26 July 2017

Anemone hunt at Cyrene

Thanks to Nick for inviting me to join his students in an anemone hunt at Cyrene Reef.
Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)
We saw many anemones and other interesting marine life. I was glad to come across a patch of several Knobbly sea stars. Although these were not as numerous as in the past, it was a relief to see them as we did not see large numbers on our trips to Cyrene in May 2017 or Feb 2017.

Knobbly sea stars come in all kinds of colours and knob patterns. It was also nice to see some smaller Knobblies as it shows that babies are settling and growing on Cyrene.
Clara spotted one nice and healthy Pentaceraster sea star. On Cyrene, we also often see a kind of intermediate sea star between the Knobbly sea star and Pentaceraster sea star.
Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) and Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammillatus)
Here's a look at the underside. I'm still not sure what the intermediate sea star is.
Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) and Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammillatus)
The mission of our trip today was to take a closer look at these anemones. At first glance, they look like the Banded bead anemones commonly seen on our shores. But Nick had examined them and they are Heteranthus verruculatus or what I call the "Hat anemone".It has little bumps on the oral disk! Wow!
We also had a look at other anemones commonly seen on Cyrene. Giant carpet anemone, Haddon's carpet anemone, Mini carpet anemone. We also saw one Fire anemone, many Frilly anemones and one Peachia anemone. There were also some Banded bead anemones on the rocky shores.
We also came across many clusters of Reef murex obviously furiously laying egg capsules. Wow, I've never noticed this before.
We didn't really go to the reefy parts of Cyrene, but I did come across some hard corals near the seagrass meadows. There were Pore corals, many small Cauliflower corals and one Anemone coral. They were all not bleaching.
I also saw a few small Leathery soft corals, one Asparagus flowery soft coral with bright orange brittlestars, and many small Spiky flowery soft corals. They were all not bleaching.
Alas, we also came across large deep holes on Cyrene. With bare sand on the bottom
Boat strike at Cyrene Reef
And piles of dead corals on the edges.
Boat strike at Cyrene Reef
Probably caused by a boat strike.
Boat strike at Cyrene Reef
We were blessed with great cool cloudy weather throughout this long low tide. And the heavy rain only came after we left Cyrene.
This early morning, there were many teams on Cyrene doing research and documentation work. Here's TeamSeagrass also landing at the same time during a glorious sunrise. Siti and her team from DHI were also there. Tomorrow, more researchers are visiting Cyrene.
TeamSeagrass about to land on Cyrene Reef
Singapore's shores are rich and worthy of study!

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