Be a Star! Adopt a Star!

Adopt a unique Singapore star and learn more about Cyrene Reef, a major Knobbly Nursery!

A special event to be held at the Reef Celebrations!

by the Star Trackers and Naked Hermit Crabs

Anyone can name one of the 100 Knobbly sea stars found on Cyrene Reef. From large adults to baby stars! There's surely a star just for you! For a minimum donation of $50 make it your own. Proceeds will go towards the International Year of the Reef and Marine Roundtable marine conservation efforts.

Date: 9 Aug (Sat)
Time:10am-5pm
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (above Taman Serasi foodcourt), more about getting there.
Contact: iyor08singapore@gmail.com

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MAD for turtles! for kids

Betsy, our resident turtle at Pulau Hantu, photo by Toh Chay HoonMAD (make a difference) for turtles!

A special series of kids' activities to be held at the Reef Celebrations!

by Cicada Tree Eco-Place and Raffles Institution.

Especially for kids! Come learn about turtles and how we can make a difference in their lives and the lives of their marine friends by loving our reefs! Kids will learn about turtles and our reefs through fun activities ...

  • Fishing for help: this 'fishing' game will teach young kids about the threats turtles face and the steps kids can take to help turtles.
  • A story and animation about turtles and jellyfish: kids will hear a story and watch an animation on a laptop, and then play a simple computer-based game which will teach them about the threats turtles face and the steps kids can take to help turtles.
  • Turtles and reefs game: in this game which is modelled after the game of "catching", kids will learn about the important of reefs for the survival of turtles.
  • Pledge: kids will sign pledge cards on how they can help protect our reefs and hence our turtles and their friends.


About Cicada Tree Eco-Place: Cicada Tree Eco-Place is a new non-profit non-government organisation which promotes nature, culture and eco-living through environmental education. founded in 2007 (ROS 1055/2007) by educators and environmentalists, cicada tree eco-place will begin programs for kids (5 to 10 years old) and schools at the jacob ballas children's garden from august onwards. Called mad lessons for wildlife, these lessons will focus on animals, plants and ecology and how each of us can make a difference by lessening our carbon footprint through simple daily eco-actions. To receive a schedule of topics and dates, please email celine low at leopardcat@pacific.net.sg

About Raffles Institution’s work with Cicada Tree Eco-Place: RI has a program called RESEARCH EDUCATION AND SERVICE-LEARNING (RESL) program where the boys work with a vwo or ngo to learn more about a particular area of need and respond to that need by an action-based project. 2 groups of 5 boys worked with Cicada Tree Eco-Place to learn more about turtles. Cicada Tree Eco-Place provided initial ideas on projects on turtles while the boys spent 6 months researching about turtles and turtle outreach, and came up with activities on turtles for young children and will try these activities out with kindergarten children within the next 2 weeks. The activities, suitable for ages 4 to 8 years old will comprise games, stories and animation.

Date:
9 Aug (Sat)
Time: 12.30am-1pm
Venue: Green Pavilion (at the Information Centre), Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (above Taman Serasi foodcourt), more about getting there.
Contact: iyor08singapore@gmail.com


And what fabulous activities they were!

There were all kinds of games to help kids understand the threats to sea turtles and what we can do to make a difference.
A fishing game
A turtle game on laptops.
A boardgame with turtles.
Story-telling about turtles by Vilma herself.Which was really captivating!Thank you Vilma and friends!
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“Life and Death at Chek Jawa”

A special talk to be held at the Reef Celebrations!

by Loh Kok Sheng

Lauded for its high biodiversity with six distinct ecosystems, Chek Jawa received a ten year deferment from land reclamation in 2001 and has subsequently become a popular attraction among Singaporeans. However, a mass death of several marine animals occurred in January 2007. A study was later done to understand what contributed to the mass mortality event and evaluate the recovery of marine animals. It is true that a better understanding is essential to protect this fascinating shore. In this talk, Kok Sheng will share with the audience how is Chek Jawa faring and also his experiences and discoveries from the study.

