Palau International Coral Reef Center-PICRC

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Palau International Coral Reef Center

04 August, 2015


PICRC publishes a new study that shows releasing mass-cultured coral babies to the reef is not an effective option for reef rehabilitation

Palau’s and the world’s coral reefs and surrounding marine environment are under threat due to natural and man-made causes such as coastal pollution, overfishing, and other factors related to climate change. Because of these threats, there have been several efforts to conduct reef rehabilitation by seeding reefs with coral babies or larvae.  A new study by Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and partners show that simply releasing coral larvae to the marine environment is not an effective way to reseed reefs.

The results of the study were published in the April issue of the scientific journal, Marine Ecology Progress Series. PICRC, the School of Biology in the United Kingdom, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Marine Science Institute in the Philippines, and the Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Centre in Singapore collaborated on this study, which was conducted between 2008 and 2012 near the Iou Lukes Reef, on the east coast of Koror.

The study focused on the short-term and long-term effectiveness of reef reseeding using larvae. The coral larvae were reared at PICRC’s research facilities before being relocated to bare areas in the reef where they were released.  The study assessed these areas where the larvae were released to determine if this method was effective in increasing the number of corals in the site. This method uses simple technology and is relatively inexpensive and it is hoped that this method would be able to successfully rehabilitate coral reefs around the world.

The results of the study tell us that the reseeding only work in the short term (5 weeks). However, in the long-term (13 months), seeding with coral larvae was not effective. The amount of corals that grew in the reseeded site was the same as those sites that were not reseeded.  With this information, we can conclude that this method is not an effective option for reef rehabilitation and that other methods be sought out.

The implications of this study can be extended to other research such as those on fishes, sea cucumbers and clams. Although it may be cheaper to take millions of fishes, clam, or sea cucumber larvae and throw them into the ocean and expect them to survive, the method does not work. A more expensive method should be considered, such as rearing until they are bigger and older before releasing them into the ocean so they can have a better chance of survival. The potential positive impacts are worth the investment.

For more information about this publication or other PICRC publications, visit www.picrc.org or contact Ms. Ines Kintoki at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


03 August, 2015



PICRC Bids Farewell to Summer Interns

On Friday, July 17th, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC’s) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Yimnang Golbuu and all PICRC staff held a special farewell luncheon for their interns who have worked very hard during this summer.  The interns included, Cesca Sam from Upward Bound Program, Samara Ldesel, Martha Ubedei and Leah Stevenson from College Readiness Institute  Summer Program (CRISP)/Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP), David Moses and Elchung Hideyos from Work Investment Act (WIA), Kmedrang C. Sengebau and Jacob Spis Senior from Xavier High School-Christian Community Service Project (CCSP), Yubee K. Isaac from Palau Community College (PCC) Field Study/Internship Course, Mailie Rechirei and Lincy Lee Marino from Palau National Scholarship Board-Summer Fellowship Award, Noam Altman-Kurosaki from Princeton University and Mackenzi Mason from Oregon State University. These interns have completed their internship at either the Research & Aquarium Department or Administration & Engineering Department under different summer programs.

At the farewell, PICRC’s CEO Dr. Golbuu, Head of Research & Aquarium Department Ms. Geraldine Rengiil and Head of Administration & Engineering Department Ms. Mingrang Kloulechad along with all PICRC staff showed their appreciation and gratitude to all the interns for their dedicated service and contribution throughout the summer to the Center. Dr. Golbuu presented Certificates of Completion to all interns.  Interns also shared their work experiences during the luncheon.

“We are fortunate to have many great students from Palau willing to return home during the summer for internships programs. In addition, we are fortunate to have many programs in Palau that support internship for young students”, according to Dr. Golbuu. “We want to recognize and give special thanks all our interns as well as the Upward Bound Program, CRISP/SWEP, WIA, and the Christian Community Service Project at Xavier High School for supporting the students, allowing them to work at PICRC.”


30 July, 2015



New study by PICRC finds that Palau reefs can keep up with sea-level rise

For thousands of years, coral reefs have protected Palauans and other Pacific Islanders from storm waves. Climate change is causing a rapid rise in sea level that is potentially flooding those barriers. According to a new study from the Palau International Coral Reef Center, Florida Institute of Technology and University of Queensland, coral reefs in Palau have the capacity to keep up with projected sea-level rise if ocean temperatures do not rise too quickly and reefs are locally maintained.

The study is the first evidence that well-managed reefs will be able to keep up with sea-level rise but only if CO2 levels in the atmosphere stay below 670 ppm (which is today at 400 ppm). Beyond these concentrations even healthy reefs will not be able keep up with projected rates of sea-level rise.

The new study by Dr. Yimnang Golbuu at Palau International Coral Reef Center, Professor Robert van Woesik of the Florida Institute of Technology, and Dr. George Roff at the University of Queensland, is published this week in the scientific journal, Royal Society Open Science, (http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/7/150181).

Coral reefs are an intricate part of island culture and a precious resource for Pacific Islanders. Rapid climate change is causing temperature stress events, and paints a bleak future for the capacity of most reefs to keep up with sea-level rise.

“These reefs have been constrained by low water spring tides for millennia” Professor van Woesik said. Recent sea level rise has opened up accommodation space for vertical reef growth. “We found evidence that since 2006 sea has increased significantly in Palau, and corals have responded by growing vertically in that new-found space” Golbuu said.

The new study shows that coral reefs have the capacity to keep up with projected sea-level rise. "It's possible that reefs continue to keep up with sea-level rise, if we reduce our emission of greenhouse gases," van Woesik said.

The results of the study suggest that limiting the rate of ocean warming, which would require curbing greenhouse gas emissions, could sustain the continued growth of critical reef-building corals. The study points to preserving the general integrity of coral reefs, to allow coral reefs to build natural barriers that will protect island nations from sea-level rise. Human populations that live adjacent to coral reefs that keep up with sea level rise will benefit greatly.

Losing the capacity to keep up with sea level rise will drown these natural storm barriers, resulting in the loss of native homelands for millions of people throughout the Pacific Ocean.

For more information about this paper or any other publications by PICRC, please contact Ines Kintoki at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



28 July, 2015


PICRC features movie nights during the summer

This summer, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) has been hosting movie nights on various environmental topics at its grounds.  The movies are intended for young children and families. On Friday, July 17th PICRC featured the second movie entitled, “SeaFood”, which was screened outdoors under the stars. This was a movie about a shark Pup who discovers that human poachers are stealing eggs from his reef so he leaves the sea to rescue the eggs.  On his mission to rescue the eggs, he has to enter the dangerous world of humans.

Over eighty people attended the movie and enjoyed the night with their families and friends. It was a clear night with bright stars, which made it especially nice for everyone who came to watch the movie. Sweet snacks, popcorn and drinks were available for purchase from the Giant Clam Gift Shop, which opened late to accommodate those who came to watch the movie.

PICRC is happy to host more families for the upcoming movie night which is scheduled this week on Thursday, July 30th. It will be a double feature night, with showing of “The Lorax” followed by “The Blue Planet-Coral Seas”.