Kusu Island has amazing reefs and is one of the few locations where it is possible to take this kind of photo. A foreground of rich reefs with the city skyline on the horizon.
It was well before dawn when the small team first arrived, the lights of the city bright on the horizon.
Galaxy corals (Galaxea sp.).
Anemone corals (Goniopora sp.). At low tide, all the polyps are retracted. But when submerged, the large polyps emerge and give the colony the appearance of a sea anemone.
Blue-spotted fantail rays (Taeniura lymma).
Giant carpet anemones (Stichodactyla gigantea). They were almost immediately immobilised and the anemone gently folded over them. Today, we couldn't find any clown anemonefishes in any of the large anemones.
Magnificent anemones (Heteractis magnifica). They don't look too happy out of water at low tide, but are truly magnificent when submerged.
Leathery anemone (Heteractis crispa) is still where I last saw it. This sea anemone is not very commonly seen on our shores.
Carpet corallimorphs (Order Corallimorpharia) producing strange white stuff. I still have no idea what is going on.
Saron shrimps (Family Hippolytidae)!
Barrel sponges (Xestospongia testudinaria), festooned with red feather stars.
red feather stars, I also saw one that was brown with white bands.
In 1900-1930, the temple on Kusu Island was surrounded by water at high tide. Kusu Island is also known as 'Turtle Island'. Some accounts say that the island originally comprised two portions which resembled a sea turtle with a larger part resembling the shell and a smaller portion the turtle's head emerging from the sea. Kusu Island was originally 1.2 ha. In 1975, there was massive reclamation "to join it with another coral outcrop, making a 8.5ha island resort" More about the history of Kusu Island on the Singapore Celebrates our Reefs blog.
I only came across a few corals that were bleaching. Jocelyne also saw one that was producing slime. Let's hope the reefs don't experience coral bleaching this year!
NOAA Coral Reef Watch site, there seems to already be coral bleaching in the northern Philippines. The outlook for Singapore seems ok for now.
Tomorrow, a heroic effort is planned to document the living reefs at Tanah Merah!
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