About the speaker: Kok Sheng is currently an undergraduate in NUS, majoring in Life Sciences with specialization in Biology. In July 2007, he received the MOE Teaching Award. Kok Sheng has great interests in ecological work and did an UROPS (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme in Science) project under the supervision of N. Sivasothi, Peter Todd and Dan Rittschof. His project aimed to study the mass mortality and recruitment of macrofauna at Chek Jawa in Pulau Ubin. Since the project has application value in understanding and conserving the Singapore macrofauna at Chek Jawa, Kok Sheng's project has been featured in Protecting nature's beauty in The Straits Times (September 10, 2007), Embracing Passion Going Places, the NUS Advertorial in The Straits Times (March 25, 2008) and Tuesday Report: Children Of The Earth on Channel 8, Mediacorp TV (July 8, 2008). Kok Sheng is also a volunteer with TeamSeagrass, Naked Hermit Crabs and Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research. He also runs the Chek Jawa Mortality and Recruitment Project blog and God's Wonderful Creation blog.


Date:
9 Aug (Sat)
Time: 10.30am
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (above Taman Serasi foodcourt), more about getting there.
Contact: iyor08singapore@gmail.com

For more about Kok Sheng's Chek Jawa project see the Chek Jawa Mortality and Recruitment Project blog

Andy uploaded a video of this talk on his sgbeachbum blog. Also on our blog.

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“Wishing upon a star”

A special talk to be held at the Reef Celebrations!

by Tan Sijie & Chim Chee Kong
Star Trackers

The Knobbly seastar (Protoreaster nodosus) is perhaps one of the most charismatic features of our shores. However, sightings of this endangered species were rare and hence our understandings of local populations were poor. Recently, there was a widespread emergence of recruits at various shores and a discovery of a large population at Cyrene Reef. These findings rekindled our hopes in the future of this species in our waters. The Star Trackers grabbed this opportunity to collect scientific data, in the hope that they will be useful for the better management of the remaining populations in Singapore.

About the speakers: In 2008, Chim Chee Kong and Tan Sijie founded The Star Trackers, which has a blog to share knowledge and create public awareness regarding the knobbly seastar populations in Singapore.

Chee Kong is currently a Research Assistant with the Tropical Marine Science Institute, and has worked with various types of marine animals such as snails, seastars and snakes. He is obsessed with local nature and loves to share this passion with other people.

Sijie is the Education and Public Relations Officer for Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, NUS. His past research areas include water snakes and environmental conditions of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. With an immense interest in nature and research, he is often involved in public outreach and education.

Date: 9 Aug (Sat)
Time: 11.30am
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (above Taman Serasi foodcourt), more about getting there.
Contact: iyor08singapore@gmail.com

To learn more about Knobbly sea stars see the Star Tracker blog.

Andy has uploaded a videoclip of this talk on his sgbeachbum blog. Also on our blog.

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"Are there reefs left in Singapore?"

A special talk to be held at the Reef Celebrations

by Jeffrey Low
NParks National Biodiversity Centre

Singapore is well known as a "Garden City", and many people do not know the natural wonders that exist just off shore. As much of the country has been reclaimed, many of the marine environments have been impacted. However, marine life still has a tenuous hold in many of the islands off the coast of mainland Singapore.

A small, but growing, number of conservationists have endeavoured over the past 20 years to promote the conservation of our least known natural heritage. The speaker will give a brief insight into the history of the marine conservation movement in Singapore, focusing mainly on the southern islands and coral reefs. Individual efforts and group activities will also be discussed to highlight the actions Singaporeans can take to help conserve the wonderful underwater world.

About the speaker: Jeffrey graduated from NUS in with a Bachelors of Science degree in 1988, and obtaining his Masters degree in 1999. He has worked on many coral reef and marine-related projects as a Research Assistant with NUS, first at the Reef Ecology Laboratory and then at the Tropical Marine Science Institute. He joined NParks in 2003 as a Senior Biodiversity Officer, overseeing development and marine conservation issues in the southern islands of Singapore.

An experienced scuba diver with over 2000 dives, he has dived not only in many parts of Asia, but also on many of the reefs in Singapore. He is an active guide and trainer with the Blue Water Volunteers, a local marine conservation NGO, in their Reef Walk, Reef Friends and Reef Xplore! programmes.

He has also co-authored a Singapore Science Centre guidebook Common Marine Fishes of Singapore, was a research writer for the ASEANAREAN Expedition series The Marine Parks of Thailand (1997), as well as the for the Marine Parks of Indonesia (1999), in which he was also the principal underwater photographer.

