Yesterday was my first time at Cyrene Reef, and it was amazing 🙂
Went with Teamseagrass for a monitoring session (work before play!), thanks for inviting me Ms Ria!
Sunrise at Cyrene
One of the many Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus) all over the place at Cyrene
Cyrene reef is a submerged reef (meaning it is submerged at high tides, but at low tides, BAM! a 1km or so stretch of land suddenly appears in the middle of nowhere), a 30 minute boat ride south of Singapore, and is surrounded by the heavy industries on Jurong Island and the monstrous refineries of Pulau Bukom.
Joo Yong and Marcus in the foreground, industrial monsters in the background.
Despite all that, life at Cyrene is still incredibly diverse, our transect having 5-6 species of seagrass (usually we only get two) and making us spend more time trying to discern them (took us an hour!).
The boat departed for Cyrene at 6 (had to wake up at 4.30 a.m.) and when we had reached, we still had to pile into a tiny little dinghy to make our landing. then we trudged our way to our sites.
Marcus, being himself.
Monitoring started at 7 and ended at 8
Ms Siti working on the transect next to ours, with more industrial monsters in the background.
The Spoon Seagrasses (Halophila ovalis) here are the largest i’ve seen so far, some with leaves almost as large as my thumb!
After we were done monitoring, we still had some time to explore, so here’s some of the stuff we found.
There were a number of Common Sea Stars (Archaster typicus) lounging around. A video of the tubular feet they use to ‘walk’ can be found at http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=378923208550
Joce and I were walking along when we came across a carpet anemone, and while we were taking photos of it when an anemone shrimp (Periclimenes brevicarpalis) popped out from below the anemone and decided to camwhore for us, so we gladly complied 😀
even got a video!
There was also a little Elbow Crab
you see it, right?
While we were taking photos of this guy, i suddenly noticed something lurking almost right next to it that we somehow missed!
Turns out it was a really special find, a Pentaceraster mammillatus, which was only recently (actually two years ago) discovered on our shores! The discovery was special as before its discovery, this star, locally fondly referred to as the darth vader star and the dark knobbly (i call this one baby blue :D), was only known to be found in the western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, so its discovery indicates a significant increase in distribution range.
The star is named mammillatus after the rows of nipple like nodules on its body
The underside, not sure what that snail is doing there though o.o
Trying to right itself, oops. we should always try not to handle sea stars, and even if we do we should try to rest their bodies on the palm of the hand. this is because sea stars sometimes lose a limb on purpose in an effort to escape when they feel they are threatened, so we should never dangle them by their feet!
anyway this one happens to be quite teeny (about the length of Joce’s index finger) so it’s likely to be a juvenile!
It’s kinda exciting, cos apparently this is the first baby darth vader found at our shores!
Seagrass beds serve a vital function (among many vital functions) in the ecosystem by being a nursery for many forms of marine life. (they are also food for characteristic megafauna such as dugongs and sea turtles!)
There were lots of sea cukes too!
A Synaptid Sea Cucumber, not sure what sp. exactly though.
Black Long Sea Cucumber (Holothuria leucospilota) is found on most of our shores, but are more common in the southern shores.
And last but not least, who could forget the very stars Cyrene is famous for, the Knobblies!
Knobblies come in a whole variety of shapes and sizes, some are fatter and some have more colour! at cyrene they occur so frequently that these stars were all within meters (some less than a meter) apart from each other! truly amazing.
This guy was a little strange and unsymmetrical, a survivor of an attack perhaps?
after exploring, it was time to head back.. ):
we dinghy-ed back to the boat where we headed back to mainland with a steady supply of snacks and cookies.
Marcus’s cheapo slippers. Oh well, as long as it functions, brands don’t matter! (much)
But back at the marina, the trip hadn’t truly ended yet!
around the docks and pontoons were all sorts of life!
Lining the sides of the pontoons were these vertical reefs, growing everywhere along the sides! this photo was taken with my camera pointing vertically downward into the water. there were many colourful fish and even a filefish, and some of them were even swimming on their sides so it looked as if we were really underwater!
according to Ms Shufen, researchers are actually collaborating with the owners of marinas in order to create better environments for biodiversity so they can actually use the marinas as a kind of rest stop before heading back out to sea, how interesting :O. apparently there was once even a sighting of a turtle here.
after all that, some of us took a ride in Ms Shufen’s cab to Harbourfront, and we were greeted by this
im not sure how many people actually think like me, but i actually like stepping out of my comfort zone. i like getting bitten by mosquitoes. i like sweating buckets. i like the smell of the soil and leaves. more people should be willing to do so.. leave the air-conditioned concrete boxes once in a while and go see the world!.. you don’t have to go too far (:
and now i have two badges (:
the badge on the right is to celebrate the 3rd year of Teamseagrass 😀
yep, i can’t wait to go back to cyrene again, but with A levels looming i doubt i’d have many more opportunities to go out (when i go out its almost always to nature areas so..) which means this blog will probably go on hiatus by june or so, but we’ll see bout that.
sentosa post is overdue, will post.. whenever i next have time XP