Earth Day Coral Spawning Dive

Date April 27, 2008


I’m sure some of you who couldn’t make it for this dive have been wondering how much you’ve missed. The consolation is that you didn’t miss the coral spawning, but you still missed on some truly incredible night diving! (Above: Anemone with ascidians)


Marine biologist Jeffery Low was the unofficial scientific officer for this dive, which was also advised by Karrene Tun, another biologist who recommended the day for our dive. Karrene had been monitoring the development of egg sacs within the coral in specific sites in Singapore, and will be conducting certain experiments to better understand the reproduction of corals and the environmental factors that threaten or support them. (Above: Sleeping fish)


We set up 4 transects along the fringing reef and assigned a pair of buddies to work along each 20m transect. The point of the transect was simply to avoid double counting any corals that had spawned. So each buddy hung out and of course they didn’t just twiddle their thumbs as they indefinitely waited for the corals to spawn! With some of the most advanced spotters the Blog has ever encountered, camera flashes were ablaze across the reef as some of the most minute to some of the truly largest creatures on the reef were being photographed and observed! (Above: Octopus)

IMG_4824IMG_4826swimmer crabeight banded butterflyfishflatworms

IMG_4857IMG_4863Decorator crabCrinoidCrinoid

The night began with our encounter with Betsy the large hawksbill turtle as I posted yesterday. She truly is a large one and this time we weren’t just guessing! Because she was lying right next to the transect tape we were literally able to measure her up! From head to base of carapace, she measured about a meter! Her shell was covered with algae and freckled with barnacles. I’m blown away just thinking about how old she might be and the changes she must’ve witnessed and experienced as a turtle living in Singapore. Did she get a chance to mate? Did she ever return to shore to lay her eggs? I wonder, I wonder… (Above: [top row] Coral crab, shrimp, swimmer crab, eight-banded butterflyfish, flatworms [bottom row] box crab, swimmer crab, decorator crab, ‘closed’ crinoid, ‘open’ crinoid)

acopora goby

Some things you don’t have to wonder about though, is the myriad of macro (and mega) fauna that dotted every bit of reef, which certainly bursts into a spectacle of life at night. I’ll let the following images of shrimps, crabs, tiny fish, and some amaturish videos, do the talking. The only other largish animal I encountered on the reef was the blue spotted fan tail ray, which I was too absorbed watching that I at first forgot but later decided not to document (sorry!). To understand what it’s like, perhaps you’ll have to let yourself experience it first hand… (Above: Acopora goby)

shrimp in acopora coral

A rare find: Divers are more used to finding this Imperial shrimp riding on the backs of the Spanish dancer nudibranch. Here is finds safety in an Acopora coral.

A young Yellow-finned angelfish tries to remain safe from predators by hiding deep within this coral, but safety doesn’t come easy on the reef. Several predators look for food by creeping within the corals as well.

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