Nov 24, 2011

Cyrene Reef (24 Nov 2011)

Cyrene Reef is a submerged reef that is only exposed at low tide.
A small team arrive a little too early today, and the tide was still very high! But this didn't stop us from getting the monitoring done!

Only a tiny sliver of sand bar was starting to show above the water! Here's Jocelyne, Marcus and Meilin getting ready to start Site 1.
And dark clouds started to gather above as Jason, Chun Fong and Yi Shyuan headed out to Site 2.
But so long as there's no rain, and no lightning nearby, we keep on going! Soon all the lines are set up nicely and we get down to monitoring.
Yi Shyuan is doing very well at her transect! Bravo!
The seagrasses are rather sparse today. And the Tape seagrasses (Enhalus acoroides) are still short and chomped. But I didn't come across any bleaching or burnt seagrasses on my transect.
Tape seagrass grows in 'circles'! I didn't realise this until Len from Seagrass Watch pointed it out to me. On Cyrene's sandy shores, this growth habit is more obvious!
The deep pool in the middle of Cyrene which used to be thick with Tape seagrass is still bare of these long seagrasses. It is so bare that the pool is blue in colour! Oh dear. There were however, other species of shorter seagrasses growing in this pool.
Most of the seagrasses elsewhere looked alright. Although Meilin saw a patch of bleaching seagrasses.
As usual, Cyrene is full of amazing marine life, like Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus), which are quite abundant on Cyrene Reef, where we also often see many juvenile Knobblies. Indeed, according to the Star Trackers, "the presence of juveniles, subadults and adults indicated that there is a healthy level of recruitment at Cyrene Reef. This habitat may be the only sustainable population of knobbly seastars left in Singapore today". The healthy seagrass meadows on Cyrene may have something to do with this! The team had a quick look around after we finished monitoring. Check out the links below to see more of what we saw.
All too soon, it was time to leave. The tide was rushing in, dark clouds looming above us, and sheets of heavy rain falling on the mainland!
As we headed back, we finally met up with the heavy rain! Fortunately, we had good weather out and  safe and productive trip, on our last trip to Cyrene for the year.

It was great to have with us today: Marcus, Jocelyne, Meilin, Jason, Chun Fong and Yi Shyuan! And thanks to Rachel for taking care of all the logistical details even though she couldn't come with us.

Other posts about this trip
  • Ria with tubeworm snacking snails and the curious case of Brahminy kites resting on reefs.
  • Jason on facebook with slugs, nudibranchs and more!And on his blog too!
  • Jocelyne with more about what went on at Site 1 and a pre-trip walk. 
  • Chun Fong with knobblies and more
  • Mei Lin with shrimp goby, encounter with feathery file fish and more.
  • Yi Shyuan with more photos of animals and people on Cyrene.
  • More about Cyrene Reef

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