CITIZEN SCIENCE EXPEDITION
PARTICIPATE IN LOCAL MARINE CONSERVATION
ReefX is an initiative for recreational scuba divers to contribute towards local reef conservation work in Singapore. On our expeditions, you will get involved with every aspect, from measuring sea cucumbers and recording depths of fish, to taking ID shots (maybe even creating a new biodiversity record!) and helping us input the data for the researchers. Through this experience, you will be undertaking first-hand marine conservation work.
The observational and baseline data we collect will offer a glimpse into long-term patterns and seasonal trends of marine life activities in Singapore's waters, and will go towards National Parks Board (NParks) knowledge base. Our divers are critical to the success of our monitoring programme, and the protection of our reefs.
Designed in consultation with NParks and NUS researchers, all new ReefX divers will be trained in Bioblitz, a beginner's survey method that will require divers to identify as many species as possible within a designated survey site and time period, documented through photography or videography. We will also be recording size, depth, behaviour, coral health, and conditions like visibility and currents.
All data collected from ReefX will go towards NParks marine database to improve their knowledge base and management of dive sites. Marine Stewards will also be adding the data to our marine resource, a growing collection of Singapore’s marine biodiversity often referred to by local seasporters.The four categories of marine life we will focus on for the bioblitz are:
Brain corals (Lobophylliidae)
Bubble corals (Euphylliidae)
Pore corals (Poritidae)
Mushroom corals (Fungidae)
Cauliflower corals (Pocillopora)
Cave corals and Disc corals (Dendrophylliidae
Table and Staghorn corals (Acropora)
Anemone corals (Goniopora)
Copperband butterflyfish (Chelomon rostratus)
Vermiculated angelfish (Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus)
Scads and Trevallies (Carangidae)
Blue dragon nudibranch
Polka dot nudibranch
Purple foot nudibranch
Shaun the Sheep!
Reef Ecology Lab, Wild Singapore
SURVEY SITE: PULAU HANTU
Pulau Hantu, known in local folklore as Ghost Island, is located in the southern shores of Singapore. Accessible by a thirty-minute boat ride, the island is a favourite with macro photographers.
Pulau Hantu hosts an abundant array of marine life, particularly nudibranchs with many common and rare species found in these waters. In the homes of sea fans, sponge corals, soft corals and anemone, you’ll find anemone fish, seahorses, crabs, spanish dancers, cuttlefish, octopus, barracuda, and the occasional hawksbill turtle even black tip reef shark if you’re lucky.
There are two dive sites - Hantu West and Hantu North. On the western side of the island, diving takes place between the shore and the outer reef, with a maximum depth of about 13-15 meters. Diving at Hantu North, also known as Hantu Jetty, is beneath the jetty or slightly to the west of the jetty, at a maximum depth of 8-10 meters. For data collection, we will focus on open reef areas.
Due to its position in the middle of the Straits of Singapore, currents can be strong and unpredictable, and visibility at Pulau Hantu can range from 0.5 to 5 meters. Good buoyancy control and experience in dealing with low visibility and strong currents is a must to be effective at underwater data collection without harming the reefs and to stay safe.
Especially during the pandemic, Pulau Hantu has experienced high volumes of diving, resulting in broken corals and disturbed marine sanctuaries. ReefX has selected Pulau Hantu as our first survey site to collect long term monitoring data, which will be used to inform NParks management of the dive site and marine conservation policies, with the hopes that Pulau Hantu can remain the favourite dive site of Singapore underwater residents.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Being a ReefX diver will transform your local diving experience. Our programme allows you to get hands-on with underwater data collection, deepen your understanding of marine conservation and biodiversity, whilst meeting other fellow conservation divers. We are looking for enthusiastic, nature-loving people who are not afraid of the hard work!
We welcome people of all talents, ages and nationalities, it is through this diversity that makes our expeditions so special and successful.
Marine Stewards has a responsibility to minimise negative impacts on local environments when conducting our work. Due to the challenging underwater conditions at Pulau Hantu, we have revised the minimum requirements especially for local logged dives to ensure safety and that no reefs are harmed in the process of underwater data collection.
Advanced Open Water certification and above
Minimum 20 total logged dives
Minimum 10 logged dives in Singapore waters, logged within years 2021 and 2022
Bring your own / rented underwater camera
Bring your own / rented diving gear
ReefX divers naturally represent and serve as ambassadors of Marine Stewards, and it is the divers’ responsibility to bring their best self to the work, to the people, and to the reefs.
1. ReefX Information Session
Only for eligible divers (as of July 2022) who registered, this session will cover all you need to know about ReefX before we kick off the expeditions!
Date: 20th July, Wednesday
Time: 8pm - 9pm
Venue: Singapore Sustainability Academy @ City Square Mall
Run by Marine Stewards and National Parks, the ReefX Information Session will cover an overview of the programme and expedition, basics of marine life taxonomies, Bioblitz documentation techniques, diving etiquette and conduct, and data input procedures.
The bioblitz training will be led by:
- Dr Jeffrey Low, Senior Researcher, National Parks
- Sue Ye, Founder, Marine Stewards
- Shahidah Binte Mohamed Suhaimy, Dive Lead, Marine Stewards
- Andrea Leong, Programme Director, Marine Stewards
*You are welcome to book the ReefX Expedition before or after the Information Session.
2. ReefX Expeditions
After the Information Session, you're all set to join our expeditions! Expeditions will run monthly from September to December 2022, at the reefs of Pulau Hantu.
Dates: September, October, November, December 2022
Max. No. of Divers per Expedition: 21 divers (ration of 1 ReefX Guide to 3 divers)
Each month's expedition will comprise of:
Key Expedition Dates:
*This table is truncated on mobile and is best viewed on desktop version.
Upon successful course completion
ReefX divers will be awarded a certificate of participation.
Divers who demonstrate aptitude will be invited for future survey dives, subject to availability of spots on the expedition.
Eligible divers have been invited to book their expeditions. After booking is complete, we will send you the detailed trip information three weeks before the start of the expedition.
Programme fees are an important part of helping to keep Marine Stewards in operation. These fees go towards covering the boat and tank rentals on two dive days, allowances for our guides, data storage and management, and programme-related expenses around administrative, logistics and accounts work. We hope divers understand that ReefX is a long term effort and committed individuals are encouraged to return on a regular basis to conduct survey dives. As such programme fees include a one-year Marine Stewards membership and a limited edition Marine Stewards trucker cap.
Land-Based Volunteer Programme
If you are not a diver, no problem! We welcome people of all skill sets, backgrounds, ages and nationalities, with a shared love for marine conservation, strong work ethics and a can-do attitude, to join our land-based team! You will be given the opportunity to get hands-on with expedition planning, data recording, publicity and events, scientific support, and safety protocols. You may also get to join us on some dives, subject to space and funding availability. Visit our ReefX Land-Based Volunteer Programme for more information and how to sign up.
Reef Ecology, Marine Fauna and Bioblitz Photography
E-Learning Theory Session
The lecture aims to introduce students to coral reef ecology and how to generally identify key biotic and abiotic components of the reef.
17 Sep, PM
8 Oct, PM
5 Nov, PM
3 Dec, PM
22 Sep, 8PM
13 Oct, 8PM
10 Nov, 8PM
8 Dec, 8PM
24 Sep, AM
22 Oct, PM
19 Nov, PM
17 Dec, PM
By 30 Sep, 5PM
By 31 Oct, 5PM
By 30 Nov, 5PM
By 31 Dec, 5PM