Katie McMahon, from Michigan in the United States, has joined Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) Summer Internship Program. During this internship, Katie will be working with PICRC Researcher, Shirley Koshiba to monitor the effectiveness of Ngerkebesang Marine Protected Area (MPA) located outside of the Palau Pacific Resort.

Katie recently received her Bachelors of Science in Biology, Ecology and Conservation from Central Michigan University. She chose to intern in Palau due to its rich marine ecosystem and because of the research work being done at PICRC. While working as an intern, Katie has been able to work side by side with professional scientists. She expects this experience to help her achieve her goal of continuing her education.

Along with her mentor, Katie has surveyed the coral reefs within the Ngerkebesang MPA. Together, they have measured biological indicators including fish abundance, benthic cover, coral recruits, and invertebrate abundance. The data collected from these surveys will then be compared to previous years to assess the effectiveness of the Ngerkebesang MPA as well as trends and changes of its marine biodiversity over time. This project is part of PICRC’s long-term monitoring of Marine Protected Areas to provide scientific support on the effectiveness of protected areas in Palau. (PR)