23 December 2018

Terumbu Pempang Laut is alive!

Terumbu Pempang Laut is still very much alive! We saw dugong feeding trails in the seagrass meadows there!
Living shores of Terumbu Pempang Laut
And two Giant clams! Although the corals seem alright, I did see many with pale patches.

Terumbu Pempang Laut is one of our largest submerged reefs and located near industrial islands such as Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom.
It was great to see many dugong feeding trails today on the thin meadows of Spoon seagrass. I saw saw dugong feeding trails here in Aug 2016, the first time we noted them was in May 2012.
Dugong feeding trail in Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis), Terumbu Pempang Laut Dec 2018
Here's a video clip of the dugong feeding trails and seagrasses on this shore.
Dugong feeding trail in Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis), Terumbu Pempang Laut Dec 2018
This shore doesn't really have many corals, although there are some large boulder shaped corals.
Tiny hexagonal coral (Family Merulinidae)
Most of the large corals I saw were Merulinid corals. I saw many colonies with pale edges or patches.
I saw some Pore corals, many were pale. I only saw one Cauliflower coral and some Blue corals. The sargassum bloom meant that I couldn't really cover the reef edge, perhaps that is why I didn't come across many other kinds of corals. I saw many more kinds of corals on the last survey in May 2017.
Although there were patches of fresh green seagrasses, the seagrass situation seems worse than on the last survey in May 2017. While I saw lots of sprinkles (not dense) growths of Spoon seagrass with small and large leaves, there were some patches of Sickle seagrass mostly cropped.
Sickle seagrass (Thalassia hemprichii)
I only saw some small patches of cropped Tape seagrass.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) cropped
The rest of the team spotted a small Fluted giant clam, a new sighting for us on this shore.

The larger Fluted giant clam that we have seen on our past surveys seems alright! We saw it first in Jun 2014. As on the last survey in May 2017, there were a few Common sea stars near the seagrass meadows in the middle of the reef, most were in 'mating' position. The sandy area also had a lot of Oval moon snails.
Fluted giant clam (Tridacna squamosa)
Here's a video clip of some of the other animals that I saw including some nudibranchs, a worm eel and anemone shrimps in a Giant carpet anemone. I saw some anemonefishes in these anemones too, but they were too well hidden to document. The rest of the team also spotted many other interesting animals.
Living shores of Terumbu Pempang Laut, Dec 2018
Terumbu Pempang Laut from our boat, with Jurong Island nearby.
Terumbu Pempang Laut
Terumbu Pempang Laut is one of the existing natural shores that may be impacted by the landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development released in Jan 2013 in response to the Populations White Paper with a 6.9 million population target. The dotted margined blue areas are "Possible Future Reclamation".
The other shores impacted by this plan include Pulau Hantu, Terumbu Pempang Darat, Terumbu Pempang Tengah and Pulau Jong and Terumbu Semakau.
Let's hope Terumbu Pempang Laut stays safe until we can visit again.

Photos by others on the trip

Jianlin Liu

Liz Lim

Shawne Goh

Sunny Tan

Others on this trips: Jahson and Nick, Nick Yap, Jesselyn.

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