living reefs of cyrene

hard and soft corals

Pentaceraster mammilatus

Knobbly sea stars

Next to major shipping lanes

Diadema sea urchin

red feather star

Cushion star

Lush seagrass meadows

Visiting Cyrene
Cyrene Reefs
coral reefs, seagrass meadows, sandy shores.

Uniquely Singapore! Cyrene's living reefs and lush seagrass meadows are just minutes from the mainland. More about our city reefs.

Special habitats on Cyrene
Cyrene has stunning seagrass meadows! Lush and vast, the meadows here are home to all but two of the seagrass species found in Singapore. As a result, Cyrene Reef is one of the primary sites monitored by TeamSeagrass.

The seagrasses are full of marinelife. In particular, Cyrene is rich in echinoderms: a group that includes sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sand dollars and feather stars. In this respect, Cyrene is very much like a Chek Jawa of the South!

Among the spectacular sea stars is the amazing Pentaceraster mammilatus, a new record for Singapore! It was previously known only from the western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. It has not been sighted on any of our other shores. More about the discovery of this star.

Cyrene is also home to abundant Knobbly sea stars (Protoreaster nodosus). This large cartoon-like sea star is listed among Singapore's threatened animals. Studies show that Cyrene is probably the only reef in Singapore whre juvenile Knobblies are commonly seen. In fact, Cyrene may be home to "the only sustainable population of Knobbly sea stars" (from the Star Tracker project).

Cyrene also has fabulous living reefs! In one survey reported in 1991, Cyrene Reefs was found to have "the highest diversity of hard corals, with 28 genera covering 48.06% of the transect". (from Hsu, L.H.L. and Chou, L.M. 1991. Assessment of reef resources at sites identified for artificial reef establishment in Singapore. abstract on the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO website)

Cyrene Reef also has stunning sandy shores alive with common sea stars and sand dollars!

A reef that's in the way?
Made up three submerged reef flats: Terumbu Pandan, Pandan Beacon and South Cyrene Beacon, Cyrene Reef is ringed by petrochemical plants on Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom. It is also right next to the container terminals on the mainland.

There's a chartlet of Cyrene Reef on the MPA website (PDF file) for a larger view of this map.

The Reef is also along major shipping lanes for huge container ships and other ocean-going vessels.

"Cyrene Reef is a key maritime crossroads where east-west traffic routes cross north-south traffic routes. In the order of five hundred ships in excess of 5,000 DWT per day transit the waters around the reefs." (from BMT Maritime Consultants project list: Cyrene Reef Marine Traffic Study, Singapore)

Fortunately, a series of beacons that ring Cyrene Reefs prevent collisions with the Reefs. The last major collision, as reported on the MPA website, was on 5 Dec 08 when a ferry ran aground on the Reefs.

Cyrene in Greek mythology
Various versions of Greek mythology describe Cyrene as an 'extraordinarily beautiful' woman descended from a river god and a nymph. She had a reputation as a huntress who guarded her father's herds from predators and was adept with javelin and sword. Apollo spied her wrestling a lion alone and bare-handed, and was so impressed that he carried her off and later founded a city in Libya and named it after her. Cyrene is said to have borne one son, who grew up to invent beekeeping.

The future of Cyrene?
Let's hope the Reef takes on the indomitable spirit of its namesake warrior woman, and fights bare-handed with the Lion to stay alive.

Does it make sense to conserve Cyrene Reef? Here's some thoughts.


Cyrene projects

Cyrene in public exhibitions

Cyrene in public talks

General information

More links

Media articles about Cyrene Reef
Field guides and references

FREE photos of marine life on cyrene reef. Make your own badge here.
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