Summer Interns: Where are they now?

Thinking about applying for a summer internship with FOR Guam? Here’s what former summer intern, Brittany Tominez had to say:

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Brittany removing invasive plant species for recent internship with Ala Wai Watershed Association in Oahu, HI.

“As a recent graduate from Chaminade University of Honolulu with a B.S. in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology, my current endeavor is to make the best out of this Mosaics in Science summer internship with the National Park Service (NPS) when I return home. After this summer, my future career endeavor is to get a job continuing to restore ecosystems that have been degraded by human activities. My ultimate life goal is to live a sustainable lifestyle.

I am so grateful to have spent past two summers learning and applying restoration methods (algal removal) on a near shore coral reef community in Merizo. Through my experiences, I have discovered my passion in ecosystem restoration. In addition, the knowledge that I have gained has helped me to apply concepts I have learned in school AND helped me to get ahead in upper division classes that dealt with ecosystems and environmental issues.
My advice to those interested in this internship is to be open-minded and work hard.
  • Always be ready to adapt and work through unexpected obstacles (like forgetting the quadrat).
  • Always put in 110% when working on your project. For example, it is important to log as much information as possible just in case you need to return back to your notes for missing data. By working hard, you begin to start preparing yourself for when you get a job in this particular field (which I find is very helpful).”
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Apply for our 2019 Summer Internship

Summer is almost here! Looking for something to do this summer? Apply for our summer internship program (unpaid). We’re excited to announce we will host two interns with Friends of Reefs (FOR) Guam this summer.

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2015 Summer Interns’ focused their work on seagrass beds of  Piti Bomb Holes Marine Preserve. Photo by NOAA.

Why should you apply? You won’t be stuck inside all day – you’ll get to spend a lot of time out in the water to complete field work and learn about Guam’s coral reefs. You’ll get hands-on training to conduct reef monitoring and reef restoration, network with local marine biologists and reef managers, and much more. You’ll work with a partner to complete an internship project guided and supported by FOR Guam coordinators.

We’re looking for motivated college students or adults who want to explore career opportunities in the marine conservation. This is a chance to try something different if you have been interested in marine science or just coral reef conservation for Guam. The internship is a short duration of four weeks includes completion of training, field work, compose vlogs (video logs) or blogs to capture your experience. Interns will work together to compile and analyze data and prepare a presentation on their summer intern project.

This summer, our interns will resume reef restoration techniques and reef monitoring tested by our 2018 summer interns. Algal removal is an activity FOR Guam wants to explore to boost reef restoration in Guam’s reefs flats. FOR Guam coordinators will work with interns to further test these methods that can inform the design of community activities that promote healthier reefs on Guam. Click here to apply!

Applications are due by Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 5pm (ChST). Email applications to gureefmonitoring@gmail.com or drop them to the NOAA Fisheries Guam Field Office. Call 646-1905 or email gureefmonitoring@gmail.com to arrange application pick-up or drop-off or for more information.

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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.

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.

Meet our 2018 FOR Guam Summer Interns

Blog written by: Marilyn Connell, 2018 FOR Guam summer intern

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Meet our 2018 Summer Interns! (left to right) Marilyn Connell, Brittany Tominez, and Alysha Meno.

Friends of Reefs (FOR) Guam’s summer internship has just begun and we’ve learned so much already! Our intern project entails piloting algal removal and monitoring potential sites for community coral gardening on Guam.

Our pre-internship training included an extensive CPR and first aid course, such as learning how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). Our first in-water training session for coral reef monitoring was very overwhelming with snorkeling, surveying, and recalling information from training as well as dealing with water conditions (we experienced some current). Luckily, the first official day of the internship was a pool session that helped us enhance our surveying skills in the water and troubleshoot other issues before field work began. We worked on submerging and clearing our snorkels and using the surveying equipment in the water without the added worry of dealing with a current.

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Interns got to focus on snorkeling skills and working with monitoring equipment in the water.

Week one was all about baseline surveys for our Merizo sites. Our work included using the GPS unit to find our sites, laying transects, and then conducting benthic and macroinvertebrate surveys at our control and experiment sites. You can read up on survey methods here. The most common things we found on benthic surveys were sand, Porites genus corals, and turf algae. Many types of sea cucumbers, sea stars and even sea urchins were found in our macroinvertebrate surveys.

