Science Sunday: Coral genetics on Guam?

It’s time for another great Science Sunday! Check it out this weekend on Nov. 18 at 2pm at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center.  Dr. Sarah Lemer is this month’s guest speaker. Get a preview of this Science Sunday here.  How does coral genetics research help with reef conservation? Watch this video to find out.

Guam has experienced mass coral bleaching over the past five years from high water temperatures. Though many corals died from these bleaching events, some corals survived. Dr. Sarah Lemer, an evolutionary biologist, seeks to find out which genes in these surviving corals make them resilient to bleaching. Dr. Lemer is a member of Guam’s EPSCoR research team at the University of Guam. 

Science Sunday is free and open to the public. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. No pre-registration required.

Science Sunday_Nov. 18, 2018

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Oct. 21: Science Sunday at 2pm

Science Sunday
October 21,2018 –  2pm
at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center

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 Cruz and CIS team celebrate the passing Plastic Bag Ban bill by distributing reusable bags at Payless Supermarkets. Courtesy of P. Cruz.

Have you heard about the Center for Island Sustainability (CIS)? Phillip Cruz, University of Guam’s (UOG) Sustainability Coordinator, will share their mission and how they work with our community to live more sustainably. From recycling to composting, Cruz and the CIS team work with students, local businesses, and many others to be better stewards of Guam’s natural environment.

This event is free and open to the public. No pre-registration needed. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis.  For more info, email gureefmonitoring@gmail.com or call 333-4050.

Science Sunday_October 17, 2018v2

Sept. 16: Join us for Science Sunday

We hope you all made it through Typhoon Mangkhut safely and wish you a smooth recovery as we return back to normal. We are happy to announce that this month’s Science Sunday will go on as scheduled on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 2pm at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center.

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Vince (center, throwing the shaka) and crew working in Pagan, one of the northern Marianas islands. Photo courtesy of Pangelinan. 

This month’s guest speaker is Vince Pangelinan. Vince is a young fisherman from the village of Yigo. Currently, he works with the NOAA Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center’s Biosampling Program to study life history of Guam reef and bottom fish. This Sunday, Vince will share his exciting experience from a recent scientific cruise to the Northern Marianas Islands while aboard the NOAA Oscar Sette Research Vessel. In addition, Vince represented Guam at two fishing competitions earlier this year in Hawaii and another in Yap for the 2018 Micro Games.  Hear some stories from his fishing adventures this Sunday. We are excited to feature a variety of perspectives, knowledge, and relationships people have with our reefs, our ocean, and our environment. Science Sunday is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis.

For more information, email gureefmonitoring@gmail.com or call 333-4050.

Science Sunday_September 16, 2018

 

 

Adios, FOR Guam interns!

FOR Guam summer interns ended their internship with a final presentation on August 14, 2018 to local partners that participate in conservation on Guam. Click here to view their presentation.

Last Blog entry by Brittany Tominez from their final week of field work:

We started off this week in the office to go over our project. Marilyn, Alysha, and I had a short meeting with Val to discuss our presentation. In addition, Val helped each one of us with the topic we chose to conduct background research for our literature review.

Two days later, Val, Alysha, and I made our way down to Merizo. It was a nice sunny morning with a slight breeze, but as soon as we climbed down to the shore, we were met by the high tide. Rock surfaces that are normally exposed were totally submerged and the water looked like chocolate milk! We thought we would have to reschedule. Val made her way toward our transect sites and to our surprise the water was clear once we got closer! Alysha and I quickly put on our gear and made our way to Val.

Because it has been a few weeks since our last day out in the field, it took some time for us to lay out all six transects. Some of the zip ties were camouflaged as algae grew on them. On one transect, one zip tie had completely come off! Not only was it a little difficult to find the zip ties, but the current was a little stronger than what Alysha and I were used to. This presented an additional challenge to locate our transects.

Once all six transects were laid out, we started the surveys. Val conducted fish surveys,

while Alysha and I did macroinvertebrate surveys. When surveying the transects, Alysha and I noticed that there was already algal growth on the corals that we had removed algae on top a few weeks ago. The two recent storms that passed over and near us over the past few weeks came to mind for this observation. The excess nutrients in the water could have helped with the algae to regrow in these transects. However, it did look like there were more fish in the area after algal removal. The fairly choppy conditions made the hunt for macroinvertebrates a little difficult, but Alysha and I were glad that the water was crystal clear.

