Palau International Coral Reef Center-PICRC

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Palau International Coral Reef Center

24 November 2015


Nearly 200 students visit Palau aquarium within a month and a half

Since the beginning of October up until now, Palau High School (PHS), Peleliu Elementary School, and Palau Community College (PCC) have visited the Palau Aquarium and used the Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) lab facilities. In addition to the tour of the aquarium, students also received special lectures by staff and researchers about ongoing research projects such as coral biology and the importance of herbivorous fish.

On October 13th and 14th, almost 150 students from PHS visited the Center for a special presentation on the 2017 Arts & Tides Calendar contest. The 2017 Arts & Tides calendar theme will focus on the important role of herbivorous fish. In addition to the presentation, students were either given a tour of the aquarium or given an activity sheet where they would observe the different ecosystems featured in the aquarium and answer related questions to the calendar presentation. A similar visit from Peleliu Elementary School eighth graders took place on November 11 with a total of nine students. Later that week, PICRC staff made a visit to Emmaus High School to present to all its students on the 2017 Arts & Tides Calendar.

In the first week of this month, two Palau Community College (PCC) science classes came to the Center. The Marine Biology class requested for a special lecture and demonstration by PICRC researcher and assistant researcher, Marine Gouezo and Dawnette Olsudong. The lecture covered a number of things like protected and commercially important fish in Palau as well as methods of data collection and analysis of different fish species. In addition, they covered how the data collected are important for fisheries management in Palau. The Natural History of Palau science class that visited used the aquarium to conduct their own activity for their class.

On November 16, a PHS chemistry class had visited the Center for their chemistry lab session on water quality. Researcher Dr. Chuki Hongo did a demonstration and an activity in the aquarium. In the demonstration, different tanks in the aquarium were tested and recorded for their pH, salinity, turbidity, and temperature. All the data collected from the different tanks were then compared and analyzed to determine how healthy a certain tank or ecosystem is like.

First graders from Maris Stella, third graders from George B. Harris Elementary School, and another PHS chemistry class are scheduled to visit the aquarium for presentations, activities, and aquarium tours later this month. An important objective of the Center is to be a “major interactive environmental awareness tool” to be “utilized by educators, students, community members, as well as visitors to Palau”. PICRC encourages schools, teachers, and community members to utilize the Center’s educational programs, information, and materials to help in their classroom curriculum. PICRC strives to reach more students and encourage more schools and teachers to utilize the center facilities and expertise in teaching marine science and conservation to their students.

For more information about PICRC’s school programs, please contact Ines Kintoki at 488-6950.



24 November 2015


PhD student from Stanford University works with PICRC and PCC on research project

Ms. Mallory Barkdull, a PhD student from Stanford University, collaborating with the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and Palau Community College (PCC) is back in Palau to continue her ongoing research on sediment movement in Ngermeduu Bay, Ngeremlengui. Ms. Barkdull has been travelling back and forth to Palau since 2014 conducting research and collaborating closely with PICRC, PCC, and Ngeremlengui State.

Ms. Barkdull is currently studying the physical mechanisms responsible for sediment transport in Ngermeduu Bay. Ngermeduu Bay is an estuary that links ridge to reef. In order to fully understand the connection from ridge to reef, an understanding of what is physically happening in the bay is needed. Where do sediments from land end up is a big part of her studies. In her research, Ms. Barkdull takes physical measurements of temperature, salinity, turbidity, currents, waves, and use this to make a model of how sediments move in the bay. The results of the work can be used to guide management of the bay.

Ms. Barkdull started her undergraduate education at Virginia Tech and received her B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2011. She then received her M.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University in 2012. She is currently working on her PhD at Stanford in Civil and Environmental Engineering. She is in the Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at Stanford.

