens) (which is quite common on Semakau) or something else altogether?
A Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) is spotted! It's a white one too! We can't resist taking a quick group shot with the sea star. It's important not to over-handle sea stars as they don't like being out of water, and they can purposely drop off their arms if they are stressed. So we gather around the sea star to take our photo, instead of picking it up. Here's more about why we shouldn't pick up sea stars. We also spot some patches of Common sea stars (Archaster typicus).
Charmaine spots this very well camouflaged Alligator pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus) as we are rushing back. Amazing! It looks just like a seagrass blade!
We also saw the White-orange black flatworm (Pseudobiceros uniarborensis), the White-rumped sea cucumber (Actinopyga lecanora) and the Garlic bread sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra).

Here's more about how to be a part of TeamSeagrass and more about Pulau Semakau.

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