Date: 9 Aug (Sat)
Time: 2pm
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (above Taman Serasi foodcourt), more about getting there.
Contact: iyor08singapore@gmail.com

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"Southern Haunt"

A special talk to be held at the Reef Celebrations!

by Debby Ng of the Hantu Bloggers

Pulau Hantu is one of Singapore's most renowned Southern Islands. Despite its prominence, it is constantly left to cope with a relentlessly changing coastline and marine environment. For a long time, the threats to Pulau Hantu have avoided the scrutiny of the public and the brilliance of its marine habitat gone unheralded. Debby Ng will bring clarity to the usually murky waters of Pulau Hantu with her underwater photos and videos.

About the speaker: Debby Ng is a full-time environmental journalist. She began her work in film and moved on to television, but eventually realised that she gained the most satisfaction from communicating her concerns on the environment through her photography and writing. Her work has been published in several regional and international magazines, including the award-winning Lebanese magazine, Environment & Development. She has also worked with numerous Asian and international non-government organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). In 2005 she assisted the Indonesian government in their assessment of fisheries, a project funded by The World Conservation Union (IUCN), the only conservation organisation with official observer status at the United Nations. Debby Ng is founder of the Hantu Blog, an education and awareness project powered entirely by volunteers and utilising free electronic media. She is also a volunteer dive guide and a freelance nature guide with Creative Kids.

Date: 9 Aug (Sat)
Time: 3pm
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (above Taman Serasi foodcourt), more about getting there.
Contact: iyor08singapore@gmail.com

For more about Pulau Hantu and the volunteers that dive there, visit the Hantu Blog.

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“Green, Mean, Photosynthesizing machines”

A special talk to be held at the Reef Celebrations!

by Yang Shufen of
TeamSeagrass
and NParks National Biodiversity Centre

Seagrasses are marine flowering plants that are the much forgotten cousins of the marine world. Find out more about Singapore's rich seagrass flora and the fauna that depend on these marine plants. Get to know the fun and wacky team that's looking after the health of our seagrasses and the adventures and scrapes they get themselves into!

About the speaker: Shufen is a Biology graduate from NUS. She's spent the last two and a half years working with the National Biodiversity Centre of NParks, the bulk of which was spent doing field surveys in both land and intertidal areas of Singapore. Although Shufen is a mangrove girl at heart, she also has a soft spot for seagrasses, which led her to agree to speak on behalf of Siti for the seagrasses of Singapore.

Date: 9 Aug (Sat)
Time: 4pm
Venue: Function Hall, Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens (above Taman Serasi foodcourt), more about getting there.
Contact: iyor08singapore@gmail.com

For more about seagrasses and the team, see the TeamSeagrass blog

Here's some photos of the talk!

Yes, seagrasses are important to Singaporeans!Kids ask the best questions!Shufen also shared some of the madcap adventures by TeamSeagrass.At the TeamSeagrass booth, volunteers share more of the joy of grass!With a look at some of the sea creatures that live in our marine meadows.
And a closer look at some live seagrasses from Cyrene Reefs!

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Sotong!

Among our favourite seafood, "sotong" or squids and cuttlefishes are commonly seen on some of our shores.

These delightful creatures are delicious to observe, with their colour changes and busy behaviour.

What are squids and cuttlefish? They are not fish! These animals are molluscs (Phylum Molusca) like snails, slugs and clams. They belong to the subgroup of molluscs called cephalopods (Class Cephalopoda) which include octopuses.

Compared to their more sedate cousins the slugs and snails, squids and cuttlefishes are fast-moving predators that hunt speedy prey like fish. They may also hunt snails and clams, crabs and prawns. Most have a horny bird-like beak to rip up prey.

Jet-propelled molluscs: Squids and cuttlefish squirt a jet of water out of a funnel to zoom off in the opposite direction. They can move in any direction, but move fastest backwards.

Squids tend to be more streamlined than cuttlefish. Squids are among the fastest aquatic invertebrates, some can reach speeds of up to 40km/hr. A cuttlefish can also hover or swim slowly by undulating the fins along the sides of its body. A squid does not have this all-round fin. Instead, the fin is limited to a triangular flap at the tip of the body, which acts as stabilisers.This ball-shaped squid, however, is not very streamlined. It reminds me of Dumbo the Flying elephant, with its pair of large fins around a fat body. It is sometimes seen on Changi, usually burying itself in sand when disturbed.