To learn more about Ms. Barkdull's research, please join her on December 3, 2015 at the PICRC Kedarm Conference room for the Aquarium After Dark Lecture Series where she will give a presentation on her research findings to date. Ms. Barkdull's topic will be "Ngermeduu Bay - linking ridge to reef". Admission for the Aquarium After Dark Lecture Series is $2 per person. Purchase of After Dark Lecture admission includes a free visit to the Palau Aquarium, which will be open at 6 pm until the close of the presentation. The Giant Clam gift shop will also be open where drinks, snacks, and gifts will be available for purchase.


18 November 2015



No impact from Fukushima nuclear power plant accident on Palau’s waters, according to PICRC’s monitoring results

Results of seawater samples collected by Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and analyzed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Environment Laboratories in Monaco since 2013 show that there is no elevated radioactivity in Palau waters after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan.  The results from Palau show that the level of radioactivity detected is within background level for the Pacific Ocean. The monitoring and analyses for radioactive monitoring were made possible because of IAEA Technical Co-operation project, “Marine benchmark study on the possible impact of the Fukushima radioactive releases in the Asia-Pacific Region”.   “The results are very clear, to date, Palau waters have not impacted by the nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima, Japan, and there is no risk so far to the Palau environment.”, according to the Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO of PICRC and National Project Coordinator for Palau.

“The levels of radioactivity are very low, within the range of normal background values related to global sources. This means that to date the Fukushima radioactive signal has not been detected in Palau waters.” said Dr. Iolanda Osvath, Head of the IAEA's Radiometrics Laboratory and Technical Officer for the project. The Radiometrics Laboratory is an internationally recognized center for the study of the oceans by using radionuclides as environmental tracers. It assists the laboratories in this project to improve their methods of analysis and the reliability of their measurements.


The results from Palau and many island countries in the Pacific were presented and discussed in Tokyo, Japan from November 9-13 at the final project review meeting.  Dr. Golbuu attended the meeting and presented the results from Palau.  The project includes 24 countries, including six Pacific Island countries.  All the Pacific Island countries attending the meeting in Tokyo presented similar very low radioactivity results, indicating that there is no impact from the Fukushima nuclear accident in their waters.  Upon his return to Palau, Dr. Golbuu met with Director of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gustav Aitaro to brief him on the results of the radioactive sampling in Palau.

Palau joined twenty-one IAEA Member States and three non-member States on a project, “Marine benchmark study on the possible impact of the Fukushima radioactive releases in the Asia-Pacific Region”.  The Ministry of State, which is Palau’s focal point to IAEA, requested PICRC to be the National Project Coordinator for this project due to PICRC’s expertise in marine environmental monitoring.




13 November 2015


PICRC Holds Special Board Meeting focused on fundraising

On November 5, 2015, the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) held a special board meeting to discuss the launching of its Fundraising Campaign for 2016 as well as its fundraising strategies of the organization from 2016 to 2019.  The Fundraising Campaign for 2016 will be launched on January 21, 2016 at PICRC’s 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner.  In addition to celebrating its 15 years of accomplishments, PICRC will launch its Fundraising Campaign to help further secure its financial stability and future.  Joining the board meeting was PICRC’s Development Director, Ms. Ilebrang Olkeriil and fundraising advisor, Ms. Beth Hayden.

During the special board meeting, Ms. Olkeriil presented the phases of the Fundraising Campaign along with a quick review of the recommendations, goals, targets, and priorities of the plan. This Fundraising Plan is a three-year initiative to kick start a program focused on strengthening the Center's long-term financial stability.  The results of the board meeting were clear, that for PICRC to be successful in its fundraising efforts, a full commitment of all the staff and board members is needed.  All board members and staff are expected to be actively involved in the fundraising efforts of the Center.

The Anniversary Gala, with the theme, Transforming Conservation Together, will focus on celebrating conservation partnerships in Palau and the region. This event will be a joint celebration with the Palau Conservation Society and The Nature Conservancy.  During the 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner, PICRC will launch the Fundraising Campaign with the goal of rallying $150,000 by the end of 2016.

The 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner will be held at the Palau Royal Resort and will feature keynote speaker, Judge Kate Salii.  Tickets are now on sale at PICRC.