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.
Job well done for completing the FOR Guam summer internship program!
Q&A with local partners after the presentation
Interns got to meet and learn about large-scale algal removal with Brad, who worked on this project in Hawaii
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.
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 email@example.com or call 646-1905 or 333-4050 for more information.
Blog by Brittany Tominez, 2018 FOR Guam summer intern
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.
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.
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.