02 March 2018

Cyrene with special snail

Back on Cyrene with youth volunteers who will make International Year of the Reef 2018 happening! We were also joined by Edward and Sam who are filming Cyrene for the second season of the awesome Living City. Grateful to regular team members who helped to share about our shores.
Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)
Although it lies in the middle of an industrial triangle and major shipping lanes, Cyrene has some of Singapore's best seagrass meadows. We saw dugong feeding trails, large Knobbly sea stars and other awesome marine life!

We were welcomed at arrival by clusters of many Knobbly sea stars. Among them, Marcus found the ones which appear to be a hybrid. There were also many Common sea stars everywhere.
Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) with hybrid
And Marcus also found the Pentaceraster sea star, whose scientific name means Nippled sea star...haha!
Pentaceraster sea star (Pentaceraster mammillatus)
Once again, we saw criss-crossing dugong feeding trails. We saw them on our trip in Jan 2018, Dec 2017 and Aug 2017 too.
Dugong feeding trail in seagrass meadows, Cyrene Reef, Mar 2018
Marcus and the other team members saw many small Diadema sea urchins. I took a lousy underwater video of them and only when I got home, realised there was a little Reef octopus behind one of the sea urchins! We only saw a few White sea urchins.
Long-spined black sea urchin (Diadema setosum) and Reef octopus
Other interesting marine life spotted included: Jorunna nudibranchs apparently mating (Diandrea really wanted to see nudibranchs!). Chew Peng spotted a Red egg crab. There were lots of swimming crabs of various kinds everywhere. We saw lots of Black long sea cucumbers, one Garlic bread sea cucumber and one White rumped sea cucumber. The seagrasses seemed well but I only saw a few clumps of long Tape seagrass, most of those I saw were still cropped short.
The most awesome find of the day was by Karl, who spotted this Ramose murex, feeding on a Fan shell clam! This large snail is listed as Endangered in the Singapore Red List. So far, we only know of recent sightings of them at Changi and Cyrene Reef.  Other molluscs included Moon snails and their sand collar egg mass, Olive snails, Reef murex snails, living Fan shell clams.
Ramose murex (Chicoreus ramosus)
We had a peek at the reefier areas. And it was nice to see healthy large hard corals.
Cyrene Reef
The boulder shaped kinds were doing well. We saw many healthy Cauliflower corals, some Disk corals and one Anemone coral.
The leathery soft corals are back!
Cyrene Reef
There were many large healthy colonies of various kinds.
There were also happy cerianthids, a Snaky sea anemone, many healthy flowery soft corals and even one leathery sea fan.
This is the site of an old boat strike. The boat has piled up dead corals as it ploughed into the reef. But now life has returned and an octopus is spotted among the rubble.
Boat strike on Cyrene Reef, Mar 2018
We not only missed a huge downpour, which ended just before we arrived. But also enjoyed a spectacular sunset.
Cyrene Reef
Thanks to Edward and Sam for interviewing the youths who inspire with their enthusiasm and ideas! Such as Faiq who is working on a film about our seagrasses.
Cyrene Reef
Thanks to Edward for sharing drone flying tips with Faiq.
Cyrene Reef
Edward and Sam working hard throughout our trip.
Cyrene Reef
Although it was really hard to convince them to put their equipment away during the landing and departure.
Landing on Cyrene Reef
The departure was particularly splashy. Thanks to Liz for loan of towel to protect from the worst of it.
Departing Cyrene Reef
Thanks to everyone for a lovely trip without any loss of life or equipment.

Others on this trip: Marcus Ng, Karl, Faiq.

Chris Wong shared lovely photos of awesome finds!

Karl Png has great photos and finds too

Liz Lim shared awesome photos and finds from areas the rest of the team didn't cover.

Thanks to Marcus Ng for leading our walk and finding cool stuff, and of course these awesome photos.

More photos by Diandrea Ho.

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