On February 12, 2020, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) research staff, Marine Gouezo, and Dawnette Olsudong, along with researchers from Australia Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), and Southern Cross University and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSRIO), published a study in the journal Scientific Report from the publishers of Nature. Titled “Relative roles of biological and physical processes influencing coral recruitment during the lag phase of reef community recovery,” this research explores the process of coral recolonization after severe typhoon disturbances.

After Typhoon Bopha and Haiyan struck Palau in 2012 and 2013, many of Palau’s coral reefs were virtually destroyed. In this research study, PICRC aimed to understand the factors that influence the recovery rate of corals – that starts with the process referred to as recruitment – and the biophysical factors that influence the success of such recruitments.

PICRC’s research team found that the success of recruitment was specific to the type of coral, and depended on the biophysical environment where corals recruited.  “In order to predict reef recovery and develop conservation strategies, we need to take into account that different corals respond differently to the environment around them” stated Marine Gouezo, “for example, high wave exposure has a negative effect on Acropora coral recruitment, while high densities of Juvenile Montipora were found in reefs with such high wave exposure.”  (PICRC)