Palau International Coral Reef Center-PICRC

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Palau International Coral Reef Center

23 April, 2014



Ngaraard Head Start Students



SDA Elementary Students

Ngaraard Head Start and SDA Elementary 3rd Grade class Toured PICRC

The Palau Aquarium at Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) hosted Ngaraard Head Start students and Palau Seventh day Adventist Elementary (SDA) School 3rd Grade class. On April 11th, PICRC staff greeted the Ngaraard Head Start students with their teacher and parents and provided an educational tour covering all the marine habitat exhibits at the Palau Aquarium. On April 14th, the SDA 3rd grade class accompanied by their teacher and parents toured the aquarium.  As part of their class requirement, the class also completed a scavenger hunt activity to complement the tour.

School tours at the Palau Aquarium provide insights on several marine habitats; showcase several illustrative posters on research conducted by PICRC and historical information of Palau; as well as an interactive touch tank with marine invertebrates. A new attraction at the Aquarium is the Touch Panel which currently displays videos related to various marine conservation information and climate change issues.  This Touch Panel will also have an additional element where visitors, especially students, will be able to take quizzes and play games related to the exhibits at the Palau Aquarium.

The visit of Ngaraard Head Start and SDA Elementary Students highlights the importance of the Palau Aquarium as an educational learning tool for students of Palau. Each year, the Palau Aquarium hosts numerous students from schools within Palau for tours and educational activities. PICRC is proud of the Palau Aquarium’s role in the community, and continuously work to update and improve the Palau Aquarium’s displays and information in an effort to educate and entertain its visitors.



22 April, 2014



PICRC publishes paper on the changes of spear fishery of herbivores during closed grouper season in Palau

The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) and University of Queensland’s Marine Spatial Ecology Lab (UGMSEL) published a new paper in the scientific journal, Animal Conservation that looks at the changes of spearfishing of herbivorous fishes, such as bluespine unicornfish (um) associated with closed groupers season in Palau. The collaborative paper, entitled, “Changes in the spear fishery of herbivores associated with closed grouper season in Palau, Micronesia” was written by Dr. Sonia Bejarano and Peter J. Mumby from UQMSEL and Dr. Yimnang Golbuu from PICRC.

In this study, market surveys and interviews were conducted to examine if the closed grouper season had any effect on herbivore spearfishing catches, or caused changes in the targeting behavior of fishers. Catch volumes of the most desirable herbivores were unaffected by the grouper season, but the catch per unit effort other herbivores regularly caught opportunistically or avoided raised by 45% during the grouper closure.

The size composition of the catch of the bluespine unicornfish (um) during the grouper closure was significantly skewed to smaller sized fish due to the large number of immature individuals. Further investigation is required to clarify whether this pattern occurred because fishers had relaxed size selectivity during the closure or due to a lack of adults in July.

Fifty seven percent of the interviewed fishers indicated that while groupers would be their first choice during open season, um would become their preferred target during the closure, and that other herbivores were also more likely to be targeted. This study took an important step in identifying a factor driving short and acute changes in the herbivore catch composition. Further efforts should be directed to quantify the ecological implications of the observed changes and determine if these are motivated by the life-history traits or functional roles of the focal species.

This publication, which is important regionally and internationally, helps PICRC fulfill 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. For more information, please e-mail Ines Kintoki at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit PICRC Website at


21 April, 2014


PICRC increases its publications in scientific journals by 100%

Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) has increased its research productivity significantly this year, as demonstrated by the number of its scientific publications and technical reports.  In the scientific community, publications in peer-reviewed journals are similar to badges of approval that certain standards of quality have been met by the producers of the work and that it advances the state of knowledge in the field.  In other words, only articles that meet good scientific standards (e.g., acknowledge and build upon other work in the field, rely on logical reasoning and well-designed studies, back up claims with evidence, and makes new contribution to knowledge in the field) are accepted for publication.  Indeed, getting published in a peer-reviewed journal is one of the goals of research institutions as it maintains their credibility, provides an opportunity to be recognized for their contribution to science and also helps to secure access to funding.

PICRC, in fulfillment of its mission, has been conducting marine research that is significant to Palau and relevant to the world for over 10 years.  One of the ways it ensures that its research efforts meet international standards is to publish the results of these work in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  This year (2013-2014), PICRC surpassed its own record of peer-reviewed articles by 100%, with 10 publications, compared to 5 the year before (2011-2012) and 2 the year before that (2009-2010).

The topics covered by these scientific papers include ocean acidification, assessment of spear fishery, grouper aggregations, watershed discharge, taro fields as sediment trap, and impact of typhoon Bopha on coral recruitment.  One of the articles that reported on the diverse coral communities in acidified waters of Palau gained much attention in the international media and was highlighted in the cover of the scientific journal, Geophysical Research Letters (see photo).  Justifiably, such significant recognition offers a badge of pride for PICRC, but more importantly, it further confirms Palau’s international recognition for its pioneering conservation efforts and its amazing and unique marine biodiversity, which is now attracting more marine scientists, along with tourists.

In addition to its peer-reviewed publications, PICRC also publishes technical reports that provide results from its studies and surveys to local management bodies and government agencies.  Again, PICRC also exceeded its own record with these reports with 15 technical reports produced from 2013-2014.  This was also quite a significant leap (almost 90% more) since the year before PICRC produced 8 technical reports and the year before that it produced only 2 technical reports.  The recently produced technical reports cover a wide variety of topics including baseline surveys of marine protected areas (MPAs), effectiveness of MPAs, socio-economic surveys on MPAs, stock assessment of maml (Napoleon wrasse) and kamedukl (bumphead parrotfish), status of sea cucumber populations, coral reef resilience assessment  across Micronesia, and ship grounding assessment.

A full list of PICRC’s publications including those before 2013 is available on PICRC’s website Copies of PICRC’s publications and other publications from other authors about Palau’s marine environments are available at the PICRC Library. To request an article or search PICRC’s marine environment database, please send an e-mail to Ms. Ines Kintoki at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit PICRC’s library located at PICRC facilities at the end of M-Dock Road. PICRC’s library is open to the public by appointment from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Mondays through Fridays. Library is closed on weekends and holidays.


18 April, 2014



PICRC and partners meet with Rubekul Belau (Palau Traditional Leaders) to share results of research on fisheries

On Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, Mr. Steven Victor from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) together with Minister Umiich Sengebau from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism (MNRET) met with the members of the Rubekul Belau at PICRC Kedarm Conference. At the meeting, Mr. Victor, Dr. Golbuu and Minister Sengebau discussed with the traditional leaders the results of some of the research work that is being done on fisheries.  Minister Sengebau also provided an overview of the work the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism to support fisheries management in Palau.   

PICRC, Bureau of Marine Resources (BMR), University of Hawaii and TNC have recently completed several research studies that examined several fish stocks including maml and kamedukl.  The results shows that while maml and kamedukl have increased in number, they are still recovering from the previous exploitation.  The studies looking at size of first reproduction shows that most fish are being harvested before they reach the size needed for reproduction, therefore leading to decreased number of fish in our waters.

Conducting this meeting with the Rubekul Belau and other partners fulfills PICRC’s efforts in sharing and collaborating with partners to provide necessary science to support effective management and sustainable use of coastal resources and conservation. 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.


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