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Palau International Coral Reef Center

18 August, 2014

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PICRC releases a new report on coral reef resilience across Micronesia

 

This month, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) released a report on Reef Resilience Assessment in the Federated States of Micronesia.  The report, written by PICRC researchers and their colleagues, presents the results of surveys conducted in Yap, Kosrae and Pohnpei.  PICRC researchers conducted 161 surveys in the three states of Federated States of Micronesia to assess corals, fish, and invertebrates such as clams and sea cucumbers.  Based on the results of these surveys, PICRC researchers developed maps showing resilient reef areas or areas that might be better in bouncing back and recovering from acute disturbances such as coral bleaching event or typhoons.

According to Lincoln Rehm, the lead author of the report, “It is important for coral reef management to know which reefs are resilient and therefore deserve special conservation focus, especially in light of the continuing rise in atmospheric CO2.  Global warming is anticipated to get worse and this will lead to increased water temperatures, which will result in greater frequency and severity of coral bleaching.

The resilient maps produced by the report can be used as a basis for setting aside protected areas or designing protected areas network. This regional research by PICRC supports its mission to guide efforts supporting coral reef stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world. A full list of all PICRC publications is available at the PICRC library and website (www.picrc.org). For a copy of this report or any other PICRC publications, please contact Ms. Ines Kintoki at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 

18 August, 2014

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PAN Conservation Officers Training begins

On Monday, August 11, 2014 Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) hosted a brief opening ceremony of the Palau Protected Network (PAN) Conservation Officer Training at the PICRC Kedarm Conference Room. The ceremony was opened by the PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, followed by special remarks by the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, Honorable Umiich Sengebau, Dr. Patrick U. Tellei, President of Palau Community College (PCC) and His Excellency Kazuhiro Tajiri, Ambassador of the Embassy of Japan and closed by Director Matsui Nobuaki of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Palau Office.  Over thirty participants attended the ceremony included Governors, Browny Salvador from Ngarchelong, Renguul Masahiro from Ngardmau, Tmewang Rengulbai from Airai and Maria Gates from Angaur State. Koror State Director Jose Ise, Administrative Officer Ernest Ongidobel, PAN Coordinators and conservation officers from the states of Koror, Ngardmau, Angaur, Ngaraard, Ngarchelong, Airai, and Kayangel and the staff of PICRC, PAN Office, PAN Fund and Japan Embassy were also present at the ceremony.

After the ceremony, the PAN Conservation training began at the PICRC Student Lab. PICRC Researchers, Marine Gouezo, Lincoln Rehm and Shirley Koshiba together with the Head of Research and Aquarium Department Geraldine Rengiil are conducting the training to a selected number of PAN conservation officers. Lessons and field activities during the training includes proper ecological methods in monitoring of MPAs; identification of corals, fish, invertebrates, seagrass; and managing and conserving our marine resources.

The purpose of the training is to help provide support in areas that conservation officers need and to be certified in managing their state Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Collaborating with PCC and PANO to conduct the training with the technical assistance of JICA and Palau Coral Reef Island Ecosystem (P-CoRIE) fulfill PICRC’s mission in supporting conservation and management for the perpetuation of marine and associated environments through research and education that is significant to Palau and relevant to the world.

 

 

18 August, 2014

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PICRC research shows temporary setback in the recovery of Palauan reefs following Typhoon Bopha

A new study published by a team of researchers from Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab at The University of Queensland, reported that a large bloom of seaweed that followed Typhoon Bopha in December 2012 caused a temporary setback in coral reef recovery, with baby corals failing to recolonize many of Palau’s eastern reefs during the annual coral spawning event.

The team which included the paper’s lead author, Dr. Christopher Doropoulos and the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) researchers Adelle Lukes Isechal and Victor Nestor, studied how the bloom of seaweed affected coral recovery at Bopha impacted reefs.

The study, published in the international scientific journal Coral Reefs, found that Bopha impacted reefs with blooms of large red seaweed known as Liagora, did not have any recruits or baby corals on them.  The results are troubling because baby corals that are essential for rapid coral reef recovery.  The timing of the bloom of seaweed was unfortunate, as the annual spawning event occurred during the peak of the seaweed bloom.

According to the authors of the study, the seaweed bloom deflected baby corals in a number of ways.

“Baby corals are initially found as swimming larvae before they choose their place to attach to the reef and settle for life, a critical step to their survival and the maintenance of coral reefs”.

“However, seaweed often produce toxic chemicals to outcompete and defend against other organisms. These chemicals can also affect swimming coral larvae, by deterring them from settlement and even killing them while they are larvae.”

Fortunately, the seaweed is now long gone from the affected reefs and the road to recovery is imminent.

Palau’s reefs have multiple spawning events throughout the year and the bloom of Liagora had more or less disappeared by April.  The researchers found that impacted reefs that didn’t have the seaweed after Bopha, such as Beluu Lukes, still had a good supply of baby corals. Given all the evidence, and maintenance of our fish populations, especially the herbivorous fishes, the researchers predict that recovery of the affected reefs should now be in full effect.

This research supports PICRC’s mission to guide efforts supporting coral reef stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world. For more information about this publication or any other PICRC publications, please contact Ines Kintoki at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

11 August, 2014

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PICRC receives a $20,000.00 check from Australian Government Small Grant Scheme

On Thursday, July 31st, Senator Brett Mason, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Australian Government Small Grants Scheme (SGS) program, presented a check of $20,000 to Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) to fund one of PICRC’s Programs to promote sustainable fisheries management in Palau. Joining Senator Brett Mason in the handover ceremony was Dr. Terry Beven, Australian Ambassador to Palau, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Dr. Arthur Chrenkoff, Senator’s Adviser, and Mr. Les Humphries, Parliamentary Secretary Liaison Officer.  Mr. Andrew Tabelual, the Director of Bureau of Education and Administration at Ministry of Education (MOE) and a former board member of PICRC, along with school teachers and students from Koror Elementary School were at PICRC to witness the handover ceremony.

The goal of this grant is to raise support for sustainable fisheries management by doing the following:  1) research, design, and install an exhibit about traditional, non-commercial fishing methods and the importance of fishing in Palau, 2) summarize and present the results of the research on the status of fish populations in Palau in an engaging displays and 3) conduct an aggressive community outreach program to highlight the issue of overfishing and raise support for effective management. With this grant, PICRC will help fund for transportations for school students to visit the Palau Aquarium where they would learn more about sustainable fishing practices and management in Palau.

Palau is an international leader in conservation management. The local government has passed many landmark laws that have designated Palau’s waters as a shark sanctuary, established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and regulated commercial fishing. Management focusing on fisheries is needed to complement the existing initiatives and improve fish stocks in Palau.  There is also limited information available to the public about the evolution from traditional fishing methods to contemporary fishing practices or how the local community draws on past practices as they develop policies to conserve their traditional resources. This project aims to educate the local community and tourists about these issues and serve as a location for discourse about contemporary fishing.

For more information about PICRC’s education and outreach programs, visit www.picrc.org or “Like” PICRC on Facebook. PICRC envisions people empowered with science and knowledge for effective marine conservation and management.