Mar 25, 2011

Cyrene Reef (25 Mar 2011)

The tide is still high when the small team arrives at Cyrene on a hot sunny day!
In fact, the tide has been higher than tidal predictions over the last few days. Is it due to the recent tsunami? The 'supermoon'?

I don't really know. But I do know that tidal predictions are often a little off whenever the low spring tides first switch from evening to morning, which just happened a few days ago. The tide is so high, my monitoring stuff is submerged when I lay it down to set  up the transect tape!
Today, I am doing Site 1 for a change. Here's Joo Yong and her colleague doing Transect 1 under a blue blue sky with Jurong Island in the background.
And Joe and Richard doing Transect 3 with Pulau Bukom in the background.
Another look at the gentlemen hard at work, with the world class Pasir Panjang Container terminals in the background. Although Cyrene lies in the middle of this 'industrial triangle' it has spectacular seagrass meadows!
It's a bit of a challenge to monitor in high water in windy conditions. Even though the water is clear!
Today, I and the others noticed many patches of 'burnt' seagrasses.
Here's a closer look at the burnt seagrasses.
In other parts of the line, however, the seagrasses are still green and unburnt.
Indeed, elsewhere on Cyrene, I also saw patches of seagrasses are burnt next to patches with blades that are still fresh and green.
A closer look underwater at burnt seagrass. I wonder what is going on?
I haven't ever done Site 1 before, but I have heard that it is very lush and rich. So it's a bit disconcerting to see some rather bare portions on my line. But there are certainly more species of seagrasses at Site 1 than at Site 2 on Cyrene!
The Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides) that I saw were mostly chomped but slightly longer than during out last monitoring at Cyrene in Dec 09. I also didn't see large patches of brown scum that I saw at our last monitoring trip.

After monitoring, I had a quick look around. Oh dear, I notice lots of little bits of broken off Noodle seagrass (Syringodium isoetifolium) washed up on the sand bar.
I visited the pool in the middle of Cyrene where Collin does his fish survey and pipefish tagging and which used to be full of long Tape seagrass.  It remains quite bare, although there are some shorter seagrasses growing there.
Wow, I saw some Smooth ribbon seagrass (Cymododea rotundata) growing on the Northern shore facing the container terminals! This seagrass has so far only been seen at Cyrene and Chek Jawa.
Here's one of the many Common sea stars among the Smooth ribbon seagrass.
Today, we were joined by Dr Dan Rittschof and students from Duke University who have come to help Siti set up seagrass experiments on Cyrene. We saw lots of marine life including baby sharks! More about this on wild shores of singapore.

The team out for this trip were: Andy, Joo Yong, Joe, Richard, Mei Lin and Wei Ling.

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