24 November 2018

Living shores of Beting Bemban Besar

A glorious sunset at the end of a survey of the southern side of Beting Bemban Besar, a really huge submerged reef off Pulau Semakau.
Sunset at Beting Bemban Besar
It was great to see the seagrasses are still doing well, teeming with a variety of marine life. Reminds me of Cyrene! We also saw Giant clam, large Knobbly sea stars, 'Nemos' and Alex our skipper saw sea turtles around the big boat while we were out surveying.

We land under a blue sky and end with a fiery sunset! Here's a glimpse at what I saw on our survey.
Living shores of Beting Bemban Besar, Nov 2018
So nice to see a blush of green over a large area in the middle of the submerged reef. But the seagrasses still form sparse sprinkles, with a few small patches that were more dense. Much of the seagrasses were heavily covered in epiphytes. I sense the situation is somewhat similar to our last survey here in Mar 2017. This year in Aug 2018, I saw good seagrass growths on the northern end of Beting Bemban Besar too.
Seagrass meadows at Beting Bemban Besar (South), Nov 2018
I saw patches of Spoon seagrasses with small and large leaf blades. I saw few Tape seagrasses and most were cropped. I saw Sickle seagrassNeedle seagrass and some Noodle seagrass too.
It was great to see many of the animals typically found in good seagrass meadows. Like several cerianthids, a Fire anemoneUpside down jellyfishCommon sea stars, Hammer oysterNoble volutelittle hermit crabs, several Big synaptid sea cucumbers, many Moon snail sand collars.
I saw a small patch with many of these mussels, mostly dead. I get a bit alarmed nowadays when I see many mussels, after the mussel invasion I saw at Kranji. But these mussels don't seem to be the ones I saw at Kranji.
As is normal this time of the year, Sargassum seaweed is 'blooming' forming thick golden brown carpets over the reefier parts. This is normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
Living reefs of Beting Bemban Besar (South), Nov 2018
Among the sargassum, I found two nudibranchs! The Orange spotted nudibranch and Jorunna nudibranch.
Some of the larger colonies had pale portions. I saw a similar situation on the Pulau Semakau (South) shore nearby last month in Oct 2018.
Tiny hexagonal coral (Family Merulinidae)
Most of the hard corals I saw seemed alright. I couldn't really survey the reefier edge due to the sargassum bloom. On our last survey in Mar 2017, I saw a greater variety of corals.
I came across a variety of small leathery soft corals. As well as some Giant carpet anemones, the rest of the team saw clownfish in them. I also saw one small Frilly anemone. I saw a few Asparagus flowery soft corals, some of which seemed rather pale.
The rest of the team explored a larger area than I did and found some amazing animals. Jianlin Liu found this Fluted giant clam.

While Richard Kuah found this Ramose murex that we don't see very often.

Richard also saw this enormous Knobbly sea star, while Lisa found a few more.

A gaudy Halloween flatworm, by Jianlin Liu. While Liz Lim shared a Very Long ribbon worm.

Gina shared this tiny octopus that they saw.

As usual, we had a closer look at the barge at the fish farm situated here. Looks like the stacking of equipment is neater than on our trip here last month in Oct 2018.
Fish farm off Pulau Semakau (South)
When we got back to the boat, Alex said he saw several sea turtles while we were out surveying. But no dolphins this time.

More photos by others on this trip

Jianlin Liu

Richard Kuah and also on his blog.

Liz Lim

Gina Tan

Jesselyn Chua

Adriane Lee

Lisa Lim

Juria Toramae

Others on this trip: Juria Toramae, Shawne.

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