- PICRC staff
Army veteran Leevan Manuel joins PICRC as its newest Aquarist
Leevan Manuel has joined the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) as the newest Aquarist in the Palau Aquarium. He joins Aquarium Supervisor Asap Bukurrou and Aquarium Researcher Daniel Cassidy. Leevan, who is from Peleliu, is also a veteran of the US Army.
As well as day-to-day maintenance of the aquarium, Leevan is helping with the coral reef restoration project in collaboration with the people of Ngaraard State and with the giant clam and coral aquaculture project. Leevan’s work supports the change in focus of the Palau Aquarium away from just attracting tourists and towards education, awareness, and aquaculture to support food security and coral reef restoration.
“Working here has changed my view towards life at sea. I’m interested in marine ecosystems, especially the projects that we’re working on,” said Leevan. “I expect to keep learning more from PICRC about the aquarium, research, and aquaculture.”
Leevan attended Palau High School and went on to serve three years in the U.S. armed forces. While in the Army, he spent part of his time deployed in Germany and Afghanistan. More recently, Leevan was part of Peleliu Marine Transportation Authority, serving as a Boat Deck Crew. Since joining PICRC, he has completed his SCUBA diving certification and is now able to fully perform his duties as an Aquarist.