04 January 2018

Corallimorph Hunt Day 2: Pulau Hantu

Colourful corallimorphs live on our reefs. We head out to Pulau Hantu to try to find some.
Living reefs of Pulau Hantu opposite petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom
Although the reef lies just opposite the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom, they are quite rich in marine life. But the stench of chemicals hung heavy throughout the survey, the first time we encountered this. It was really hard to breathe at times.

It's nice to see the corals are recovering well on this reef since the mass coral bleaching in 2016. My last trip here was in Aug 2017 also helping to hunt for sea creatures.
Branching montipora coral (Montipora sp.)
I saw a variety of corals and most of them looked alright.
Some of the corals had dead portions, but others were quite healthy.
There are huge leathery soft corals on the shore!
Living reefs of Pulau Hantu opposite petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom
The soft corals were all healthy looking. And we saw many different kinds of sea anemones, also doing well.
As night fell, all kinds of creatures emerged from hiding! Especially the fishes. I started to see lots of filefishes tiny to medium sized. And even one juvenile batfish. The octopuses were also more active in the dark.
Among the seagrasses and corals were all kinds of crabs and shrimps. As well as fabulous fan worms and flatworms.
Mei Lin found a Strawberry cockle. I saw a bunch of Lined nudibranchs probably making babies. And also patches of what look like Spider conch egg strings. While we saw many squid egg capsules. So life is certainly going on at Pulau Hantu!
On the inside of the seawall facing the big lagoon, all kinds of mangrove trees have settled naturally. I didn't get a chance to take a closer look, but from afar, they looked fine.
Mangroves settling naturally on seawall at Pulau Hantu
There are also many patches of Tape seagrass inside the lagoon which have nice long leaf blades. Though the Tape seagrass growing near the reef edge were mostly cropped short.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides)
Mei Lin spotted some female flowers!
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) flowering
Later on, I spotted some more female flowers and also male flower bracts. But all the flowers had already bloomed. I also saw sprinkles of healthy looking Spoon seagrasses here and there.
We started the survey heading into what seems to be serious rain!
Wet weather ahead
Fortunately, the rain stopped when we arrived at Pulau Hantu. But you can see, even a brief rainfall can wash down sediments into the sea, causing the water to become murky.
Brown runoff water in the sea after heavy rain
What about the hunt? Fortunately, Mei Lin spotted many corallimorphs soon after we arrived. They look just like blobs when out of water and rather hard to spot among the blooming Sargassum!
Here's my photos of previous sightings of some of the corallimorphs we have seen on Singapore shores. I hope we can find all of them for Ren Min.
We're making one more survey at Big Sisters Island to find corallimorphs!

During low spring tide, lots of other people are also checking up our shores.

Chris Wong surveyed Pasir Ris and saw a seahorse as well as other marine life!

Abel Yeo and friends surveyed Changi and made special finds like this snail...

More photo by Abel.

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