Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Cyrene Reef


Cyrene Reef is made up of three submerged reef flats: Terumbu Pandan, Pandan Beacon and South Cyrene Beacon. Located off the southwest of Singapore’s main island, it is surrounded by petrochemical plants on Jurong Island and Pulau Bukom, and also by Pasir Panjang Container Terminals. Cyrene Reef also lies along a major shipping lane for huge container ships and other vessels. This submerged reef is exposed only at very low tides.

Despite its location, it has an extensive seagrass habitat of approximately 60 ha and with seven seagrass species (out of 11 recorded in Singapore) present: Enhalus acoroides, Cymodocea serrulata, Cymodocea rotundata, Halodule uninervis, Halophila ovalis, Thalassia hemprichii, and Syringodium isoetifolium. The feeding trails of Dugongs (Dugong dugon) have also been found in the seagrass meadows.

Cyrene has one of Singapore’s largest patch reef systems, with an abundance of marine life. This reef was recorded to have 37 genera of corals. When the tide retreats, leaving Cyrene Reef exposed, it is easy to see the large numbers of Knobbly Sea Stars (Protoreaster nodosus) that are often observed in varying sizes, a good sign that the population is reproducing. Visitors can also spot the Pentaceraster Sea Star (Pentaceraster mammilatus) that was first recorded in Singapore at Cyrene Reef. Among the wide array of other marine organisms is the endangered Grey Bonnet Snail (Phalium glaucum). As the tide returns to submerge the reef, Black-tipped Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus melanopterus) are commonly sighted.

Getting there

Cyrene Reef can only be visited at very low tides and by private boat charter. Clearance from Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) is required to visit Cyrene Reef.

Other Resources

McKenzie, L. J., R.L. Yoshida & R. G. Coles. 2012. Seagrass-Watch. www.seagrasswatch.org. (Accessed October 2012).

Tan, R. Cyrene Reef Exposed. http://cyrenereef.blogspot.sg/. (Accessed October 2012).

Tan, R. Wild Shores of Singapore. http://wildshores.blogspot.com/. (Accessed October 2012).

Tan, R. 2003. Wild Singapore. http://www.wildsingapore.com/. (Accessed October 2012).


Chou, L. M., 2011. Coastal Ecosystems. Pp. 64-72. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Goh, N. K. C. & L. M. Chou., 1992. A comparison of benthic life-form characteristics of a reef (Cyrene) nearest to and a reef (Raffles Lighthouse) furthest from mainland Singapore. Pp. 55-62. In: Chou, L. M. & C. R. Wilkinson (editors), 3rd ASEAN Science and Technology Week Conference Proceedings. Volume 6. Marine Science: Living Coastal Resources, 21-23 September 1992, Department of Zoology, National University of Singapore and National Science and Technology Board, Singapore, 471 pp.

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