Lightweight shell: Relying on speed, squids and cuttlefish do not have a thick, heavy outer shell. Their shells are reduced to lightweight internal bones. In squids, the bone is thin and pencil-like. In cuttlefish, these are flat surfboards riddled with tiny gas-filled chambers. By controlling the amount of gas in the cuttlebone, the cuttlefish can control its bouyancy. The cuttlebone is often seen on the beach among the flotsam. Cuttlebones are sold in pet shops as a source of calcium for caged birds.

Armed and Dangerous: Squids and cuttlefish have eight arms. These arms are short and stout, with suckers along their entire length. Some have toothed suckers and hooks for an even better grip.

In addition to the eight arms, squids and cuttlefish also have a pair of tentacles. These may be twice as long as the arms, are thinner and have spoon-shaped tips. Only the tips have suckers. A squid or cuttlefish uses these two longer tentacles to grab prey. These tentacles shoot out and retract in an eye blink, bringing the prey within the grasp of the eight shorter arms which firmly grip the prey for the killing bite with its sharp beak.This tiny squid is common on our shores but often missed. In the photo on the left, you can see the two tentacles extended beyond the arms. And in the photo on the right, the little squid has caught a tiny shrimp!

Disappearing Ink: When alarmed, squids and cuttlefish may squirt a cloud of 'ink'. The ink may contain substances that affect the senses of other sea creatures. The inky clouded water also allows it to make a getaway. Sometimes, mucous is also released that 'holds' the ink into a shape that distracts the predator.Colourful Talk: Squids and cuttlefish can rapidly change colours to hide from predators and prey by matching their surroundings. The colour changes are achieved by contracting and expanding special 'pockets' of colour in their bodies.These colour changes are also used to communicate with each other, for example during courtship. In some species, males and females display different colours and patterns.

Eggs are laid in capsules, attached to hard objects and surfaces; or inserted into crevices and other hiding places. In the phots below are eggs found on seaweed and on sponges.
Some cuttlefish incorporate ink into the capsules, making them black.Squids usually mate only once in their life and die soon after mating and laying eggs. Cuttlefish don't produce as many eggs as squids.

People everywhere enjoy eating squids and cuttlefish. In Asia, they may be eaten freshly cooked, or they may be dried. They are also made into candied snacks. In the past, cuttlefish ink, called 'sepia', was used for writing and painting.

Squids also have a role in human medical applications. Squids have gigantic nerve cells that are relatively easy to study. Much of what we know about our own nervous system is based on studies of squid nerve cells. Several Nobel prizes were based on such studies! The squid's efficient jet propulsion system is also inspiring designs for better underwater vehicles.

None of our squids or cuttlefishes are listed among the endangered animals of Singapore. However, like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless visitors and over-collection can also affect local populations.

Sotong stupid? Locally, the word 'sotong' is often used to describe someone who is clueless. But obviously, squids and cuttlefishes are quite smart. So it's not certain why this came about.

Links to more
More photos of our squids and cuttlefishes on wildsingapore flickr

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Surprising Snails of Singapore

Almost everyone knows what a snail looks like. The familiar land snails that we see, however, are the tip of the snail iceberg. Most snails are marine!

You are almost certain to see a snail on almost every shore. They are found on moist rocks and boulders, on mangrove trees and other hard surfaces near the sea. They also creep among the seagrasses, while small ones creep ON seagrasses and seaweeds. Others plough through the sand. Yet more specialise on plants and animals of the coral rubble area or reefs.

The snails that most of us are familiar with typically has a large muscular foot supporting a the rest of the body and internal organs. In most, the entire snail can be retracted into a protective shell.

Shells for life: A snail makes its own shell and stays in the same shell all its life. It does not moult its shell like a crab does. You can only remove a snail from its shell by killing it. All shells sold as souvenirs are obtained by harvesting living snails and killing them.

A shell is made mostly of calcium carbonate and shell material is added to both the outer edge as well as existing shell so that a shell gets both bigger and thicker with age.The snail's shell is secreted by a thin, specialised tissue called the mantle. Pigment cells in the mantle create the beautiful colours and patterns of the shell.

