Ms. Evelyn Ikelau Otto, a Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) researcher, has returned home from the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan where she is currently enrolled in a two year Marine Science Masters Program. Ms. Otto, under the supervision of Dr. Haruko Kurihara, is conducting her Masters research on the impacts of sewage outflow on coral health and growth.
In September 2016, when Ms. Otto was in Palau, she transplanted corals into areas near the sewer outfall and outside of the sewer outfall, and observed their changes after three weeks. Now, Evelyn is back to collect the sediment from these areas surrounding the Malakal Outflow Pipe. Through her research, Evelyn hopes to verify where this sediment is settling, whether it is near the sewage outfall or drifting elsewhere in the bay. In addition, Evelyn plans to transplant more corals, extending the length of her experiment to three months, in order to further understand how nutrients affect the growth and health of corals surrounding the Outflow Pipe.
Ms. Otto has completed a year of her Master’s degree and has one more year to go. Once completed, Ms. Otto looks forward to returning to PICRC to continue her work as a researcher so she can contribute her knowledge and efforts to conservation in Palau. Eventually, Ms. Otto plans to return to school to pursue a PhD in Marine Biology.