Ms. Eveline van der Steeg, a Dutch native from the city of Utrecht in Netherlands, has joined the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) as an Aquarium Culturist. Ms. van der Steeg has an impressive biology and marine science background. She graduated from the Utrecht University in the Netherlands with her B.S. in Biology, and got her M.S. in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York in the United Kingdom.

Her experiences include an internship at the Burger’s Zoo in the Netherlands, where she studied water quality in the Coral Reef Aquarium. Additionally, she was an intern at the Gates Lab at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology where she studied the effects of bleaching on the reproduction of coral. Finally, she was a Field Associate with the Coralassist Lab from the Newcastle University (UK), where she worked with researchers studying the selective breeding of thermal tolerant corals in Palau in order to assist their survival in the face of climate change.

With an extensive background and experience in biology and marine science, Ms. van der Steeg will play an important role in the work of the Center. Aside from working with the Palau Aquarium staff to maintain the aquarium, she will take the lead on the new collaborative project with PICRC, Koror State Government and Palau Visitor’s Authority, looking into reef rehabilitation.

Eveline will work with PICRC’s research collaborators from around the world to develop a breeding and nursery program to breed and grow corals and giant clams. These corals and clams will be used to supply the aquarium displays, as well as transplanted to different sites in the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon (RISL) for reseeding and restoration purposes as part of the reef rehabilitation program.

Eveline will work directly under the supervision of Aquarium Director, Ms. Ilebrang Olkeriil. She hopes to develop a sustainable culturing program that will contribute to the knowledge and conservation of the coral reef ecosystems in Palau.