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The Sea Anemone Lecture 22 Jun 2011

Posted by cat64fish in Land-lubber stories.
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I attended the talk on sea anemones of Singapore last night, and met Daphne Fautin again 4 years after our first meeting. Like any good taxonomist, she found my face familiar, if not the name!

The leading expert on anemones, she has chased these under-appreciated creatures all over the world, from shallow inter-tidal shores to the depths of the deepest oceans. But never did she expect to find such treasures in our highly modified shores – over 50 different species, some of which she has never seen before! Singapore still has some surprises to throw our way, making it imperative that we renew our efforts to get to know our biodiversity better.

Others would have blogged or Twittered about the talk, so I will not attempt to repeat it here, other than to pen down what I found interesting:

1. The large anemones that are associated to anemonefishes, can live up to 100 or more years! This is based on some historical records, and the fact that anemonefishes can live up to a decade. The successional hierarchy of an anemonefish group (1 dominant female, a smaller adult male, and several “suppressed” juveniles) also indicates a long-lived host.

2. There are 2 times more species of anemones in Singapore than there are in the western North American coast from Vancouver (British Columbia, Canadia .. oops, I mean Canada) down to Santa Barbara (California, USA).

3. Anemone reproduction is not well documented, even for the more common Heteractis magnifica, which are common in the waters in the region, and also in Singapore. It may be worth while to target reefs with a lot of anemones during our coral spawning observations (a lot of assumptions here: that the anemones spawn at the same time, that the spawning is visible, etc).

The talk (and I am sure the workshop preceding it) was inspiring, and hopefully will spur us towards a greater understanding of our flora and fauna.

Links:
Sea Anemones of Pulau Hantu
Sea Anemone Workshop 2011
Kok Sheng’s Flickr

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