15 July 2018

Living reefs of Terumbu Hantu

This tiny submerged reef next to Pulau Hantu lies next to petrochemical plants, has been squashed by a large boat, suffered from mass coral bleaching in 2016.
Living reefs of Terumbu Hantu
So it was great to see that a good variety of corals are still found on some parts of the reef edge.

Here's a brief video of the living reefs of Terumbu Hantu.
Living reefs of Terumbu Hantu, Jul 2018
There were large clumps of Galaxy corals. There were also many healthy Pebble coralsAnemone corals. As well as commonly seen Pore corals and Merulinid corals.
Living reefs of Terumbu Hantu
A glimpse of some of the variety of corals found close to one another.
Various corals on Terumbu Hantu
I saw many mushroom corals of various kinds and all of them were alright. There were many really large and long Tongue mushroom corals. I also saw some Circular mushroom corals and Feather mushroom corals, which I didn't see during our last survey in Apr 2017.
I saw nice large colonies of plate corals including Ridged plate corals, Ringed plate coral, Disk coral and Bracket mushroom coral.
It was nice to see many Brain corals that were alright.
There were happy Anchor corals, Trumpet corals, Lettuce corals and Carnation corals. As well as Moon corals and Acropora corals.
I also saw nice healthy Sandpaper corals and Cauliflower corals. These are usually the first to succumb during bleaching events.
Today, I saw two Merten's carpet anemones! There were also some Giant carpet anemones, one with clown anemonefishes squished next to it in a tiny puddle of water left behind at low tide. There was also one small Pizza anemone. All of them were alright.
I saw several large Barrel sponges and they were alright. I was relieved to see this since we saw dying Barrel sponges at Sentosa Serapong last month.
Barrel sponge (Xestospongia testudinaria)
Sadly, we didn't come across any living Giant clams. Kok Sheng came across the empty shells of a dead Fluted giant clam. RIP.
Dead Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa)
There were also many large colonies of Leathery soft corals of various kinds. None of them were bleaching.
Living reefs of Terumbu Hantu
Sadly, most of the Tape seagrass I saw were cropped short.
There were a few clumps with longish leaf blades.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides)
As usual, we dropped by Terumbu Pempang Kecil nearby after rising tides submerged Terumbu Hantu.
Terumbu Pempang Kecil
There is still sprinkles of Spoon seagrass on Terumbu Pempang Kecil.
Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)
One reason we visit this submerged reef is that it has been damaged by large dive boats in the past. This is a photo of the MV Nautica a large live-aboard dive boat which was seen high and dry on the living reefs of Terumbu Hantu on 9 Nov 2014.
Photo by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.
We checked for damage to Terumbu Hantu in Jan 2015 and again in Aug 2015. Large holes which are bare of living corals and other reef life are likely to be caused by boat strikes such as the MV Nautica grounding. Today I didn't see any new large holes. This looks like the one I saw on our last survey here in Apr 2017.
Boat strike on Terumbu Hantu

The rest of the team found awesome marine life. Here's their photos.

By Jianlin Liu

By Dayna Cheah

By Russel Low

By Juria Toramae

By Lisa Lim

By Juria Toramae

By Loh Kok Sheng

Others on this trip: Chay Hoon, Nicholas Yap.

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