Science Sunday on August 19

Join us for Science Sunday on August 19 at 2pm at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center in Sumay.

This month we get a special update on Guam’s coral reefs from David Burdick, a coral biologist at the University of Guam’s Marine Laboratory. He leads the Guam Long-term Monitoring Program and is part of Guam’s Reef Response Team. Chances are you’re familiar with his work if you’ve seen presentations or photos of Guam’s coral reefs. David is the host of guamreeflife.com. Check it out! With recent coral bleaching events among other reef stressors, a harsh reality for coral reefs is already in motion. Despite grim outlooks, all around the world resource managers and communities are working together to take action so our reefs can thrive, instead of just survive. The first step is to understand current issues facing our reefs, so we can decide how to collectively protect our coral reefs. We look forward to the great questions and interesting discussion. We hope you can make it!

Science Sunday is free and open to the public. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. No pre-registration is required. Email gureefmonitoring@gmail.com or call 646-1905 or 333-4050 for more information.

Science Sunday_August 19, 2018

FOR Guam Summer Interns Update

Blog by Brittany Tominez, 2018 FOR Guam summer intern

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since our last update. So let’s catch up: In early July, we met to go over all the data we have collected this far. We analyzed and graphed our data, which included benthic cover, macroinvertebrates, and algae removal.  This gave us a “big picture” view of all the data we collected. Val showed and explained to us  averages of our data adds to accuracy of analysis and results. 

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Conducting benthic cover survey

Preliminary analysis of our survey data helped us formulate different perspectives to determine which direction we wanted to continue with for the rest of our research project. From that point, we brainstormed possible hypotheses and research questions. We  split the background research into three sections: the effect algae has on coral, the relationship between algal removal and fish, and the relationship between algal removal and macroinvertebrates in the area. The literature review will helped us learn more about the ecological relationships for our three topics. We gained more background on the ecological dynamic between algae and corals, the role of fish on coral ecosystems, and the effect of restoration techniques through algal removal. After our meeting, we also decided to add fish surveys to the project. Next, we have to do our follow up monitoring surveys to see any changes over time from algal removal.

2018 Summer Internship Update

Blog by Alysha Meno, 2018 FOR Guam summer intern

Hey guys, hope you all stayed safe during the tropical storm! Before it arrived we were able to meet up twice this week at the Merizo site and a meeting to discuss our data.

Day 1 of this week we continued algal removal on/around coral colonies in Merizo. Here’s an update on the catch bags: We did put them in buckets with small holes in the bottom and attached a pool noodle around the top part of the bucket, so it stayed above water (Thank you for your help, Farron and Val!). This helped prevent the bags from dragging/stirring up sediment and kept afloat, making the algal removal process a lot smoother. We just had to remember to hold onto them since they can float away!

We used the GPS unit to find our sites and laid out our transect tape. From there, on both sides of the tape we used one-meter survey rods as boundaries. We removed algae on/around corals within 2x25m area at each transect. Most of what we collected was a brown algae called Padina species (sp.).

As we removed algae, we noticed more invertebrates and fish appeared around the corals. In one crevice, we discovered a snow eel that peeking out curiously after we removed a lot of Padina sp. We also noticed fish began eating the turf algae from the corals we cleared and came toward us and helped graze on the turf algae. It was a cool to see an immediate reaction from fish!

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Catch bags filled with algae.

Once we completed algal removal, we returned to shore. We drained the water out of the catch bags for the same amount of time and weighed them to see how much we algae collected. The heaviest bag weighed about 6870 grams (or 15 lbs!). We repeated this method on our last transect and called it a day.

 

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Inputting survey data

The next day was a short workshop on inputting data into Microsoft Excel. We took the information we collected out in the field and neatly inputted into a few spreadsheets. Our supervisor also taught us how to create graphs to illustrate data as visualizations that will help present our project to others. We ended with a discussion on how the field work went the previous day and to think about some hypothesis we have for our projects. Check in next time for our next update!