A multi-national team of scientists is to begin an extensive research survey of many of Palau’s coral reefs in January. The research is a joint project of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, the Coral Reef Research Foundation, and Palau International Coral Research Center (PICRC). The researchers will live onboard the research vessel the M/Y Golden Shadow as they survey reefs around Angaur, Peleliu, Ngerchong, Ngeruktabel, Koror and Babeldaob, Ngkesol, Ngerael, Kayangel and Ngeruangl/Velasco.
The purpose of the research is to collect detailed information about the health and state of the reefs. The team of scientists will identify and record population information on coral, reef fishes, algae and invertebrates, as well as other organisms. A major component of the surveys will focus on commercially important reef fishes and invertebrates, such as groupers, sea cucumbers, and crustaceans.
The scientists will also take note of the health of these reef communities and any stressors that could affect them, like the coral-eating Crown of Thorns Seastars, coral diseases, or ocean acidification. The team will measure how resilient the coral is to those stressors.
In addition the scientists will compare marine protected areas with those that do not have protection to make an evaluation of marine management strategies. They will also assess damage on the Northern reefs caused in 2013 by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Once the team has completed the research they will analyze the data and create a detailed scientific report. The report will be available to all local communities, government and non-government agencies, and relevant stakeholders in the region. This information can directly help with ongoing management and conservation of Palau’s coral reefs.
The research is part of the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation’s five-year Global Reef Expedition, a mission to survey coral reefs around the world. The Foundation has recently completed similar research in the Solomon Islands, the Great Barrier Reef, in Tonga, Fiji, The Cook Islands, and New Caledonia.
During the research period the science team will send out daily updates and photos of their work. To track their progress please sign up for email updates on the Foundation’s website, www.livingoceansfoundation.org, and find the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation on Facebook to see more images from Palau’s reefs.
About the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation
The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (LOF), founded by Khaled bin Sultan, is conducting the world’s largest coral reef survey and high resolution mapping expedition, as part of its 5 year Global Reef Expedition. The Expedition is helping LOF realize its mission to provide science-based solutions to protect and restore ocean health. As part of its commitment to Science Without Borders®, Living Oceans provides its data and information to leading ocean-focused organizations, governments, scientists, and local communities so that they can use knowledge to work toward sustainable ocean protection. For more information visit www.livingoceansfoundation.org