Friday, January 29, 2010

Coral galore at Semakau-Sakeng seawall

Admist the crazy workload at my NIE course, I am all relieved to be able to squeeze some time to make it for today's trip to Semakau. Thankfully, I managed to arrive at the pier just on time after my lessons to set off for Mei Lin's clam hunt.


Today, we went to a new stretch of shore which lies outside the rock bund that surrounds Semakau landfill. This location is the former Pulau Sakeng. From far, it looked really dead but most of the life actually are found right at the edge after a closer look! Opposite is Pulau Jong.


There are many corals of all sorts, and it definitely reminds me of Tanah Merah.


As the tide today was not too low, I tried submerging my underwater camera to take some nice shots. I have some abovewater and underwater video footages, and will share with you all later on the next post after I upload them.


At some portions, the corals are rather crowded and there are three types of corals featured in this photograph! They are the Favid hard coral (Family Faviidae), Boulder pore coral (Porites sp.) and the Brain coral (Family Mussidae) from left to right.


I simply love this colony of Lettuce hard coral (Pavona sp.) which is bright green in colour and in good growth.


At the dark crevices between rocks and boulders are neon-orange coloured Cave corals (Tubastrea sp.). As their name suggests, these corals like to be in cave-like condition, in other words... DARK.


This is one of the rare nice shots I got of the corals. Why did I say that? It is because the waves have been splashing nonstop, covering the corals most of the time and thus make photographing tough.

The boulder coral on the right is a Favid hard coral (Family Faviidae), and the brownish coral on the left is the Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.). The main character and focus of this photo is the large pink coloured Acropora coral (Acropora sp.)!


More corals of both soft and hard!


And the remaining hard corals sighted include (from left clockwise): A real tiny recruit of the Circular mushroom coral, Flowery disk coral (Turbinaria sp.), Montipora coral (Montipora sp.) and Galaxy coral (Galaxea sp.).


Now over to soft corals, here's a feeble attempt (due to the splashing waves) to try and capture the real beauty of these corals on the reef.


This is a Leathery soft coral (Family Alcyoniidae) that looks like many dead man's hands.


The one on the left is another leathery soft coral and the right side shows the Asparagus flowery soft coral.


Here's another colony of the Asparagus flowery soft coral attached to the rock, with the background showing Pulau Sebarok, an island with petrochemical plants.


Wedged in between rocks, one can sometimes find life like this Giant carpet anemone (Stichodactyla gigantea).

Also, some snails were found on the rocks. Here are the two nicer ones.


Fireband Murex (Chicoreus torrefactus)


Spurred turban snail (Astraea calcar).


Last but not least, the only echinoderm find were the numerous Long-spined black sea urchin (Diadema sp.) that are found at the reef edge. There are many of them and almost all were adult sized.

Was wondering why this shore is not filled with the sargassum seaweed due to the current algae bloom season. Is it because they have been grazed by these sea urchins here or just that the channel of water has strong currents that discourage the growth of sargassum? Hmm...


Unfortunately, I also came across two that were stranded. Hope they will be fine after the tide came back.

Today's trip was cut short due to rain that came after which. We were so fortunate to have the van ride to and fro. Thanks to the staffs of NEA! :)

Will post the videos on another day to share with you all.

3 comments:

Ivan said...

Good point about the possibility that the urchins help control sargassum by grazing on them! Certainly something that needs to be looked into...

leavesnbloom said...

I find corals fascinating - it was great to see yours in their natural habitat rather than in an aquatic retail shop.

koksheng said...

Yes I agree with you leavesnbloom :)

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