10 June 2024

Some bleaching seen on Cyrene

Although Cyrene lies in the middle of an industrial triangle, it still has some of Singapore's most amazing shores.
Photo by Che Cheng Neo

A small team visits and encounter dugong feeding trails and other special marine life. They also check for mass coral bleaching has started to affect some of our shores. They estimate about 15% of hard corals were showing signs of stress and about 10% outright bleaching. While about 40% of soft corals were showing signs of stress and about 30% outright bleaching.

Dugong feeding trails were seen! These trails are formed when dugongs chomp up seagrasses including their roots, leaving a shallow meandering furrow of about equal width and depth. I saw similar trails on our last survey here in Apr 2024Apr 2023, Sep 2022.
Photo by Kelvin Yong
There's never been a lot of hard corals on Cyrene since we first started surveying it. Mostly boulder shaped species, some were very large (nearly 1m in diameter). Seems that most were alright with 15% showing signs of stress  (pale) and 10% outright bleaching.
There are also some medium-sized leathery soft corals of various kinds, and it seems about 40% were showing signs of stress (pale patches, more yellow than usual) and 30% outright bleaching. Other cnidarians also bleach and some flowery soft corals were seen bleaching. While some Frilly anemones were bleaching others were not, and a seemingly healthy Giant carpet anemone was seen with a tiny anemonefish in it. A normal cerianthid was also seen.
The team also visited the Fluted giant clams: one was missing (no shells), one was dead (empty shells), but one was still alive. They also stopped by to see the giant Knobbly sea stars here, saw a small but chomped Pentaceraster sea star, special snails as well as slugs.
The bleaching situation today is not as extensive compared to what we saw here in Jun 2016 when 80-90% of corals were bleaching during the last Global Mass Coral Bleaching event. But if we are not yet at peak bleaching, it could just be the beginning. The NOAA prediction for the Singapore Strait doesn't seem to suggest a sharp worsening in the weeks ahead. Let's hope for the best!

Cyrene (Terumbu Pandan) is a submerged reef that lies in the middle of an industrial triangle of Container Terminal and petrochemical plants on Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom, as well as major shipping lanes!

Photos by those on the trip

Kelvin Yong

Eugene Tan

Che Cheng Neo

Richard Kuah

Xiu Wen Yeo


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