Today, I estimate about 5% of the hard corals that I saw were bleaching - especially larger ones growing submerged on the reef edge. About 10% were showing stress (paler than usual or with bleaching portions) or with recently dead patches. I didn't come across many leathery soft corals, most were alright. The situation wasn't as bad as what I saw during mass coral bleaching in 2016. It was probably just a little worse than our last survey in Jun 2019 when I noticed some bleaching on this shore.
Although it's sad that the seagrasses have yet to recover, it was great that the team saw FOUR Giant clams today!
Although it lies opposite the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom, this shore is quite reefy.
Circular mushroom corals, Anchor corals. Others were doing fine.
leathery soft corals, most were small colonies. Most were alright. Except for a small patch with some colonies bleaching and some not.
mass coral bleaching here in 2016 (photo below).
Here's a compilation of some of the hard corals I saw, with a ruler for further study by others.
I saw two Bubble tip anemones both bleaching. Kok Sheng saw one that was not. The Magnificent anemone, Giant carpet anemone and Frilly anemones I saw were not bleaching. Most of the zoanthids were okay although I saw a few with some bleaching, and a pale Sea mat zoanthid.
Leathery sea anemone.
And a beautiful banded version of the Merten's carpet anemone.
The team saw FOUR Fluted giant clams today. I missed all of them including this huge one at our departure point. Which was pointed out by Kok Sheng. I didn't see it even though I looked for it. Giant clams can also suffer from bleaching, so it was good to see that they were fine.
Here's the Giant clam that Jianlin found.
Kok Sheng walked far into the western portion of Semakau and saw many Knobbly sea stars!
The seagrass situation does not appear to be very different from what I saw at our last survey in Jun 2019. The TeamSeaGrass Site 2 stakes are still there! But there are still virtually no seagrasses at the Site.
Malayan water monitor decided to cool off in the water at the reef edge!
Pulau Semakau is NOT the Semakau Landfill
Just as Changi Airport and Changi Prison are not the same even though they are near one another and share a name, Pulau Semakau is NOT the same as the Semakau Landfill. The Landfill was created by destroying all of Pulau Saking, and about half of the original Pulau Semakau by building a very long seawall. Fortunately, the landfill was constructed and is managed in such a way that the original mangroves, seagrass meadows and reefs on Pulau Semakau were allowed to remain. The northern shore of Pulau Semakau is near the petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom.
It is NOT true that the construction of the Landfill created the marine life found on Pulau Semakau. The marine life was there long before the Landfill was built.
Phase 2 of the Landfill was launched. This involved closing the gap of the seawall on the Semakau Landfill, forming one big pool where incinerated ash will be dumped. NEA worked to limit the damage to natural shoresduring the construction work for this expansion of the landfill.
The Singapore Blue Plan 2018
Pulau Semakau and nearby islands and submerged reefs have been recommended by the Singapore Blue Plan 2018 for Immediate Conservation Priority.
The Blue Plan recommends the intertidal and subtidal marine areas of Pulau Semakau and adjacent Pulau Hantu, and Pulau Jong to be designated Marine Reserve.
The Blue Plan highlights that Pulau Semakau and its associated patch reefs comprise many ecosystems: coral reefs, mangrove areas, intertidal sandflats, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs. The subtidal area of Pulau Jong is larger than the terrestrial area. Pulau Hantu is a popular dive site has seen increasing interest in the past decade due to biodiversity awareness. If protection is accorded to these three islands, 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.
Posts by others on this survey
Loh Kok Sheng
Chay Hoon surveyed Tanah Merah