29 August 2016

Mass coral bleaching in Singapore: why should I care?

Singapore has amazing coral reefs! Sadly, they are turning white -- ‘bleaching’. As are many other reefs around the world, such as the gianormous Great Barrier Reef. What’s going on? And why should we care?
Mass coral bleaching on natural Pulau Semakau,
next to Singapore’s only landfill and
opposite petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom, Jul 2016
Since June, the survey team has seen mass coral bleaching on 25 intertidal reefy shores. From our remote southern most reef at Raffles Lighthouse, to our northern most reef at Beting Bronok off Pulau Tekong. From the massive encrustation of corals on 2km of seawall at East Coast Park, to reefs on Kusu Island just minutes from the Central Business District. Even the reefs on natural Pulau Semakau next to the landfill and opposite petrochemical plants on Pulau Bukom.

Here is a consolidation of our sightings and my thoughts on the issue.

Wild fun for kids during the September school holidays!

Exciting nature activities specially for kids are lined up for the coming school holidays! Lots of fun ways to discover and enjoy Singapore's biodiversity! The highlight is 3 & 4 Sep: Festival of Biodiversity. Volunteers will be at booths eager to share about Singapore's rich biodiversity. Cicada Tree Eco-Place will be conducting night wildlife watch walks in the garden on both days, from 6pm to 8pm.
Another special event is 3 Sep (Sat): Island-A-Hand with Outward Bound Singapore. Do your part to help save Mother Earth, make new friends, explore the OBS campus/other parts of Ubin/Coney Island, and take lots of beauty nature pictures. We promise you an experience that's both rewarding and fun!
And LOTS more activities for kids and the family ...

'Orange' water at Berlayar Creek

Berlayar Creek is a lovely natural stream edged by wild mangroves right next to Labrador MRT station. A boardwalk with two look outs allows you to enjoy the wildlife that live there.
I had heard that there was 'pollution' from upstream works that was starting to affect the mangrove trees there. The water in the Creek was indeed very orange, reminding me of the time when clay from a worksite was discharged into a mangrove at Punggol. But I didn't see large numbers of dead trees. So far, the mangroves seem good.

21 August 2016

Corals weeping at Raffles Lighthouse

For our last predawn survey for 2016, we checked out mass coral bleaching at Raffles Lighthouse. It was heartbreaking to see corals weeping.
Hard corals may produce slime in reaction to rain
(which we had lots of this morning).
Pulau Satumu, the location of Raffles Lighthouse, has the best reefs in Singapore. We could see the corals bleaching immediately from the jetty.
Today, we estimate about 10-30% of hard corals are bleaching, while about 10-20% of leathery soft corals were bleaching. About 20% of the hard corals have died recently. Thanks to Nick for organising the trip as part of his survey of sea anemones and related animals in Singapore.

20 August 2016

Mass coral bleaching at Cyrene Reef

Mass coral bleaching is still happening at Cyrene Reef. We first observed this about 2 months ago in June 2016. At that time, about 80-90% of the hard corals and soft corals that I saw were bleaching.
Today, from observations by the team, we estimate about 30-50% of hard corals are still bleaching, while only about 10-20% of leathery soft corals were bleaching. But, I sense about 20% of the hard corals have died. The shore is very much alive though. The rest of the team saw amazing animals such as another live Cone snail!

19 August 2016

Surveying stormy Changi

There is a lush seagrass meadow at Changi. We quickly surveyed it during breaks in stormy weather, and found it was still very much alive.
As usual, Changi is full of colourful echinoderms such as sea stars and sea cucumbers. Alas, this shore continues to be impacted by long fishing nets that appear to be laid every day.


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