15 June 2018

Terumbu Raya at Hari Raya!

Selamat Hari Raya from Terumbu Raya! A storm was brewing when we arrived, so we waited for a while on the boat before venturing out.
Living reefs of Terumbu Raya, June 2018
The reefs here are still very much alive, and it appears the seagrasses are doing well too! Interesting animals seen include a Giant clam and sea turtle!

Among the first animals I saw was this unidentified flatworm.
Unidentified flatworm
Here's a video of the flatworm. I also saw a large Fluted giant clam (photos all bad, sorry).
Unidentified flatworm
Along the reef edge, I saw a few Bubble tip anemones, and one had a large Tomato anemonefish. I also saw one Giant carpet anemone in the middle of the reef flat. But I didn't come across any other kinds of anemones. There were many White-rumped sea cucumbers, a Durian sea cucumber, and some octopuses.
Tomato clown anemonefish in Bubble-tip anemone (Entacmea quadricolor)
The reef edge facing Pulau Semakau remains quite reefy. With large coral colonies of all kinds. I sense the corals are doing better than on my last survey in Aug 2017 and June 2017. I saw a wider variety and I didn't see any corals bleaching.
Living reefs of Terumbu Raya, June 2018
Hard corals don't like fresh water, and I notice Acropora corals tend to 'cry' producing slime, when they are exposed at low tide and it rains.
Pinecone acropora coral (Acropora sp.) producing slime
This Moon coral is also producing a sheet of slime.
Moon coral (Diploastrea heliopora) producing slime
Most of the corals on the shore are boulder shaped, like this Galaxy coral.
Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.)
It was nice to see many Brain corals. All seem fine.
It was particularly heartening to see healthy colonies of corals that are usually the first to bleach. Like Branching anchor coral, Brain anchor coral, Cauliflower coral, Sandpaper coral.
There were many Disk corals, also some Ringed plate coral, Ridged plate coral, Plate montipora coral and Bracket mushroom coral, including one enormous colony on the reef edge.
 I saw a few Acropora corals, many Branching montipora corals - but not forming large fields, some Carnation corals and Lettuce corals.
There were many Pebble corals, Moon corals, Anemone corals, some Galaxy corals, and of course, many Merulinid corals.
There are indeed a wide variety of corals on this reef edge facing Pulau Semakau.
Living reefs of Terumbu Raya, June 2018
There aren't a lot of Leathery soft corals on this stretch of shore. Mostly small to medium sized Omelette leathery soft corals. There were still many clumps of Fine feathery soft corals.
Living reefs of Terumbu Raya, June 2018
It was nice to see fresh seagrass blades near the landing point.
Seagrasses at Terumbu Raya, Jun 2018
In areas where water pools in the middle of the Terumbu, there are also patches of thickly growing seagrasses, but they were heavily coated in epiphytes
Seagrasses at Terumbu Raya, Jun 2018
It was encouraging to see many clumps of Tape seagrass with longish leaf blades (about 30cm long), although most were heavily covered in epiphytes. The other species I saw were Spoon seagrass (small and large leaf blades),  Sickle seagrass and Needle seagrass with medium width blades.
Seagrasses at Terumbu Raya, Jun 2018
For the first time, I noticed many clumps of these bright pink branching things, possibly seaweed?
Unidentified seaweed
This submerged reef lies opposite Pulau Hantu and the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom, and is next to Pulau Semakau.
We didn't come across any fish nets or traps. Which is great, because as we were waiting for the dinghy to pick us up, the second group saw a large sea turtle coming up for air nearby. These air-breathing animals will drown if they are trapped in a net.

Posts by others on the trip

By Wu Bokai

By Chay Hoon

By Adrianne Lee

By Dayna Cheah

By Lisa Lim

By Gina Tan

By Loh Kok Sheng

Others on this trip: Kok Sheng, Siew Men.

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