Corals: Nature’s Construction Company

Date October 3, 2018

Detail of coral polyps (Favia spp.) Photo: Nicholas Chew

By Aidan Mock: I was on exchange in Perth for a marine biology class when it happened. We were sharing what our favourite marine animals were and an earnest student who didn’t have a background in marine science piped up and said “I know that they’re not animals, but I find corals really cool”.

That sentence hung in the air for a moment. And then there was chaos. Read the rest of this entry »

Singapore’s Seahorses – Sex, soup and sleep

Date August 4, 2018

By Aidan Mock: When I first started conducting research for this article, I googled ‘Singapore seahorse’ to get a feel on whether Singaporeans associated this noble sea steed more with the oceans or with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). However, it came to my surprise that the top hits were related to neither option . Instead, it appears that Singaporeans primarily associate the wondrous seahorse with … sleep.

Unfortunately the seahorse logo itself is inaccurate (seahorses generally curl their tails forward not backwards) but perhaps that is the lesser crime in this image.

In an attempt to correct this egregious but forgivable association, I write about the seahorses that live on Singapore’s reef: who they are, what they do, and why they aren’t any better for your body despite what TCM medicine advocates would want you to believe.

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The Sharks of Singapore

Date July 19, 2018

If you were to mention ‘Singapore sharks’ to the average person on the street, the most likely response that you would get would be ‘…fin soup’. And then, depending on the environmental awareness of the respondent, either a heavy sigh or a licking of the lips. However, few Singaporeans know that Singapore has real live sharks, and I’m not talking about the sort that live in aquariums or work in the financial industry.

In this post, I highlight the beautiful local sharks of Singapore and share some of their unique traits. I also speak to a shark conservationist from Singapore and ask her what can be done to better protect these fine fishes. (Above: Hantu diver, Wyatt Ang, had his GoPro on at just the right time! Divers in the foreground missed the special encounter – wouldn’t it be great to have eyes on the back of your head!)

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World Oceans Day Singapore – A Plastic Nightmare

Date June 25, 2018

By Aidan Mock: This month we celebrate World Oceans Day! The focus of this year’s World Oceans Day was to inspire action to prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean. In this post, we highlight the scale of plastic pollution in Singapore, feature the activities organised by marine organisations in Singapore to celebrate the special day, and survey the things that we can do to reduce our plastic footprint.

A plastic balloon seen on the Hantu reef in 2014.

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Hantu Blog – 15 years of coral reef outreach and education in Singapore

Date June 17, 2018

By Aidan Mock: The Hantu Blog celebrates its 15th Anniversary this year with – but of course – a dive at Pulau Hantu! Many creatures were spotted during the dive, demonstrating that there is still much biodiversity to be found. Highlights from the dive (and a quick walk down memory lane) after the jump!

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Singapore’s own Crush and Squirt

Date June 4, 2018

By Aidan Mock: Reflecting on World Turtle Day, I recall two memorable characters from my childhood, Crush and Squirt – the chilled-out turtles from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. The turtles in the movie were plying the east coast of Australia, but did you know that the hippie turtles depicted in the movie have friends that live right here in Singapore? Singapore’s southern islands has resident Hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), and as it turns out, this little red dot might play an important role in facilitating Hawksbill turtle migration in Southeast Asia, and several brave turtles have already set up shop in our waters! Here’s introducing our humble half-shelled residents! Explore their life story in Singapore, and hop on to the current for a ride!

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Coral Rebirth on Satumu reef

Date April 23, 2018

Early this month, Hantu-blog contributor Chay Hoon was fortunate enough to witness and capture a rare event within the Singapore marine ecosystem – mass coral spawning. This mass reproductive event occurs once a year and is difficult to precisely predict. Marine biologists in Singapore have been observing local reefs for over a decade to narrow down the event to the span of a few days. Thanks to years of tenaciously pursuing their curiosity, we get to get a glimpse of this amazing event through Chay Hoon’s photos.

A coral on the Hantu reef releasing its eggs into the water.

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Fabulous cuttlefish and flying dragons

Date April 13, 2018

By Aidan Mock – Last month, regular Hantu blog diver, Toh Chay Hoon, took another trip to the Hantu reefs and photographed a fascinating array of creatures. In this article, we share some of the beautiful things she saw on the reef! (Photos courtesy of Chay Hoon)

A cuttlefish with its mandibles (beak) visible, perhaps it was thinking of taking a bite?

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Nudibranchs – What on earth are they?

Date March 14, 2018

By Aidan Mock: As a diver, I have long wondered what exactly nudibranchs are. They are one of the more commonly sighted creatures on the Hantu reefs and come in an amazing array of colours, shapes, and sizes, but I’ve never really see them doing anything. I decided to spend some time investigating these creatures and share about them here. (Below: Dermatobranchus sp. spotted in Hantu on January 2018. Photo credit: Toh Chay Hoon)


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Swimmer Crabs

Date February 12, 2018

Red swimming crabs are a common sighting on many of Singapore’s shores, especially near reefs and coral rubble. They are especially active at night, are extremely fast in the water, and can be quite fierce! Don’t attempt to handle them! They give a good pinch! Read the rest of this entry »