On December 16, 2020, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and American Samoa, announced a newly established partnership between Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS) and the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS), with the purpose to better management and engagement practices of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Indo-Pacific region. The announcement was accompanied by a webinar hosted by the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) where leadership from Palau, American Samoa, and the United States gave remarks to reaffirm their joint commitment to ocean conservation and collaboration.
The mission of the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) is to guide efforts supporting coral reef and marine resource stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world. Keeping with this mission, PICRC hosts a digital library stored as a database for research purposes. The primarily focus of the database is on Palau’s marine sectors and related ecosystems.
The library’s collections are in PDF format and are catalogued using the Mendeley Reference Manager, a free web and desktop reference management application that can store, organize, and search all references from the collection. Currently, the library’s collection contains over 1,000 documents about Palau, including journal articles, published research papers, technical papers, and other grey literatures.
Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) was recently awarded a 10,000 USD grant from the Government of Australia’s Direct Aid Program (DAP). Australia has expanded their presence to open an embassy in Palau, and in their first year of operation shown to be a strong supporter of the Center.
The resources awarded by the DAP fund will be used to support PICRC’s newly developed school program, with the purchasing of equipment such as microscopes, tablets, and Lego kits. The new program is aligned with Palau’s Ministry of Education Science Standards and the idea is for students to reinforce the concepts that they are already learning in the classroom. Lessons target various learning styles and have a hands-on approach. Depending on the age group, activities may vary between storytelling, singing, arts and crafts, model making, and experimentation. The program was launched in October 2020, in celebration of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary’s (PNMS) 5th anniversary, and since then, has already hosted 7 schools and about 150 students.
For the past ten weeks, seven members of the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) have been virtually attending Stanford University’s Data Platform Training Program. Taught by Dr. Emily Kelly, Dr. Alfredo Giron, and Dr. Allison Dedrick from the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford, the objective was for staff to learn how to display research and outreach data in a visual and user-friendly way for easier access to the public.
PICRC, Palau’s ocean research center, has the objective of guiding conservation efforts, while promoting awareness through its education and outreach programs. Even though PICRC’s research is widely available on the website, reports contain technical language that may be hard for people outside of the field to understand. “In order to make the information more readily accessible to the community, we needed to find simpler ways to share our research” stated PICRC CEO, Dr. Yimnang Golbuu.
Researchers from the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) have started the fieldwork phase of an important project on the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS). The project, “Understanding the Human Well-being Benefits of the PNMS for the People of Palau,” seeks to put together a picture of what every day Palauans believe they will gain from the PNMS. Fieldwork in this project is done by surveying households in Airai, the designated pilot site for the study.
Researchers began preparation for the fieldwork by training other PICRC staff in quantitative data collection tools and surveying methods. This will not only allow for a smoother data collection process, but it will also allow PICRC to publish this data in scientific publications at an international level.