The Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF) hosted the opening of their new laboratory building on Malakal Island on January 31st. Guests had a chance to tour the new facility and learn about the Foundation’s activities. The previous CRRF laboratory building was destroyed by a fire in the early hours of May 20th, 2015 when a speeding car crashed into the building, coming to rest inside the main specimen collection room and erupting in flames. [restrict]

The Foundation’s Director, Dr. Pat Colin, gave President Remengesau a tour of the new facility showcasing some of its latest research on climate change impacts on Helen Reef, and also included the latest post-drought information on the recovery of Palau’s famed Jellyfish Lake. Also on proud display was the photo of President Remengesau’s namesake jellyfish, Mastigias papua remengesaui, which is endemic to one of Palau’s marine lakes on Ongael. Nearly 100 other visitors came Tuesday to see the new facilities, including US Ambassador Amy Hyatt.

Visitors saw demonstrations of the high-tech oceanographic equipment used by marine scientists today. Dr. Colin showed new research technology and capabilities at the foundation including the “Spray” autonomous sea glider. These gliders carry a variety of sensors and are programmed by researchers to do transects in the open ocean. They are used to take vertical profiles, giving scientists a clearer understanding of the temperature, salinity and chlorophyll content of specific areas of the ocean. These measurements are then used to determine and understand ocean circulation and its role and influence on the global climate.

The new building was erected from April to September on the same site as CRRF’s old lab. It is a semi-prefabricated “panelized” Force 10 building from Australia. The new building has laboratory, offices, workshop, conference/class room and accommodations all under one roof. The public is also invited to tour the new facility by making an appointment by calling 488-5255. While the new building is intended to support the work of CRRF and its collaborators, the new conference room facility is available for small group meetings in an environment overlooking the rock islands.

The Coral Reef Research Foundation (CRRF) is a non-profit organization incorporated in the State of California and the Republic of Palau whose purposes are to increase knowledge of coral reefs and other tropical marine environments to allow intelligent conservation and management decisions. [restrict]