22 May, 2013
Visiting researchers study the effects of herbivore grazing on the recovery of coralline algae
Catalina Reyes-Nivia, a doctoral candidate from the University of Queensland (UQ), is in Palau to study the recovery rates of coralline algae after herbivorous grazing disturbances. Ms. Reyes-Nivia is collaborating with Alberto Rodriguez (UQ), PICRC resident researcher Dr. Christopher Doropoulos (UQ), and Research Assistant Mirta Zupan. This study is funded by the Graduate School International Travel Award (GSITA) from the University of Queensland. Their research is being conducted at Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC).
Predictive models have shown that bioerosion, caused by herbivore grazing, will likely increase under future climate change scenarios. Bioerosion is known to affect reef calcifiers (corals and coralline algae) that are important to reef ecosystems. Coralline algae are a fundamental component to coral reefs, as they build reefs up and cement their various components together, creating a strong substrate for corals to settle on. Bioerosion is not the only disturbance that faces coralline algae—they are also particularly sensitive to global warming and ocean acidification, because they can experience bleaching and because they have carbonate skeletons that are highly soluble in acidic conditions. These combined threats make coralline algae research important and urgent.
For Ms. Reyes-Nivia’s research, the team collected samples of the common coralline algae, Porolithon onkodes, and faked grazing scars/bite marks on them. They put some of these samples in cages before returning them to the ocean, and they left others exposed. The researchers will determine if there is any difference in recovery between protected and unprotected samples. They also transplanted some of the samples to Neco Bay, because Neco Bay has unusually low pH levels that might affect coralline algae recovery.
Palau International Coral Reef Center’s mission is to be an International Center of Excellence to support 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. Collaboration with visiting researchers, such as Ms. Reyes-Nivia, fulfills PICRC’s mission and highlight the Center’s important regional and international role in conservation research. This research will provide a better understanding of how Palau’s reefs will respond to the changing oceanic conditions associated with climate change, and, as such, will be an important tool for marine resource management in the coming years.
20 May, 2013
Dr Christopher Doropoulos Presents to Koror State Rangers
Dr Christopher Doropoulos presented to the Koror State Rangers on Friday night, May 17th. He presented a background to coral reef disturbance ecology and resilience, the importance of coral recruitment to reef recovery, the most recent findings of his current project here in Palau, and the future research plans. Of particular interest were the effects of Typhoon Bopha on the eastern side of Palau and the early signs of recovery on these reefs.
For information regarding future lectures by PICRC researchers and collaborating partners, visit www.PICRC.org or follow PICRC on Facebook.
16 May, 2013
PICRC, TNC & BMR Conduct
Maml & Kamedukl Survey
Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), together with the Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR), Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment, and Tourism, and Dr. Alan Friedlander, from the University of Hawaii, is conducting research to gain information about Palau’s maml (humphead/napoleon wrasse) and kamedukl (bumphead parrotfish) populations. The study is funded by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Researchers are visiting 60 randomly selected sites, which are distributed in the main Palau archipelago from the northern atoll of Ngaruangel to the southern island of Angaur. Each site will be visited only once, and researchers will collect a variety of data about the two species, including: abundance, size, biomass, and their spatial variation across the archipelago. This one-time assessment will provide a best estimate of maml and kamedukl stock levels.
The goal of the project, according to Mr. Kevin Polloi- head of the research department--is to gatherthe information necessary to provide tangible management policy recommendations for maml and kamedukl. This is particularly important, because Palau Olbiil ra Kelulau (OEK) is deliberating a bill that proposes to lift the current ban on maml and kamedukl extraction from November to January. The current yearlong ban was passed by the OEK as a precautionary measure in 2006, and it was intended
to protect maml and kamedukl populations and allow a thorough scientific assessment of them to take place. Thus, this research project will empower the legislature to make informed decisions about the future management of these key species.
PICRC’s mission is to be an international Center of Excellence to support 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. This study demonstrate PICRC efforts to fulfill its mission, by conducting research that will directly contribute to management of our important marine resources.
8 May, 2013
PICRC Publishes 2012 Annual Report
Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) has published its 2012 Annual Report, which outlines the Center’s finances, research, programs, and planning. The annual report was distributed to President Remengesau and all of Palau’s 16 governors. A digital version can be found on the PICRC website, www.picrc.org, and hard copies are available for free at PICRC to all interested parties while supplies last.
The 2012 Annual Report showcases the Center’s financial recovery as 2012 fiscal year ended with a net surplus, which is a direct result of the Center’s increased emphasis on fiscal accountability. The surplus aptly demonstrates the success of PICRC’s financial recovery. The report also summarizes the noteworthy programs and activities carried out in 2012, such as:
- Capital improvements to the Palau Aquarium and research facilities
- Development of an effective equipment and supplies inventory
- Improving outreach and public communication
- Expanded education programs, such as Conservation Officer trainings and television broadcasts, and
- Adoption of the Protected Area Monitoring Protocol by the Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism to be used for the Protected Area Network (PAN).
Additionally, the report also highlights the generous support PICRC has received from over 425 individuals, groups, and businesses within Palau. Further, the states and Olbiil Era Kelulau also supported PICRC in its mission to be an International Center of Excellence to support 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. According to Dr. Patrick Tellei, PICRC’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, “PICRC’s accomplishments were only made possible because of the support from the government and the people of Palau.” On behalf of the Board and staff of PICRC, Dr. Tellei thanked everyone for their support to PICRC and asked that we continue to work together in partnership for better management of our marine resources.