24 August 2017

Terumbu Raya is alive

Thanks to Mei Lin and her team for letting some of us tag along their research trip to Terumbu Raya!
Terumbu Raya
I saw interesting marine life! The corals seem alright, and there are many seagrass patches, although they are heavily covered in ephiphytes.

Here's a video clip of some of the interesting marine life I saw at Terumbu Raya.
Living reefs of Terumbu Raya, Aug 2017
I saw a Noble volute next to an egg mass that it might have just laid. There were some Common sea stars, it seems to be the first time we have noticed them here! I saw a Big synaptid sea cucumber, some Bigfin reef squids, and the nudibranch with bright orange spots. Samantha spotted many Reef octopuses.
There were some Giant carpet anemones (one with clown anemonefishes) and a few Haddon's carpet anemones (one with anemone shrimps). I didn't see any Frilly anemones or Bubble tip anemones.
As usual, I worry about mass coral bleaching. Similar to my last trip here in Jun 2017, the corals seem alright.
Terumbu Raya
The most common coral remain Merulinids. They were mostly alright, although some had large dead portions and one looked like it was bleaching and dying.
There were some Cauliflower corals and Sandpaper corals and they seemed alright.
There were some small Acropora corals, most were alright although there was one colony that looked like it died recently.
There were also clumps of Branching montipora corals.
Terumbu Raya
Some interesting corals seen include Galaxy coral, a large colony of Moon coral in deeper water, and Carnation coral. Also some Brain corals and Anemone corals.
 There were some Disk corals, Ridged plate coral and Plate montipora corals.
There were some Leathery soft corals and they were not bleaching. The most abundant cnidarian on the shore were Fine feathery soft corals and none of them were bleaching.
Some of the Leathery soft corals are growing large.
Terumbu Raya
Colourful sponges were seen here and there.
There seems to be lots of seagrass patches, but the seagrasses are heavily covered in epiphytes and the Tape seagrasses are still cropped short.
Seagrasses of Terumbu Raya
Another look at a patch of seagrasses.
Seagrasses of Terumbu Raya
This is the last of the morning low spring tide trips for 2017. We take a break in September as there are no suitably low tides for surveys. And resume in October with evening tide surveys.

Hope the shores stay safe until then!

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