L to R (Harrison Umang, Eveline van der Steeg, McGee Mereb and Trinity Misech)

Palau Aquarium aquarists, Harrison Umang, McGee Mereb, and Trinity Misech, joined Coral Assist researchers in conducting research during the April full moon coral spawning event in Palau. Coral spawning, the process by which corals reproduce, is a critical phenomenon for the persistence of reefs in Palau and all over the world’s oceans. Joint work between CoralAssist and PICRC has been ongoing on Palau’s corals for the past two years, centered on studying the breeding of corals that are more resilient to increased ocean temperatures as a result of climate change.

Given that the Palau Aquarium houses a wide diversity of corals, having the capacity to care for and recognize spawning activity is invaluable knowledge for PICRC aquarists. Likewise, one of the activity’s major objectives is to use these newly acquired skills to educate the Palauan community, with the Aquarium as an educational tool. “Participating in such an exciting natural event was a unique experience where I immediately became interested in the spawning process,” said Harrison Umang, one of the Aquarists at the Center. “We learned about spawning, moon, and fish cycles. The knowledge we gained will be very useful for our work in the Aquarium.”

The Palau International Coral Reef Center is dedicated to continually building the capacity of its staff. “It is a great opportunity to share this knowledge with PICRC, and we hope to grow corals for the aquarium from this spawning event”, stated Ms. van der Steeg, one of the researchers in the CoralAssist program.  In the future, the Center hopes to hold events at Palau Aquarium to showcase coral spawning events and bring one of the most amazing events in coral reefs to the people of Palau.