Way before the full moon madness, the Hantu Bloggers had a fantastic dive at the reefs of Pulau Hantu. With sightings of feather stars and lots and lots of nudibranchs! Such as this large and beautiful Snakey Bornella nudibranch (Bornella anguilla) munching on a mouthful of hydroids!
The Semakau Book Project team made a flurry of trips and dives to Pulau Semakau in preparation for this coffee-table book about the biodiversity of this special island. The Book is be published in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Semakau Landfill.
While half the team went diving in Semakau's waters, another group explored the coastline at not-low-tide taking a closer look at the life on the high water mark and checking up on the very rare Seashore Bat Lily (Tacca leontopetaloides).
This plant was first discovered by Joseph Lai during the Semakau mangrove survey conducted by Zeehan Jaafar and Loh Tse Lynn in 2005. This plant is listed as Critically Endangered in the 2008 Red List of threatened plants of Singapore. It is restricted to a few populations in Pulau Semakau and Pulau Pawai (just opposite Pulau Semakau).
Alas, some areas were badly affected by marine litter that drift in all our waters and end up on all our shores, and signs of an ill mangrove tree were seen.
The team returned a few days later to explore the southern mangroves of Pulau Semakau and despite the rain saw lots of other interesting marine life.
Including this rare Cyptic sea star (Cryptasterina sp.) which has so far been seen only on Pulau Semakau. And special mangrove trees such as Ceriops tagal.
The Book team also joined TeamSeagrass for monitoring at Pulau Semakau. As usual, after the monitoring session, a quick walk around resulted in stunning sightings include sea stars, huge sea cucumbers, a very pretty Tomato anemone fish and other marine life.
This is not something people usually expect at a landfill.
A Cyrene wedding!
The newly-weds were the highlight of a TeamSeagrass monitoring session at Cyrene Reef. The first among Team members and the first on Cyrene Reef. And the seagrasses on Cyrene were in full bloom as if to celebrate the occasion.
Highlights of the trip included tiny bright orange brittle stars on a purple soft coral and some special sea stars. First-timers enjoyed the trip too!
Soft and special
Another shore that makes you go "WOW!" was visited. Because it's very soft and you easily end up literally in deep trouble. But also because of the amazing unexpected encounters there.
Such as gianormous sea stars, as well as some strange snails that the exploring team have not seen before. There was also earlier visit on 30 Nov to this shore.
Sentosa was much visited and discussed during this full moon. There were walks by the Naked Hermit Crabs for the annual family trip during the school holidays, as well as a special walk with SWA and a closer look at the more man-made parts of the Sentosa shores. Some thoughts were also shared about the possible impact of ZoukOut on the shores.
Other shore trips
A visit to a Changi shore impacted by 'beach improvement' shows some life still struggling there. Elsewhere, a rocky shore provides interesting encounters. The continuing low tides reveals Tanah Merah to be teeming with button snails, sand dollars and sand stars.
While Pasir Ris has living seagrass meadows and a galaxy of tiny creatures even in a shallow pool of weeds, such as the tiny Cerberilla nudibranch in the photo above. The Semakau guides also explored St. John's Island which still has rare mangroves and other surprises.
Outreach and efforts for our reefs and shores
Lots of work got done on the shores and in the classroom
- ReefFriends conducted a series of training sessions in December for volunteer divers participating in the programme to monitor reefs.
- The Hantu Bloggers gave a talk about our reefs to the Singapore American School.
- The Naked Hermit Crabs conducted an exciting free walk on the Chek Jawa boardwalk for the public, held every last Sunday of the month. With sightings of wild boar! As well as another walk for a group from IRAS with mudskippers and other sightings.
- The Naked Hermit Crabs also conducted a Sentosa walk for families during the school holidays, with sightings of nudibranchs and other marine life.
- Another Workshop for Nature Guides was conducted by the Leafmonkey Workshop, this time on Cnidarians.
- A brand new Pulau Ubin flickr group was set up to showcase this special island which boasts many unspoilt natural treasures, not just Chek Jawa.
- A bigger, wilder Sungei Buloh plans were announced during the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve anniversary celebrations.
- New seahorse ID book on the ashira blog.