12 August 2018

Cyrene with Burrowing giant clams!

A dawn survey at Cyrene and I saw Burrowing giant clams here for the first time!
Sunrise at the living shores of Cyrene
Although it lies in the middle of an industrial triangle and major shipping lanes, Cyrene has some of Singapore's best shores. The rest of the team saw lots of Knobbly sea stars and other wonderful marine life.

I was excited to see not one but two Burrowing giant clams! This is our first sighting of this for Cyrene.
The reefy part of Cyrene appears to be doing well. Similar to what I saw on our last survey in Apr 2018, I saw many large hard corals. None of them were bleaching.
Living reefs of Cyrene
Many of the small corals were whole, without bald patches. They were mostly Pore corals and Merulinid corals of various kinds. There were a few Disk corals, some Anemone corals, and some Cauliflower corals. All of them looked well.
I even saw a Red coral crab in one of the Cauliflower corals.
Red coral crab (Trapezia cymodoce)
I also saw many large Leathery soft corals of various kinds. None of them were bleaching.
Living reefs of Cyrene
I saw many Flowery soft corals and they were all not bleaching. There were also some sponges, including one small Barrel sponge that looked alright. I was relieved to see this since we saw dying Barrel sponges at Sentosa Serapong in June 2018.
Today, I was trying to help Nicholas Yap to find special anemones. We came across various sea anemones including the 'Hat anemone', a Common peachia anemoneFrilly anemonesGiant carpet anemones, while the rest of the team found Snaky sea anemones.
I didn't really get to explore much of the seagrass situation. But the areas I covered seemed lush, although Tape seagrasses are still cropped.
Living seagrass meadows of Cyrene
There were lots of Olive flatworms today. Nicholas spotted a Very long ribbon worm. And there were other worms like the White spiral fan worm.
Cyrene has living sand bars with all kinds of marine creatures.
Living sandy shores at Cyrene
Today, we came across several Ramose murex snails. In the sand, there were many special snails such as the Eggwhite moon snail, China moon snail, and various Olive snails.
The only nudibranch I saw was this Jorunna funebris which looked like it just laid the egg ribbon nearby. I also saw one Spotted sea hare.
Jorunna funebris with egg ribbon?
There were lots of Common sea stars. And Cyrene is one of the few shores where I see smaller males, on top of larger females.
Common sea star (Archaster typicus)
I didn't go to the part of the shore where all the Knobbly sea stars were gathered. But Abel and the rest of the team did and it seems they are still alright.

As the tide rushed in, I noticed the Huddling hermit crabs were clustered near the waterline. Probably getting ready to hide in the sand from incoming predators?
On the steep slope of the sand bar, I also saw a living Pink-speckled shrimp-goby sticking out of a hole face out, and a living shrimp in a hole butt up. Not really sure what is happening.
The tide was really rushing in! Here's the first group on the big boat taking shots of the second group with barely any shore still sticking out of the water.
Leaving Cyrene at high tide
We arrived before sunrise, with a huge plume of emissions hanging over Pulau Bukom. On Jurong Island, I notice large piles of sand near the waters' edge that I first saw in Apr 2018.
Emissions over Pulau Bukom from Cyrene
Despite these pressures, the shores of Cyrene remain alive.

Photos by others on this trip

By Abel Yeo

By Marcus Ng

By Jonathan Tan

Others on this trip: Russel Low, Jose Hong, Jonathan Tan, Aidan Mock, Siew Men, Nicholas Yap.

Meanwhile, other shores were surveyed ...

Chay Hoon

Loh Kok Sheng

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