25 December 2018

Christmas corals at Kusu Island

Minutes from the Central Business District are the living reefs of Kusu Island!
Living reefs of Kusu Island, Dec 2018
We surveyed the amazing rich reef edge on Christmas Day! It was great to see the reefs were doing well.

Here's a brief video clip of this rich reef edge at sunset.
Living reefs of Kusu Island, Dec 2018
It was a relief to see the usual variety of corals.
Living reefs of Kusu Island, Dec 2018
Including many of the more delicate branching and plate-forming corals.
Living reefs of Kusu Island, Dec 2018Living reefs of Kusu Island, Dec 2018
This is what this part of Kusu looked like during our survey in July 2016 at the height of mass coral bleaching. At that time, we estimated about 50% of the hard corals and 50% of the leathery soft corals were bleaching. And also noticed about 5-10% of corals have died recently.
Today, there were no bleaching corals!
Living reefs of Kusu Island, Dec 2018
Among the amazing corals we saw was a huge colony of Boulder horn coral.
Boulder horn coral (Hydnophora exesa)
There were corals growing to the outside of the seawall
Corals on a seawall, Kusu Island, Dec 2018
Corals were also growing inside the lagoon. I was glad to see the patch of Branching montipora coral was still there.
Branching montipora coral (Montipora sp.)
There was also a large colony of Anemone coral.
Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.)
However, some of the large Boulder pore corals had pale patches. But there were lots of healthy looking large leathery soft corals and large Asparagus flowery soft corals.
But it was good to see some Acropora corals, Cauliflower corals, Sandpaper corals and other interesting corals like a Trumpet coral. There were still many Magnificent anemones on the reefs, none were bleaching. Fortunately, we didn't come across any fish traps today, unlike our last survey in Aug 2017.
Inside the lagoon, there were Common sea stars and Cake sand dollars. Among the sprinkles of Spoon seagrass with tiny leaves and Needle seagrasses, there were lots of Starry flatworms, some Haddon's carpet anemones, lots of Bazillion snails, some tiny Window pane clams and Black lipped conch snails. There was still a bloom of Sea Lettuce seaweed in the big lagoon, but less than what we saw on our last survey in Aug 2017.
In May 2018, Kusu shores were closed after asbestos found there. According to media articles, traces of asbestos, a hazardous material, have been discovered on Kusu Island, the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said on Friday (May 4) after a similar discovery on St John's Island over a week ago.
Dotted yellow line indicates areas still open to the public.
Photo from Channel NewsAsia
The cluster of Kusu, Lazarus and St. John's Islands has been recommended by the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 for elevated protection status. The Blue Plan highlights that Lazarus, St. John’s, and Kusu Islands are established sites for coral nurseries as their shoreline offers ideal sheltered areas for growth of corals. Designating these islands as No-fishing Areas can bolster their rehabilitation. Protecting a larger cluster of islands means zonation plans for use can be implemented to manage tourism and human impacts. DOWNLOAD the Plan, SUPPORT the Plan! More on the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 site.
Crazy Rich Shores: Kusu Island
Let's hope this special shore stays safe until we visit again.

Photos of by others on this trip

Liz Lim

Loh Kok Sheng

Yeo Jing Ying

Lena Chow

Joleen Chan

Others on this trip: James, Yi Feng, Nicholas Yeo.

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