Aug 3, 2008

Semakau with TeamSeagrass

4am and we're out with the the fantastic TeamSeagrass folks for a pre-dawn trip to Pulau Semakau. This is a really special treat!
Those of us at the furthest site decided to wait for first light before laying out the tape. In the brief time, we explored the seagrass meadows and came across this very large sea anemone! It is probably Alicia sp., and Dr Daphne had earlier warned that these anemones sting powerfully. Indeed, it has all kinds of scary looking bumps on the body column. And the tentacles look like they mean business.

We had a very smooth monitoring session and finished at dawn! It was then time to explore the shores!Robin found this baby Knobbly sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)! They are not as common at Pulau Semakau as they are on Cyrene Reef. So it's nice to see one. The tide was really low and the visibility was fabulous! Here's the Team out at the reef edge.

At the reef edge were some animals that we rarely encounter higher up on the intertidal zone.
Like this enormous barrel sponge!

There were so many special hard corals encountered, that a separate post has been done about them.
Another special encounter was this Ocellated sea cucumber (Stichopus ocellatus) wedged among corals and under seaweeds.And this Curryfish sea cucumber (Stichopus herrmani). It has a very hard body texture with tiny little black tube feet on the flat underside.

In the deeper waters among the corals were amazing creatures!
A bunch of squid were hanging about in the water! They didn't swim away even as I approached closer.The group comprised several slim squids.With one broader squid. What's going on? Could the fatter one be a female and the others males who trying to be friendly with her? Hmmm. This is the first time I've seen so many of them together.
There was a beautiful batfish swimming elegantly among the corals. Besides this slow swimming fish, there were faster colourful fishes zooming about. I couldn't shoot them in time and haven't any ideas what they were. The rest of the team saw many seahorses, Chay Hoon spotted the Black-tipped reef shark again, and many small Blue-spotted fantail stingrays (Taeniura lymma) were encountered. Fortunately, no one got stung!There are many Bulb-tentacled sea anemones (Entacmea quadricolor) on Pulau Semakau. I know the Tomato anemonefish (Amphiprion fernatus) lives in these sea anemones. So kept a look out for them. It seems there's a tiny Tomato anemonefish in this one. But all I could see was tiny flashes of orange.But in deeper water, there was a larger sea anemone with a very handsome Tomato anemonefish in it!It was as curious about me as I was about it. And kept having a look at me!As we explored the shores, we noticed large fish traps on the shore. In the background are the industrial installations on Pulau Bukom.There was a boatload of many fishermen busy since dawn.And another boat with one fisherman a little further away.As we were leaving, another boatload of fisherman drove up and dropped anchor on the reef.During the landtour for TeamSeagrass, we had a brief glimpse of the fishfarm located at Pulau Semakau right next to our first and only coral nursery located on Semakau. In the background is the enormous oil rig parked there for maintenance.

Let's hope these do not permanently harm the rich and living reefs on Pulau Semakau.

More shared about this Semakau trip:

No comments: