|Safe and sound, but not very dry, at dawn on Cyrene.|
As usual, we are greeted by lots of Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) when we arrive! What is special about the Knobblies on Cyrene is that we find many small ones here. According to the Star Trackers, Cyrene probably has the largest population of these Endangered sea stars, and the only one with a viable, reproducing population of these magnificent sea stars. An indeed, later in our trip, we did see many baby knobblies!
moon snail (Family Naticidae) that I've never seen before. Mei Lin did see something similar on Cyrene in Aug 10. I'm not sure what it is, but it sure is pretty!
Olive snail (Family Olividae), the Pink moon snail (Natica zonalis). And we also saw many Oval moon snails (Polinices mammila) and sand collars. We also saw plenty of Fan shells (Family Pinnidae)! In the sandy areas, we also saw lots of Sand dollars (Arachnoides placenta) and Common sea stars (Archaster typicus).
Cyrene also has great seagrass meadows! Among the interesting animals we noticed was an explosion of tiny Swimming anemones (Boloceroides mcmurrichi)! I've seen this too before, at Chek Jawa in Oct 2010. In many ways, Cyrene is like the Chek Jawa of the South.
Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea) and Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni) I know are homes to anemone shrimps (Periclimenes brevicarpalis). Today, Chay Hoon pointed out that there were anemone shrimps in the Snaky sea anemone (Macrodactyla doreensis) too! The first time I've seen this.
the Anemone Hunt when Dr Daphne Fautin, the world expert on sea anemones, returns to Singapore in June. Hopefully, we can bring her to Cyrene again to have a look at the strange anemones we have been finding there.
Very long ribbon worm (Baseodiscus delineatus) is spotted! Although this worm wears pajamas, it is a fierce predator!
Synaptid sea cucumbers (Family Synaptidae) are seasonally common in our seagrass meadows. We also saw some Black long sea cucumbers (Holothuria leucospilota) and a Garlic bread sea cucumbers (Holothuria scabra).
Lovenia heart urchins (Lovenia sp.)! So far, Cyrene is the shore where I've seen this strange burrowing urchin most often.
White sea urchin (Salmacis sp.) which have the habit of 'carrying' bits and pieces and are thus very well camouflaged. They carry all kinds of things from living zoanthids, to dead shells and even bits of seagrasses and seaweeds. I first noticed them coming into season on Cyrene in March.
'penis-fencing'. Here's Kok Sheng's awesome video of this gruesome duel. Today we also saw many different kinds of sap-sucking slugs (Order Sacoglossa) that are also solar powered.
sidegill slugs (Pleurobranchus forskalii). They are not nudibranchs. I don't often see these slugs!
egg ribbons nearby. Did these slugs lay these egg ribbons? As the slugs are hermaphrodites, did each lay one ribbon? So much more to learn about our marine life!
octopus in broad daylight. Even after he pointed it out, I had trouble seeing the entire animal!
sand diver (Family Trichonotidae). This is the second time we saw this fish just as we were about to depart!
swimming crabs (Family Portunidae) and some other interesting shrimps.
Blue-spotted fantail rays (Taeniura lymma) zooming away from us.
Leathery soft corals (Family Alcyoniidae) on Cyrene seem to have recovered from bleaching. I also saw many healthy Asparagus flowery soft corals (Family Nephtheidae).
Dredging is now ongoing very close to Cyrene Reef.
On the other side of the "Industrial Triangle" are the massive industrial installations of Pulau Bukom, with large ships passing through the major shipping channels that skirt Cyrene. The third side of the Triangle is formed by the world-class container terminals at Pasir Panjang. Isn't it amazing that such a great reef can continue to exist in the middle of this Triangle?!
coral bleaching that hit Cyrene and many of our shores in 2010. More about coral bleaching on Bleach Watch Singapore. Today, I saw a wide variety of unbleached hard corals. Although the Flowery disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) I saw seemed rather pale and yellowish. It was good to see a healthy Cauliflower coral as these were badly affected by bleaching. The most common hard coral here were Favid corals (Family Faviidae).
plans to reclaim the portion of Jurong Island near Cyrene Reef and massive reclamation is ongoing at nearby Pasir Panjang for a new container terminal. Hopefully, these will not affect Cyrene too badly.
As usual, we arrived safely with the kind support of Francis, Melvin and the crew of the Dolphin. Here we are making landfall at dawn.
Ribbon jellyfish (Chrysaora sp.) in the water, so it's a good thing we were all wearing long pants to avoid being painfully stung by them.
More about Cyrene Reef!
Other posts about this trip
- Tony shares on his blog more photos and video clips!