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Coral spawning 2014 26 Apr 2014

Posted by cat64fish in Tales from the N2 bar.
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No time to write up this year’s trip, but others have already done so!

My Flickr photos of the dive trip: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cat64fish/sets/72157644113430962/

Tan Chuan Jin’s Facebook post: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.708356862540425.1073741902.182928775083239&type=1

WildSingapore’s write up: http://wildshores.blogspot.sg/2014/04/mass-coral-spawning-2014.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+WildShoresOfSingapore+%28wild+shores+of+singapore%29#.U1tn46JIphQ

2013 in review 31 Dec 2013

Posted by cat64fish in Land-lubber stories.
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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

More noteworthy fish for Singapore 20 Mar 2013

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My article on new and rare sightings of fish in Singapore is out in Nature in Singapore.

Stalking a Blue-tailed Dartfish 2 Jan 2013

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Zee and Debby have a paper out in Nature in Singapore, documenting the observation of a new fish record for Singapore: the Blue-tailed Dartfish (Ptereleotris hanae). Check out the video link the electronic version of the paper, showing a pair of them at Palau Hantu. A really beautiful fish, but shy and elusive; up till Zee asked me for a still image of the fish, the video was our best record for its occurrence in Singapore.

I’d seen the fish twice before at Hantu, once at the western side, and once at the northern tip near Bukom; both times, I didn’t get a useable image – being a particularly shy fish, getting up close and personal with it was very difficult, and the sediment in the water made long-distance shots almost impossible. The third time was the charm though, because this time, the fish was out and about, apparently busy feeding on plankton. After several attempts at long-distance (long distance here meaning more than 1.5m away) proved unsuccessful, I decided to just acclimatize the fish to my presence by just hanging around its feeding range, and trying my best to look busy taking photos of anything else except the fish. The ruse seemed to work (or maybe it was just very hungry!) – after about 15mins (and my inching in about half a meter), the fish seemed to ignore me and my buddy’s presence.

Taking this once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity, I happily snapped away before cold and lack of air ended our encounter. Of the 2 dozen or so images I took, only about a quarter of them turned out to be useable, and the best one was chosen for the paper.


Yay! 😀

Angelfishes of Singapore 23 Aug 2012

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Singapore has four species of angelfish that I know of:

1. Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus (Vermiculated Angelfish)
Photo by Khoo Minsheng

A common fish on our reefs; not abundant, but usually a pair can be seen on a dive. Commonly mistaken for a butterflyfish.

2. Pomacanthus annularis (Blue Ring Angelfish)
Not commonly seen on a reef; there used to be one resident at the artificial reefs I studied off Pulau Hantu. Adults have a distinctly white tail and blue diagonal stripes; juveniles have alternating iridescent light blue and dark stripes.

3. Pomacanthus imperator (Emperor Angelfish)
Photo not taken in Singapore!

Only seen once before at an artificial reef site off Pulau Hantu.

4. Pomacanthus sexstriatus (Six-barred Angelfish)

Not so common on our reefs, but exciting to see them when they appear. Typically wary of divers, they will stay out in the open and eye-ball you if you keep calm and keep your distance.

Anyone know of more?

Low, JKY and LM Chou, 1992. Distribution of coral reef fish in Singapore. LM Chou and CR Wilkinson (eds.) 1992. Third ASEAN Science and Technology Week Conference Proceedings, Vol 6, Marine Science: Living Coastal Resources, 21-23 Sep 1992, Singapore. Dept of Zoology, National University of Singapore and National Science and Technology Board, Singapore.

Lim, KKP and JKY Low, 1998. A guide to common marine fishes of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 163pp.

Low, JKY and LM Chou, 1999. Fish community development at two types of artificial reefs in Singapore. Proc. 9th JSPS Joint Sem. Mar. Fish Sci. pp241-252, 1999.

Coral spawning 2012 27 Apr 2012

Posted by cat64fish in Tales from the N2 bar.
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The corals were at it again … mass spawning that is. Two years after the last El Nino bleaching, the mass spawners seem to have recovered from their ordeal and were popping up sperm and egg packets in an almost never-ending stream of orgiastic delight. Over three nights, researchers from NUS and NParks visited the Pulau Satumu reef to observe and document this event.

