07 September 2010

Wacky corals growing in our marinas

A strange form of Disk coral has been seen growing at the SAF Yacht Club -- it appears to have arms, unlike the more usual forms taken by disk corals.
A paper by Prof Chou Loke Ming Chou and Lionel Ng Chin Soon describes this strange colony of Turbinaria peltata seen growing there: "Protruding from almost opposite sides near the exterior base of the typical cup were two slender elongated ‘arms’, one bearing a single polyp and the other, three polyps near the apex. Both branches were as tall as the cup itself. This has not been seen in any other Turbinaria peltata colonies both in the natural reefs and non-reef environment of Singapore."

What is going on?

Find out in their paper on Nature in Singapore: Chou, L. M. & L. C. S. Ng, 2010. Atypical morphology of Turbinaria peltata from a Singapore non-reefal environment. Nature in Singapore, 3: 217–219. [PDF, 266 KB]

What intrigues me even more is to learn that this coral was found growing on "a seven-year old sloping granite seawall" and that "based on a survey conducted in Feb.2010, the marina’s inner seawall was colonised by more than 50 species of scleractinians (hard corals)". Wow!
I've never been to look at the SAF Yacht Club, yet.

But I have seen stunning marine life growing at other marinas. The Raffles Marina at Tuas has some amazing marine life growing on their pontoons.
Closer to the city, Marina at Keppel Bay has some awesome stuff too! In fact, the Marina has a section on their website entitled City Reefs highlighting some of the marine life there. This includes a sea turtle!
Many of the photos on the Marina website were taken, at the request of the Marina, by Debby and volunteers of the Hantu Bloggers who dived there several times to document their marine life. I also helped take photos from out of water. Here's my photos taken at Marina at Keppel Bay on flickr.
Various sea fans
I am particularly enchanted by the variety of sea fans and soft corals that are found at the Marina!

Sadly, the marine life at the Marina, like many of our Southern reefs were badly hit by the recent coral bleaching event. Well, hopefully they will recover as it seems the worst of bleaching is over, at least for Singapore. More about bleaching in Singapore.

Low tide trips resume tomorrow and we're checking up on both the oil spill and coral bleaching effects on some of our shores. Let's hope for the best.

More links
More wacky marine life in unexpected places in this post about the government-funded feasibility study to develop a "colourful, vibrant seascape" on Singapore's sea walls, jetties and piers!

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