May 10. Today, I hoped to check on how the reefs are doing after the coral bleaching event last year.
Terumbu Raya is a large submerged reef that lies very close to the natural shores of Pulau Semakau. Terumbu Raya has lots of interesting marine life and reefs packed with many interesting and rarely seen corals.
I decided to focus on the reef edge facing Pulau Semakau to see how the corals have survived coral bleaching. My last look at this portion of the reef was in Feb 09 so I didn't really see it during the bleaching event. More about coral bleaching on Bleach Watch Singapore.
Lettuce coral (Pavona sp.).
Moon corals (Diploastrea heliopora).
Bracket fungi corals. I don't often see these corals on other shores.
Euphyllid corals (Family Euphyllidae), albeit a small one. These corals were badly affected by coral bleaching.
Ringed plate coral (Pachyseris sp.). So far, I usually see these corals growing in deeper waters near the reef edge.
Ridged plate coral (Merulina sp.), forming cups or encrusting the rocks.
Carnation coral (Pectinia sp.) in pretty colours.
Acropora coral (Acropora sp.) that seemed unbleached.Pebble coral (Astreopora sp.) here. Some have white portions, or are in odd colours of pink and bright green. Most were brown.
Montipora corals (Montipora sp.)?
Mole mushroom corals (Polyphyllia sp.). One seemed to be bleached.
Favid corals (Family Faviidae).
Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.). All those I saw were not bleached.
Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.) here. Some still showed pale or white portions.
Brain corals (Family Mussidae), most seemed to be unbleached.
Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora sp.) in the shallower areas. The few I saw were not bleached.
Flowery disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) and many Ruffled disk corals (Turbinaria sp.).
Bubble tip anemones (Entacmea quadricolor). Many of them showed signs of bleaching. Even more disturbingly, I didn't see a single Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion frenatus) in any of them.
Pizza anemone (Cryptodendrum adhaesivum).
Giant sea anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea) and most had only a few very very tiny Clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris).
Merten's anemone (Stichodactyla mertensii)? There was a small anemonefish in it too.
Fire anemones (Actinodendron sp.). So it was not surprising to see one in the sandy area just before we left.
Zoanthids or colonial anemones (Order Zoanthidea) that were very white.
Barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinaria).
yellow prickly sponges (Pseudoceratina purpurea). These sponges contain powerful anti-cancer compounds.
Red feather star (Class Crinoidea)!
Black long-spined sea urchin (Diadema sp.) that I accidentally photographed!
Burrowing snake eel (Pisodonophis crancrivorous) soon after we landed, while the water was still high. It was quite unafraid of us and allowed us to get quite close to photograph it!
Tiger-tailed seahorse (Hippocampus comes)! Alas, today Alex and crew did not see any sea turtles or dolphins while waiting for us on the boat.
Brandon shared this awesome video clip of the marine life on Terumbu Raya!
We are glad, however, not to have come across any abandoned nets or fish traps. Although we didn't manage to survey the entire Terumbu.
Thankfully we had another day of clear weather, and a cool cloudy day too. Thanks also to Tang Ling and Wee Hock for contributing to the boat fare!
Tomorrow, it's back early in the morning to Cyrene for TeamSeagrass monitoring!
Other posts about this trip
- Russel on facebook with lovely photos of corals and of the burrowing snake-eel!