We ended the week with algal removal on/around coral colonies. Hopefully, this will help corals grow as more space is cleared from fast-growing algae. This was a trial-and-error process since removing brown and red algae took much more time than anticipated. We all thought it would take about 15 minutes and in reality, it took about 45 minutes to clear 25×2 meters. Our catch bags used collect removed algae stirred up sediment, adding time to the algal removal process. Our solution was to use floating buckets instead of dragging our catch bags to make algal removal easier. Stay tuned to see if it worked!

Save our Seagrass: Reflections from Jesi Bautista

**This blog was written by Jesi Bautista, one of our 2015 summer interns, based on her mini-case study with Jocelyn Emia


This summer I was very fortunate to return home to Guam and intern with the Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program. I was able to learn about Guam’s marine life, while working closely Jocelyn Emia guided by Marybelle Quinata, program coordinator, and Val Brown, science coordinator. We decided to complete a mini­case study on seagrass habitat, which are found threatened all over the island due to exposure during extreme low tides. Our goal was to create a baseline that could lead to continued seagrass monitoring and study the various impacts threatening the health of seagrass.

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So why should we save our seagrass? Seagrass play several fundamental roles in the marine ecosystem. They provide a place for habitat, nursery, feeding, and refuge from predators for juvenile fish. They also have long rhizomes and root systems that reduce erosion and stabilize sediments during rough conditions. Seagrass is a primary producer that converts sunlight and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen, which increases dissolved oxygen (DO) in the water. Many marine organisms, such as fish, crab, and oysters, need sufficient levels of DO to survive. Seagrass also improves water clarity by trapping fine sediment and particles, causing less movement of sediment on the bottom which often cause the water to look cloudy (Tsuda, R. 2009)


My favorite part of the internship was becoming more aware about what was taking place in the marine ecosystem. I realized that most of the threats to the health of marine life is due to human impacts. Guam is the most populated island in Micronesia (around 170,000) with an increasing and booming tourism industry. The increase in coastal development from tourism and infrastructure to support a growing population leads to nutrient pollution, fertilizer runoff, and sewage waste.  Snorkeling, fishing, diving, jet­skiing, and off­-roading also have an impact on the reefs and seagrass communities.
As Sylvia Earle, a marine biologist, oceanographer, explorer, and author stated, “Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do now.” Jocelyn and I hope that our mini­case study on seagrass can be a baseline for future projects. We also hope that we brought some awareness to the community and that the data we have collected will encourage others to find a potential solution to save our seagrass.  See our mini-case study presentation here.

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                     Presentation of our mini-case study to local partners

References:  Tsuda, R. 2009. Seagrasses Overview. Guampedia.com.

 

We’re looking for 2 interns this summer!

Summer’s is practically here! We’re excited to announce the launch of our summer internship program this year.  The Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program is looking for incoming seniors or college level students interested in marine science & education to be our summer interns!  This is a great way to explore the marine science careers, but with the added experience of  working with community to share the importance of Guam’s coral reefs.  A fun opportunity to gain some work experience and meet other people that care for coral reefs!  See below for more details.

Apply now!  GCCRMP 2015 Summer Internship Application

GCCRMP Summer Internship

When: July 13 – August 22, 2015

Objectives:
1) Gain hands-on experience in environmental education, outreach, and stewardship
2) Learn the importance of collaboration and partnerships for community-based initiatives
3) Develop communications skills among various Guam residents, visitors, and local resource managers
4) Expand networking opportunities and explore career paths in marine science and conservation

Tasks
• Prepare training and monitoring survey materials for events
• Assist participants during Classroom and In-Water Training sessions
• Participate/assist at Data Collection events
• Enter data collected from monitoring events
• Update member roster from program events
• Organize program liability release forms and sign-in sheets
• Organize/ maintain community monitoring equipment
• Attend public outreach events and engage with community to promote marine education
• Support program partners’ activities as needed
• Attend community and partner meetings with program staff
• Other duties as assigned

Required
• Willing to work flexible hours and weekends
• Reliable mode of transportation
• Complete Classroom and In-Water Training
• Complete Basic Water Safety training
• Comfortable in the water (preferred)
• Complete Intern Project (see application*)

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