Apr 23, 2014

Cyrene Reef (19 April, 2014)

Our first Cyrene Reef trip started off early today at Marina @ Keppel Bay. It also marked the start of the morning low-tides, so the Team had to get adjusted to the early hours again. Despite having to wake up at 5am on a weekend, everyone turned up on time and we left promptly at 6am. 

Siti showing a surprising amount of energy for an early morning trip, while Johannes clearly has other priorities. Photo courtesy of  Rachel.

After a quick ride on Alex's boat, we reached the waters off Pasir Panjang Port and disembarked onto Cyrene. We spotted quite a few purple jellyfishes on the dinghy ride over to the reef (a bloom?) but everyone managed to arrive sting-free.

One perk of morning trips is that you get to catch the sunrise! Photo courtesy of Mei Lin and Rachel.

After a quick mandatory Team photo, we set off to our transects. Thankfully, we still managed to find our stakes at Site 2 without our GPS. 

Cyrene has one of the most diverse seagrass meadows in Singapore, and it is not unusual to find up to 5 species within the same quadrat! This means that we have to be meticulous about identifying the different species within each quadrat, especially since some seagrasses like Cymodocea serrulata, C. rotundata and Thalassia hemprichii are superficially similar. This also makes it more difficult to estimate species composition.

Nor Asiah and Siti hard at work! We (Siti) also ensure that volunteers are well fed (with Tostitos) even during the survey. Talk about volunteer welfare! Photo courtesy of Mei Lin.

Similar to what we saw at the last Chek Jawa trip, some of the seagrasses appeared to have blackened tips - perhaps due to the prolonged sun exposure during the drought?

Seagrasses with blackened tips. Photo courtesy of Mei Lin.

While the work at Cyrene is never easy, we are always rewarded by the rich biodiversity found on this patch reef.

A knobbly seastar chilling out in a bare batch near the end of our transect. Photo courtesy of  Rachel.

Is that seaweed? Look closely - its an octopus demonstrating an excellent example of mimicry. Photo courtesy of Mei Lin.

Here's the same octopus not pretending to be something else! Photo courtesy of Johannes.

There were also plenty of common seastars getting it on. Photo courtesy of Johannes.

A giant anemone among the seagrass. Photo courtesy of Mei Lin.

A commensal shrimp on another anemone. Photo courtesy of  Johannes.

Thank you Rachel, Siti, Nor Aishah, Mei Lin, Johnson, Juin Bin, Johannes and Michelle for making it down over the long weeked!

Photo courtesy of  Johannes.

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You can also sign up for the rest of 2014's trips at our database. Spaces are limited, so do it soon!

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