Here's some of the beautiful patterns found in some of our moon snails (Family Naticidae).The outer surface of a shell is usually covered with a tough protein layer. Some snails may have a layer of fine brown hair (called periostracum) on their shells. The Spiral melongena (Pugilina cochlidium) is commonly seen on our shores. When the snail is alive, its shell is covered with hairs that trap sediments and thus camouflages this large snail. When the snail dies, the shell is smooth and bright orange. A hermit crab usually moves in to use the empty shell.

Mobile home: The shell protects a snail from drying out as well as from predators. Shells come in a a wide range of shapes, textures and sizes. These tell us a lot about the way of life of the owner. Some have spikes to keep off predators or large lips to protect them as they forage for food. Others have pointed tips to protect the siphon (long tube-like body part).

Snail door: There's one problem with the shell, there's a big hole in it!

Most snails close the shell opening with an operculum (a hard 'door') attached to the foot. The operculum may be thick and tough to prevent crabs from getting a grip of the edge of the door and digging out the snail.

Nerites (Family Neritidae) (in the photo on the left) are commonly seen on our rocky shores. They have door with a lock! The operculum locks shut so that its more difficult for crabs to dig out the snail.In the Turban snail (Turbo bruneus) (in the photo on the right), the operculum is thick and rounded, also thwarting crabs who might try to pry out the snail.

In others, the operculum is thin and flexible so that the snail can withdraw deep within the coiling shell out of reach of crab claws. Like this Top shell snail (Monodontia labio) in the photo on the left. In some shells, the opening may be narrow and thickened so crabs can't stick their fat pincers in. As in the dove snails (Family Columbellidae) in the photo on the right.

The operculum may also be used for more than just shutting the door. In Conch snails (Family Strombidae), the operculum is shaped like a dagger and used like a pole-vault to hop along.From left to right are the beautiful large spider conch (Lambis lambis) and the smaller edible Gong-gong (Strombus canarium).

What happens when a snail dies? Empty shells are not wasted! They are vital to hermit crabs. We should NOT take home empty shells from the shore as we might be depriving a hermit crab of a home. Also, these shells eventually break down into calcium that baby snails need to make their new homes.

Here's a group of the Striped hermit crabs (Clibanarius sp.) that have made homes out of a wide range of empty shells!
Although they look soft, some snails can drill holes through the shells of their prey. These snails are conveniently called Drills!

Drills (Family Muricidae) that live on the rocks prey on other shelled creatures, especially barnacles. To bore a hole through the victim's shell, a drill softens the shell with an acid secreted by a special gland on the underside of its foot. A hole is slowly created with a little help from its rough 'tongue' (called the radula). It can take eight hours for a drill to get through a shell 2mm thick. Yawn!
It is common to encounter drills on our rocky shores huddled together to lay masses of bright yellow egg capsules. Each egg capsule may contain 20-40 eggs. The egg capsules turn purple when the free-swimming larvae hatch.

Marine snails are among our favourite seafood. These include the Gong gong and other Conch snails, Chut Chut and other Creeper snails. Abalone is a gastropod and not a bivalve! Wild populations of this snail is under severe pressure from over collection.

Many snails are also killed merely for their shells.
Cowries are among the most sought after shells. Living snails are harvested and killed for the shell trade. The living snail, however, is often more beautiful than its empty shell.

Sadly, many of our beautiful and fascinating snails are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. Like other marine creatures, they are vulnerable to habitat loss due to reclamation or human activities along the coast that pollute the water. They are also vulnerable to trampling by careless visitors and over-collection for food and for their shells can affect local populations.
This large and beautiful Bailer snail (Melo melo) is among those listed among Singapore's threatened animals and is now only sighted on a few of our shores.

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Our cool clams!

Clams may seem boring but we have some pretty cool ones, like this heart-cockle that is sometimes seen.

Clams or bivalves are commonly seen on our shores. Sandy and muddy shores are particularly rich in buried bivalves. On rocky shores, oysters are permanently stuck to hard surfaces. While on reefs, magnificent giant clams may be seen.

What are bivalves? Bivalves are molluscs (Phylum Mollusca) that belong to Class Bivalvia. Bivalves include clams, mussels and oysters. 'Bivalve' means 'two valves'. Actually, a bivalve has one shell. It is more correct to say that it has a two-part shell, i.e., one shell made up of two parts. Each part of the shell is called a valve.

