Palau International Coral Reef Center-PICRC

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Palau International Coral Reef Center

20 May, 2015



Results of New Study of Palau Marine Environment To Be Released This Week

In September 2014, the Palau International Coral Reef Center worked closely with top coral reef scientists on a study conducted to assess the health of Palau’s marine environment in conjunction with an expedition led by the National Geographic Society.  In addition, the expedition aimed to evaluate the efficacy of Palau’s established marine protected areas.  The results of the study will be briefed this week to Palauan leaders at a series of meetings to be held at the Center beginning today.

Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Chief Executive Officer of the Palau International Coral Reef Center, along with Dr. Alan Friedlander of the University of Hawaii and the National Geographic Society, conducted the study and will present its results.  This is the first comprehensive study of the efficacy of Palau’s current system of small marine protected areas.  At the time of the study last fall, both Dr. Golbuu and Dr. Friedlander were impressed with the relative health of the deep-sea environment, and found the near-shore protected areas to be among the most pristine in the Pacific.

The study, which was recently completed, compares Palau’s deep-sea and off-shore protected areas to similar coral reef and deep water environments.  The question of whether protected areas work is one for which there is a growing body of evidence globally supporting the establishment of reserves.  This study was limited to the current near-shore marine protected areas in Palau, but it was designed to assess the potential for positive environmental impacts if the proposed large-scale sanctuary in Palau’s national waters was established.

A summary of the results of the study will be available to the public on Wednesday at the Center’s web site, Copies of the full report will also be available at the Center later this week.


20 May, 2015



PICRC Board of Directors commends staff for their exemplary work

On Monday, May 18, 2015, Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC’s) Board of Directors held a luncheon with PICRC staff to thank and reward them for their outstanding work and service.  The luncheon was attended by Mr. Noah Idechong, Chairman, Mr. Hiroyuki Tanaka, Vice Chair, Ms. Alfonsa Koshiba, Treasurer and Honorable Elbuchel Sadang, board member.

All PICRC staff were in attendance at the luncheon with board members.  In his remark to the staff, Chairman Idechong thanked the staff for their dedication and teamwork and congratulated them on their achievements, especially with the preparations for visit by Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan.  He also acknowledged and thanked the people and the government of Palau for their support to PICRC.

After Chairman Idechong’s remarks, the board members presented each staff with a certificate and a reward.  According to PICRC’s employee manual, the Board of Directors, in their own discretion, may provide commendations and rewards to staff for their outstanding performance.  In PICRC’s 14-year history, this is the first time the Board of Directors have issued such certificates and rewards.

PICRC currently has 23 full time staff working on the different areas, including research, aquarium, gift shop, maintenance, security, and administration. In addition to the 23 staff, there are four post-doctoral researchers, one PhD student, one project coordinator and several interns and volunteers. The four post-doctoral researchers come from Japan, Australia, France and Malaysia.


20 May, 2015



PICRC hosts intern from Germany

Dina Biehn from Germany joined Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) from May 4th until the beginning of June as an intern. She will be working for the PICRC Research Department under the supervision of Dr. Alyssa Marshell, a post-doctoral researcher from the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab, University of Queensland Australia. Dina will assist PICRC researchers and Dr. Marshell on numerous projects investigating the important ecological role of herbivorous fish and their grazing impact on algal growth.

Dina is a graduate from the University of Oldenburg in Germany last summer with a degree in environmental science. She did her scientific divers license and worked as an intern for three months to collect data for her bachelor thesis at the Alfred-Wegener-Institute (AWI) on a small island called Helgoland in the German North Sea. She also writes articles about the work of scientific divers for a German dive magazine to show the importance of marine research and protected areas. Dina decided to take a gap year before doing her master degree in marine biology next summer and looks forward to gaining experience at PICRC.

Dina is excited to be here in Palau and is looking forward to exploring all the beautiful islands and reefs in Palau throughout her time with PICRC team. PICRC is always happy to host interns because of the significant contribution they make to their programs and projects. Currently, PICRC hosts interns from local schools such as Palau Mission Academy and Palau Community College including an intern from Germany, and a volunteer from Japan. PICRC continues to attract interns and volunteers from all over the world and will host more students during summer. For more information about the PICRCs Research Education and Aquarium Programs, visit or “Like” PICRC on Facebook.


29 April, 2015

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Palau Aquarium hosts Omekesang & Palau Parents Empowered during National Disability Awareness Week

On Thursday, April 23rd, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC’s) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Yimnang Golbuu and Chief Aquarist Asap Bukurrou welcomed Omekesang and Palau Parents Empowered to Palau Aquarium as part of the National Disability Awareness Week celebration.  After the welcome, Mr. Bukurrou took the group of over 20 members, including doctors, specialists and staff of the Behavioral Health Department of Belau National Hospital, on a guided tour around the aquarium. The group was amazed and excited to see Palau’s marine habitats as they moved from one exhibit to another. They learned about the diversity of Palau’s marine organisms starting from the Mangroves, Seagrass, Touch Tank, Inner Reef and all the indoor exhibits including the special displays on Palau’s Gobies. In addition to the special displays, they were also thrilled to see Sea Jellies and the Palau Nautilus.

Palau Aquarium’s pathway was constructed two years ago to incorporate wheelchair ramps to give disabled guests expanded access to viewpoints at the inner reef and touch tank exhibits. The main walking path through the outdoor aquarium exhibits to the touch tank exhibit and gazebos are located on a hill overlooking the main path and are wheelchair accessible. The path also extends around the Seagrass Exhibit, allowing for an elevated view of the exhibit.

PICRC is proud to be part of the National Disability Awareness Week and to showcase its facility and its efforts to be accessible to all the people, including the disabled. Palau Aquarium has an important role in the community and will continue to update and improve the displays and the facility to educate and accommodate all visitors.