07 June 2019

Terumbu Bemban: corals are well, seagrasses look good

A small team checked out this small but rich reef flat. Thanks to Su and Zhi Ting for their support of the trip!
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2019
I was relieved to see that most of the corals were doing well. And happy to see clumps of rather long Tape seagrass and sprinkles of Spoon seagrass on the reef flat. Kelvin found a Burrowing giant clam!

Merulinids are the most common kind of corals I saw higher up on the shore.
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2019
Most were not bleaching, although many had white portions.
There were also many Boulder pore corals. Some were large and well formed. Most were alright.
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2019
While most were nice and brown, some were pinkish or pale and a few had bleaching portions.
The edge of the reef here is rich in corals. I was glad to see that not many were bleaching or distress. These 'glow' white or other bright colours.
Living reefs of Terumbu Bemban, Jun 2019
At the reef edge there were some corals that I rarely see: A small colony of Elephant-nose coral that I first saw here too, many small colonies of Horn coral, some Ringed plate coral, a large colony of Castle coral, and one Anchor coral. They all seemed fine.
The Brain corals were not doing well though. Most were pale or unhappy looking.
There were many Disk corals, some formed large colonies. Most were alright although most of the Flowery disk corals were pale.
There were many Tongue mushroom corals some of them very large. They seemed alright. There were also many Circular mushroom corals. Most were pale and some were pink, a few were bleaching.
I saw many Anemone corals colonies, some near the reef edge were large. They were alright although one had small clusters that were bleaching. I saw a few Cauliflower corals and some Sandpaper corals and they were not bleaching.
The patch of Acropora coral seems to have recovered, although it is very pale today. When I was last here in Jul 2018, it was mostly dead, with only a narrow edge of living corallites.
Elegant acropora coral (Acropora sp.)
I saw many clumps of Branching montipora corals, that hopefully will form a field like I've seen on some of our other submerged reefs.
Branching montipora coral (Montipora sp.)
I only saw one Giant carpet anemone, and a few Asparagus flowery soft corals. They were alright. I did see some Broad zoanthids that were bleaching and some Sea mat zoanthids that were pale.
There were many of the usual crabs and nudibranchs. And I saw two Red feather stars. Kelvin saw a large Burrowing giant clam, but we didn't find any others.
It was great to see clumps of rather long Tape seagrass (about 50cm) and sprinkles of Spoon seagrass (with large leaves) on the reef flat. I sense this is a little better than what I saw on our last visit here in Jul 2018.
Tape seagrass (Enhalus acoroides) and Spoon seagrass (Halophila ovalis)
When we arrived, we saw a barge piled high with yellow stuff being towed near Pulau Hantu. What is the stuff? (Sulphur?) Why is it being towed open without being protected from the rain that was pouring down? Will the stuff pollute the water along the way?
Barge with piles of yellow stuff (sulphur?)
Let's hope this small but rich shore and the surroundings remain safe until we return again next year.

Photos by others on this trip

Kelvin Yong

Shawne Goh

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