2015 Milestones

We are so lucky to have worked with the community for another year! We continued to expand our program beyond coral reef monitoring, so that you and everyone else on Guam have different opportunities to care for our coral reefs with meaningful experiences! Happy to say we’ve kept our coral reef monitoring activities and Science Sunday program going!

Instructor Training for Adopt-A-Reef group

Our partners (and friends) of the War in the Pacific National Historical Park participated in Coral Reef Monitoring Instructor Training in February 2015. As part of the Adopt-a-Reef initiative, we encourage leadership of reef stewardship activities at their “adopted site.” For three years, GCCRMP has worked with the Youth Conservation Corp (renamed Preservation Rangers) every summer to conduct coral reef monitoring training. With instructor training, leaders of the Preservation Rangers can conduct class training. Class training lays the foundation to understand the importance and purpose of coral reef monitoring before learning survey methods.

Ms. Tanya practicing her take on functional roles of reef fish aka Fish Jobs

When summer 2015 rolled around, Kina Lewis, one instructor trainee, took the lead in the “class training” portion for coral reef monitoring during Youth Conservation Corps Summer Camp. And she did a great job by reinforcing key points with her experiences! One tip that we encouraged during instructor training – share your own experience or story on the reef. It makes the topic more fun and conversational among the group!

 Monitoring Training with Fish Eye Marine Park staff

In March 2015, we partnered with Fish Eye Marine Park to do coral reef monitoring training. Fish Eye’s Marine Observatory is situated in the Piti Bomb Holes Marine Preserve Area – one of GCCRMP’s main monitoring sites.

FISH EYE_ photo from Renny Loren
Post-monitoring training with Fish Eye staff.  Photo courtesy of Renny Loren.

This was our first time working with a thriving business of Guam’s tourism industry. We hope to work with more businesses in Guam’s tourism industry, so their staff can gain a fun learning experience, knowledge on reef impacts, and awareness of good reef etiquette that can be shared with others. See Word on the Reef Issue 3 for more details. Visit our Media Gallery to see photos with Fish Eye group.
2015 Summer Internship
In July, Jocelyn Emia and Jessie Bautista, two college students with roots in Guam became GCCRMP’s first interns. Jocelyn is a biology major at University of Guam who is interested in pursuing marine science after she receives her bachelor’s degree. Jessie Bautista attends University of California Santa Cruz pursuing a Biology and Environmental Studies degree focused on Conservation Biology.

seagrass field
Field work in West Hagatna site

Together, they worked on a mini-case study that focused on seagrass habitat. During their internship, they completed coral reef monitoring training, collected data, and analyzed their data to compare seagrass habitat in Piti Bomb Holes Marine Preserve and West Hagatna Bay (a non-protected area). Jocelyn and Jessie concluded their internship with a presentation of their mini-case study and results to local resource agency staff as well as education and outreach partners.
Additionally, they both helped gather video footage for an ongoing video project. Jocelyn helped create the Eyes of the Reef Marianas online reporting form and assisted with development of Tasi (ocean) workbook page that was distributed to attendees of Guam Nature Alliance’s R2R Masso Adventure in September.  Read about their experience here.

2015 intern presentation
Jocelyn and Jesi presenting mini-case study results to local partners

R.E.E.F. Celebration
On November 7, we threw our Reef Exploration, Experiences, and Fun (R.E.E.F) Celebration to recognize the contribution by community members and partners that make GCCRMP such a success. During the celebration, attendees enjoyed a Mini-Fair where they learned about different volunteer opportunities and other programs that strive to protect Guam’s beautiful environment. Attendees also enjoyed photo sessions with Piti Pete and Frank the Flamefish and received their printed photos as a ‘party favor.’

Val Brown snaps a group photo with Fish Friends

Program science coordinator, Val Brown, presented some preliminary results from the community-collected monitoring data. More analysis will be done with data and posted on website once completed. Marybelle Quinata, program coordinator, highlighted recent program activities and upcoming launch of other initiatives to grow GCCRMP. A Live Showcase featured our partners and activities they do as stewards of the environment. Two of our Adopt-a-Reef groups, the Umatac Coral Reef Ambassadors and War in the Pacific National Historical Parks, featured their group’s ridge to reef stewardship efforts. We ended the celebration with a certificate ceremony awarded to our program partners from local resource agencies, school groups, and community groups.
Partners at the Mini-Fair include Guam Department of Agriculture – Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, Piti Pride RARE Campaign, Guam Coastal Management Program, the Ayuda Foundation, George Washington High School’s Marine Mania Club, Guam Community College’s Ecowarriors, and UOG Sea Grant.
Eyes of the Reef Marianas

In the first week of December, we launched our Eyes of the Reef Marianas program with our local agency partners (shout out to Guam’s Bureau of Statistics and Plans!). Based on Hawaii’s Eyes of the Reef program, Guam and CNMI have partnered to use this community-based online reporting system for residents to take action and report reef impacts. About 20 people completed training where they learned about how to spot and assess coral bleaching, coral abnormalities (signs of coral disease), different nuisance species that should be reported, and how to report them using the online form.

eor fun
Eyes of the Reef Marianas rash guards!  These three are ready to report!

We’ll be refining the program over the next year. This effort will help Guam’s handful of dedicated marine scientists  part of Guam’s Rapid Response Team have extra “eyes on the reef” who can report reef impacts.  Who knows?  Community reports can  prevent  potentially devastating outbreaks on our island’s coral reefs in the future!


Human-use Monitoring
We piloted our Human-Use Monitoring training with George Washington High School’s marine biology students and Marine Mania members in December 2015. Program coordinator, Marybelle, conducted a briefing at the school to go over purpose of Human-use Monitoring, observation reporting form, and overview of field training. The Tumon Bay Marine Preserve was selected as field activity site, where participants recorded Tumon Bay users’ activities stretching from Ypao to Reef Hotel.

20151222_102817After collecting observation data, the group shared their counts on various beach activities (e.g. swimming, wading, snorkeling, and more). During the discussion, participants discussed ways to improve human-use monitoring. For example, participants agreed a guidelines section would ensure observers understand differences between various activities. Another suggestion was to include marine preserve regulations, so that observers are aware of rules and can accurately record any violations. Information collected can help lessen human impacts on our reefs from ocean recreational activities.

Mission Complete: GW students and Marine Mania pose ending 2015 

Whew!  That’s what we’ve been up to in 2015.  We look forward to 2016 and our continued efforts working our community to grow environmental stewardship of Guam’s coral reefs. Can’t wait to get back in the water and start coral reef monitoring with our members!  Check back to our website or follow us on Facebook. Email gureefmonitoring@gmail.com if you want to join our email list.