[Coral-List] Pulau Hantu and Indian Ocean subsequent bleaching events

Jeffrey Low cat64fish at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 11 23:28:57 EDT 2006

Hi Charles,
  It would interesting if you could give us a brief account of your memories from that time ... most of us (me being one of the oldest) do not have a clear idea of what our coral reefs were like back then. Anyone else who has visited Singapore's reefs in the 50s and 60s are welcome to throw in their comments too, at this point.
  However, to counter the website that reported the 'you have to bump into coral to notice them' ... and the "apparent" paucity of corals, check out the pictures and information from these sites:
  WildSingapore www.wildsingapore.com
  Coral Reefs of Singapore http://coralreef.edu.nus.sg
  My Flickr account www.flickr.com/photos/cat64fish (under Salu 24 Dec 2005 and Sudong 25 Dec 2005)
  I think what Tse Lynn was looking for was any thoughts on the proposed enclosure of a lagoon to create an artifical environment for corals. If anyone had already answered directly to her, apologies for bringing this up again.
  Indeed, the reefs we have left may be ghosts of their former self, but what we have left is still worth protecting. 
  Cheers, Jeff
Charles Sheppard <Charles.Sheppard at warwick.ac.uk> wrote:
  1. Tse-Lynn asks about Singapore's Pulau Hantu. It was a favourite coral reef in the late 1950s for many Singapore residents, including myself: spectacular, thriving and with clear waters, though a web site now says that the siltation and visibility can be so bad that 'you have to bump into coral to notice them'. Sadly, I didn't know my corals at the age of 10, so no 'baseline' there from me I'm afraid, shifting or not. 

One comment in the press statement on that island's proposed new reef is unintentionally saddening: 'Contrary to common belief, Singapore has natural reefs on its offshore islands.' Today those reefs may just be ghosts of their former selves, but then, I believe the name Pulau Hantu means Island of Ghosts.

2. Paul Muir asks, in relation to bleaching events in the Western Indian Ocean: 'what if there's two such events within a few years'. In fact there were - three even in some places. Observations show that in the Seychelles and Chagos (at least) additional bleaching events took place in 2002-4 or so, killing many of the post-1998 recruits in shallow waters. That may partly explain why recovery is taking so long in some places in that region, and why the shallowest few metres still show slow recovery. In Chagos, however, deeper recovery is now extremely encouraging. For that archipelago, I think the worst is over this year and there has been very little bleaching, unlike two years ago. We keep our fingers crossed every year at this time. But what a way to manage a planet!

Best Wishes
Dr Charles Sheppard
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Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov

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