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!
Pool ring helped keep opening on the surface
Holes allowed for some submersion in the water
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!
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.
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!
Blog written by: Marilyn Connell, 2018 FOR Guam summer intern
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.
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!
Here’s your chance to join FOR Guam’s Coral Reef Monitoring Team! Join us this Saturday, June 23rd from 9am-12pm at the Tepungan Beach Park (next to Fish Eye Marine Observatory) in Piti. We provide snorkel gear, life jackets, and a limited number of tabbies. This a fun way to get to know Guam’s waters even more and contribute to tracking its health.
Please note that participants under 14 must be accompanied by parent or other trusted adult. 14 do not need a parent with them, but must have liability release form signed by their parent/guardian to participate. Liability release forms will be available on site. Click here to sign up.
“Louis Agassiz is one of the marine biology laboratory systems founders in the United States. He was a firm believer in a “hands-on” approach to science, and is infamous for his adage, “study nature, not books.”
This Science Sunday we feature team members of the Fish Spawning Survey Habitat, or FISSH, led by the Micronesia Conservation Coalition. Members include local university students and science enthusiasts who learned basic fish survey techniques that expanded into more advanced research methods to study fish spawning on Guam. Learn about their experience, methods, and conclusions from this hands-on project.
So join us for this Science Sunday on June 17 at 2pm at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center. This event is free and open to the public; no registration required. Seats are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Summer is here – rainier than usual, but it’s here! It’s exciting to let out that sigh of relief when the end of semester chaos is over and the horizon of what summer 2018 will bring. On our horizon, you can be part of new efforts in coral reef conservation for our island.
Through this unpaid internship, interns will:
Gain valuable field and work experience in coral reef restoration
Receive training in water safety and field techniques for coral restoration
Increase their science communication skills and understanding of Guam’s coral reef issues
Analyzing collected seagrass data with Val
Review the 2018 Summer Internship overview here for more details.
Join us for another fun Science Sunday! For the first time, we will feature mangrove ecosystems. Our guest speaker, Jessica Gross will share the importance of mangroves, some of the threats to mangroves, and her work in mangroves areas on Guam and abroad. Science Sunday is this Sunday, May 20 at 2pm at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center.
Mangrove areas on Guam can be seen in the Sasa Bay Marine Preserve Area and the Achang Marine Preserve Area. You’re likely to notice them with their large protruding roots along the coast as you’re driving in Sumay or along Merizo toward Inarajan. So what’s so important about mangroves?
Coastal protection from storms – mangroves are a buffer that help keep our coasts from eroding away and flooding
Sediment filters – mangroves help hold sediment that washes down our rivers from getting to our coral reefs
Fish nursery – mangroves are juvenile reef fish habitat
This is just a preview of what’s to come for Science Sunday. Jessica will share other reasons why these mangroves are so important for our island and some of the threats they face today. We hope you can make it to this one-of-a-kind talk. Get a preview from Jessica from her interview with KUAM.
Science Sunday speaker, Brent Tibbatts, returns to Science Sunday for some “unusuWHALE history” on April 15 at 2pm at the T. Stell Newman Visitor Center. Brent will talk about different species we can find in Micronesia, especially those that frequent the Marianas. Did you know that the whaling industry in the 19th century included Micronesia? Get some insight on the history of whaling in Micronesia from Brent. And probably one of the coolest experiences Brent will share is what happens during a marine mammal stranding, such as saving a beached whale. Aren’t you overWHALEmed with excitement? Science Sunday is free and open to the public. No sign-up is required. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-1905.