03.15.13 PALAU Visiting Researcher Collaborates with PICRC to Study Coral Recruitment and Reef Resilience

Researcher Dr. Christopher Doropoulos, a post-doctoral fellow with the University of Queensland (UQ), is conducting a study with the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) to determine how coral recruitment drives reef recovery and resilience. Together with Dr. Peter Mumby (UQ), Dr. George Roff (UQ), PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu, PICRC Researcher Victor Nestor, and Research Assistant Mirta Zupan, the team is focusing on how physical and biological variables (such as light, wave exposure, competition, herbivory, and predation) interact with coral recruits to influence their growth and survival.

Dr. Doropoulos is funded through an Australian Endeavor Award, a fellowship that sponsors international research collaboration, and further supported by the Marine Spatial Ecology Laboratory at UQ (www.marinespatialecologylab.org).

The collaborative research will take between six months to one year to complete, and Dr. Doropoulos will mentor and provide continuing education to PICRC researchers during the project.

The project will incorporate experimental and observational laboratory-based and field-based research to build and test predictive computer models of coral recruitment and reef resilience. Fieldwork will take place at four reefs in Malakal Bay: Lighthouse, Ngederrak, Lukes and Short Drop-Off.

Dr. Chris Doropoulos
 When asked why he chose to conduct experiments in Palau, Dr. Doropoulos explained that, “Palau’s reefs have several coral spawning events throughout the year, there is excellent accessibility to the reefs, and PICRC offers great facilities and support to visiting researchers.”

PICRC’s mission is to be an International Center of Excellence to support conservation and management for the perpetuation of marine and associated environments through research and education that is significant to Palau and relevant to the world. Collaboration with visiting researchers, such as Dr. Christopher Doropoulos, fulfills PICRC’s mission and highlight the Center’s important regional and international role in conservation research. This research will provide a better understanding of how Palau’s reefs will respond to the changing oceanic conditions associated with overfishing and climate change, and, as such, will be an important tool for marine resource management in the coming years.