From Ngeruangel in the far north all the way to Helen Reef in the far south, Palau International Coral Reef Center’s (PICRC) various research programs covered the full range of Palau’s archipelago in the last 12 months.

Among the programs are long-term changes in Palau’s coral reefs and ocean chemistry; and monitoring the effectiveness of the Protected Areas Network (PAN) marine sites.

Researchers at PICRC have also been studying the movement of pelagic fish in and around the Palau National Marine Sanctuary (PNMS), and have recently received additional funding to continue this work.

To ensure that the research conducted by PICRC reaches a large audience, PICRC researchers and the Outreach team have been working together to share the progress of these research projects with various community members via Palau Wave Radio talk shows, community meetings, school visits, and through organized national events, such as the 2nd National Environment Symposium and 25th Mechesil Belau Conference.

In 2018, the research team presented to over 280 guests during the 2nd National Environment Symposium; joined numerous community meetings; hosted two field trips for Mechesil Belau to share their work with over 70 female leaders in Palau; spent the summer mentoring seven college interns; reached 23 schools; and engaged with 281 of students during PICRC’s Water Day Fair. With these educational activities and many others PICRC has reached over 66% of Palau’s students in 2018.

The Palau Aquarium alone has reached almost 800 students in Palau through class trips, community service hours, and career day visits. Aside from students, Palau Aquarium has drawn in guests from across the globe with over 6,000 visitors in the last year.  Additionally, the Palau Aquarium is taking the lead in a collaborative coral restoration project that began this past October with Koror State Government and Palau Visitors Authority.

While PICRC has many partners and collaborators from universities and research institutes from around the world, in 2018, new collaborative ties were established with Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions.  PICRC and Stanford will work together to conduct research and provide analyses to help support the implementation of the Palau National Marine Sanctuary.

PICRC’s facilities continue to be actively utilized by the people of Palau, as well as visitors from around the world and the Administration Department works hard to ensure the safety and satisfaction of all of PICRC’s guests. Since the start of 2018, the Administration Department has been responsible for accommodating over 200 reservations from facility use, to boarding, and boat rentals. The income from these reservations directly support PICRC’s research, aquarium, and education and outreach programs.

“In reflecting on what we have been able to achieve in 2018, it is very clear that the success of this year would not have been possible without the commitment of the people of Palau, local agencies, and private partners who continue to support PICRC year after year”, stated Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, CEO of PICRC.  “We thank everyone for their support and partnership in 2018 and we look forward to continued collaboration in 2019 to address the many issues facing our precious marine environment.” (PR)