I have been visiting the reefs off Tanah Merah since 2009 and it continues to be the best mainland coral reef despite being a reclaimed shore. It has suffered from the oil spill and coral bleaching period in 2010 and after about 6 years we are facing yet another coral bleaching period this year.
In case you are scratching your head wondering what is coral bleaching? Bleaching happens when corals (and also other cnidarians) lose the symbiotic algae in their bodies which help produce nutrients. It is the algae that give the animals their colour. Scientists think that most bleaching is caused by an increase in sea surface temperature. Find out more about bleaching in the Bleach Watch Singapore blog.
Boulder pore corals (Porites sp.), Circular mushroom coral (Fungia sp.), Thin Disk coral (Turbinaria sp.) and some greenish-looking Anemone coral (Goniopora sp.).
Cauliflower coral (Pocillopora sp.) in the middle is also one of the first few victims of thermal stress in the waters.
Boulder pore corals (Porites sp.) and Thin Disk coral (Turbinaria sp.). There's a huge jellyfish on the left!
Eight-banded butterflyfish (Chaetodon octofasciatus). They mainly feed on coral polyps.
China moon snail (Natica onca). This moon snail is not usually sighted.
Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus) during his survey in May, I was keen to see them for myself. And we were glad to find two baby ones! Other sea stars include the Common sea stars (Archaster typicus) and the Painted sand stars (Astropecten sp.).
That's all for the report from this trip. We will be checking another southern shore later this week and will give more updates on coral bleaching.
More photos of the trip can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/koksheng/shares/RM20P1