Here's a video of the mass coral bleaching I saw today.
NOAA's coral reef watch satellite monitoring, Singapore is in the blue Watch zone. It sure is taking a long time for our corals to recover. I hope they can recover before they die. Sigh.
What is coral bleaching?
Coral are colonies of tiny animals called polyps. Each polyp lives inside a little hard skeleton. The huge colony is made up of the skeletons of countless polyps. The polyps of all reef-building hard corals harbour microscopic, single-celled algae (called zooxanthellae). The polyp provides the zooxanthellae with shelter and minerals. The zooxanthellae carry out photosynthesis inside the polyp and share the food produced with the polyp. Corals generally have white colour skeletons, which is believed to assist in photosynthensis by reflecting light onto the zooxanthellae.
Cauliflower corals, Boulder pore corals, Branching Montipora corals, Merulinid corals. But I did not see any of these corals that I saw on our trip 2 months ago: Brain corals, Anemone corals, Small goniopora corals, Flowery disk corals or Asparagus flowery soft corals.
two months ago when we first observed mass coral bleaching this year on Cyrene Reef.
Haddon's carpet anemones I saw were not bleaching. I saw one bleaching Giant carpet anemone and another not bleaching. Russel saw one bleaching Snaky anemone. I didn't see any Frilly anemones. I didn't see any symbiotic fish or shrimps in the anemones.
White sea urchins that look like they were dying with spines falling off and large patches on their body bare of spines. I'm not sure if is just the end of their 'season' or a sign of something else.
Tape seagrasses. The base of the pool is now completely covered with lush growths of shorter species of seagrasses.
Jun 2009, with Jeff and Collin of NParks doing a survey of the abundant variety of fishesfound in the pool. Most of the seagrasses died out in May 2012, leaving the pool with bare sand. We first started seeing a recovery in Dec 2015. Let's hope the recovery continues and this pool returns to its former glory.
Another positive development, the huge crater near the reefy area that looks like it was cause by a boat striking the reef, is now starting to fill up with seagrasses.
Vermillion flatworm. The Slender pom-pom seaweeds are also abundant.
Knobbly sea stars remain abundant on Cyrene. Including small ones, which shows that the population on the reef is self sustaining. Common sea stars were also plentiful, many in 'mating position'.
High res photos of mass coral bleaching in Singapore for free download on wildsingapore flickr
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