07.21.14 PALAU: PICRC, PCC and PAN Office join forces to pilot a marine ecological monitoring course

PICRC, PCC and PAN Office join forces to pilot a marine ecological monitoring course
Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), Palau Community College (PCC) and Protected Areas Network (PAN) Office work together to offer a course on ecological monitoring of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for the state conservation officers of Palau. This course will be offered at PICRC from August 11 to 22, 2014.

The key fundamentals of ecological monitoring using the standardized protocol to assess the effectiveness of MPAs in Palau will be covered in this course. Utilizing both theory and field practices, the course aim to increase the competency of students to collect, assemble and analyze basic field data. 

The content of the course includes lectures on how to monitor MPAs, methods used to measure the different ecological indicators, group exercises, field practices, and assessments. At the end of the course, students will hold a presentation on the data they collected at the MPA surveyed during field practices and will demonstrate what they have learned and achieved throughout the 2-weeks course.
The course contains a total of 6 competencies in which 4 are theory based. Students are expected to fully understand the objectives of ecological monitoring, the steps to follow when conducting ecological monitoring, how to develop a sampling design, and the methods used to measure the selected ecological indicators. Grading will range from 3 for excellence, 2 for average and 1 for not acceptable. 
Photo: PICRC

For the theory competencies, students will be expected to pass with a minimum grade of 2. For the field and data analysis competencies, grading will be more flexible as this will require long hours of practice before being competent in measurement of all ecological indicators and data management.

The purpose of this course is to provide training to build on the capacity of local conservation officers to collect and analyze marine ecological data. Data collected at PAN marine site in Palau will be used to assess their effectiveness over time and allow managers to make better decisions about their design and enforcement. This course is open to conservation officers from states with marine PAN sites. All participants should have at least a high school diploma and be able to swim and snorkel. Training on SCUBA will be provided before the start of the course. Due to logistical constraints, this pilot course will only accept limited number of conservation officers from states that has marine PAN site(s). If this pilot course is successful and additional course are needed, they will be offered in the future. For more information about the course, please contact Ms. Geraldine Rengiil at 488-6850 or e-mail at grengiil@picrc.org.

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PICRC is committed to guide efforts supporting coral reef stewardship through research and its applications for the people of Palau, Micronesia, and the world. For more information about the PICRC’s Research and Aquarium Programs, visit www.picrc.org or “Like” PICRC on Facebook.