The conditions were almost perfect – there was almost no wind, waters were calm, and visibility was good (averaging about 4m). The sunsets before each dive were spectacular!

Sunset 1

Sunset 2

Sunset 3

The first night saw sporadic puffs of egg packets – nothing spectacular. The second night was more exciting – the first corals started spawning around 8.30pm, comprising mostly faviids, one or two Galaxeas, and a rare observation of a Diploastrea colony spawning – hard to miss, since it squirted its hard-to-see spawn into a researchers face! On the final night of our voyeuristic observations, even more corals spawned; it was a good thing there were 7 of us on the reef, which enabled us to not only capture multiple colonies spawning, but also to capture the entire spawning sequence of some colonies.

A Favites coral showing signs of “setting” (just prior to the release of the gametes, you can see the orange-coloured bundles rising to the mouth of the corallite).

Shortly after setting, the gametes are released; in this case, as an “explosion” of orange-coloured balls.

Other species, such as this Pectinia, release their spawn as irregularly-shaped lumps or strings.

The total of number of species that spawned during our observations is still being tallied, and will contribute to a world-wide effort to better document these events. Hopefully we gathered enough information for a small paper to written (I’ll update if there is one).

More images and videos can be found on my Flickr Coral spawning 2012 set.

Tekukkor intertidal with the “seawall” girls 23 Dec 2011

Posted by cat64fish in Land-lubber stories.
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Was out and about with the “seawall” girls from EME Lab. It rained buckets – thank goodness for my Marmot Goretex shell.

While the girls and their “man-slave” were surveying the shore and the seawall, I took the opportunity to look at the Sargassum at the high water line.

The “seawall” girls and their “man-slave” 😛

Almost all the Sargassum here were S. polycystum. Almost all were short, with almost no vesicles. A spiny stem was the defining character for this species locally. I also waded into the water a bit, and even though it was the colour of teh tarik, the Sargassum were easily seen; collecting was a little bit more difficult, but not impossible.

Very short Sargassum polycystum, growing on the rocks at the high water mark. The spines on the stem are thick and obvious in this specimen.

Photography was almost impossible, although I managed to get a few shots in – the glass of the housing was almost constantly wet, and nothing dry to wipe it down with.

Finally finished at 4.45pm, called for the boat (which took 30 mins to get here, because the rain was so bad it was “white-out” almost everywhere). Cold, tired and hungry, I opted to eat a hot and spicy (and unhealthy) plate of Char Kway Teow after dropping the girls off. Yum. At least that will see me through the tedious task of pressing my Sargassum specimens.

All the photos I took can be found in my a Tekukkor set.

A short story of Semakau on POSKOD.SG 22 Dec 2011

Posted by cat64fish in Fellow junkies, Land-lubber stories.
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Marcus wrote a very interesting article on Semakau on POSKOD.SG.

More information on Semakau can be found here:

TeamSeagrass, who two survey seagrass sites on Semakau.
Blue Water Volunteers, who survey two coral reef sites at Semakau.
WildSingapore has a bunch of stuff on Semakau too!
Project Semakau also has many interesting stories to share.

The Hantu Blogger speaks! 26 Nov 2011

Posted by cat64fish in Land-lubber stories.
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Debby Ng, the Hantu Blogger, spoke today at the National Geographic Store (Singapore) on her pet topic – diving at Pulau Hantu! The 50-plus crowd were enthralled by the images taken from Singapore’s favourite dive spot, as Debby recalled encounters with nudibranchs, sea stars, turtles, sea snakes and all manner of creatures. One enthusiastic youngster (he must have been about 10) even asked how to get to Hantu on his on!

<img src="20111126_4358” alt=”” />

The talk was part of a series of talks on Singapore’s marine environment hosted by the National Geographic Store. Next week, Ria will speak about the secret shores of Singapore, and the week after, Siti will talk about the forests of the sea!

Afghan wildlife conservation talk 10 Nov 2011

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Afghan conservation talk