The valves are connected by a hinge and kept shut by one or two large muscles (called adductor muscles). When the bivalve relaxes its adductor muscles, a springy ligament causes the two valves to open. For some of our favourite seafood such as scallops, it is the adductor muscles that we eat and not the body of the animal. These muscles taste sweet because of the proteins found there.

Life in the slow lane: Bivalves are mostly sedentary and don't move about as much as snails. Many are adapted to live buried in soft sea bottoms, some live permanently attached to a hard surface. Being mostly immobile, peaceful filter-feeders, most bivalves don't have a head or a radula. Burrowing bivalves have a flattened, blade-like foot to burrow with. Oysters that stick to hard surfaces don't even have a foot.

Some bivalves like scallops, however, can 'swim' for a short distance by clapping their shells together.Sanctuary in the sand: Most bivalves bury themselves. Here they are safer from predators and keep cool and moist during low tide. They use their foot to burrow, then stick out two siphons to the surface. Water is sucked in through one siphon, and ejected through the other.How do they dig in? A bivalve has only one foot and no other limbs. Yet, it can dig into the sand, and some can do it very rapidly indeed! To dig in, the fleshy foot sticks out between the valves. The end of the foot is then expanded into a bulbous shape to form an anchor in the sand or mud. Water is then expelled from between the valves to loosen the sand and mud and the bivalve then quickly contracts its foot to pull itself deeper in. It does this repeatedly until it is at a comfortable depth. Different bivalves bury themselves to different depths. Those with more streamlined shapes dig deeper.Here is a razor clam digging in with its white muscular foot. The banded tube at the other end is the siphon.

Hanging by a thread: Many bivalves secrete byssus threads, strong protein fibres that can be used to cement themselves to hard surfaces and supports. Burying bivalves may use byssus threads to literally root themselves to the surrounding sand or small stones. The thread is produced by a gland near the foot. The foot gets a grip of the surface and the secretion from the gland flows along a groove in the foot. When the secretion hardens on contact with sea water, the foot is withdrawn.This large fan shell (Family Pinnidae) usually lies buried in the sand with the pointed end below. Here you can see the byssus thread that form on the pointed end to help anchor the animal in the sand.The jingle shell clam (Family Anomiidae) usually settles under stones. It has a two part shell, with an opening on the part that is against the stone, through which the byssus threads emerge to cling to the stone.

Bizarre Bivalves: Bivalves come in a vast array of shapes and forms. Some like Nest mussels, are 1cm long or less but can form vast 'nests'. The photo on the left is the nests formed on Chek Jawa covering metres of shore.Yet others like the Giant clam (Family Tridacnidae) are enormous and can reach nearly half a metre in length.Giant clams are among the largest bivalves to have ever existed on our planet! The two-part shell is thick and usually has a wavy opening that never closes completely. Unlike most other bivalves, the giant clam harbours symbiotic zooxanthallae (a kind of single-celled algae) in its fleshy body. The zooxanthalae produce food through photosynthesis. To maximise its "farm", the clam exposes these alga to the sunlight by facing the shell opening (and thus the body containing the algae) to sunlight.

Bivalves are among our favourite seafood. These include Ark clams (better known as 'see ham'), Oysters, Green mussels, Venus clams and tragically, even the large, beautiful Giant clams. Although all molluscs can produce pearls, pearls used commercially come mostly from farmed and not wild bivalves. Please don't vandalise our wild clams in the vain hope of finding valuable pearls.

Calamity Clam: Bivalves that are ordinarily safe to eat can at some seaons be highly poisonous to eat. This happens during a red tide or harmful algal bloom. Filter-feeding animals such as bivalves concentrate the toxins produced by these organisms. The toxins do not harm the bivalves, but can be fatal to humans and other animals such as otters that eat the bivalves. The toxins are not destroyed by cooking. At other times, filter feeding bivalves may also concentrate other unpleasant chemicals and bacteria which could make you ill.

Sadly, many of our beautiful and fascinating bivalves are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore. Like other marine creatures, they are vulnerable to habitat loss due to reclamation or human activities along the coast that pollute the water. They are also vulnerable to trampling by careless visitors and over-collection for food and for their shells can affect local populations.

Read more!