Guam hosts its 4th Coral Reef Symposium to share advances in coral reef science and management

By AIC Guest Blogger Whitney Hoot, Coral Reef Resilience Coordinator, Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans

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Dr. Adrian Stier from the University of California, Santa Barbara delivered a keynote talk about the recovery of degraded ecosystems. Credit: Christian Benitez/BSP

On March 27, over 200 coral reef managers, scientists, students, and private citizens gathered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Tumon Bay, Guam to attend the 4th Guam Coral Reef Symposium. Participants heard from 15 speakers who presented on topics ranging from innovations in coral reef mapping technologies to the evolutionary relationships among corals to the resilience of Guam’s coral reefs to climate change. The keynote speaker, Dr. Adrian Stier from the University of California, Santa Barbara, spoke to the audience about the recovery of disturbed marine ecosystems and the importance of implementing management actions that stimulate recovery. He emphasized the need for stakeholder buy-in and scientific consensus for effective management of coral reef resources.

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Over 200 participants attended the 4th Guam Coral Reef Symposium on March 27. Credit: Mallory Morgan/BSP

During lunch, participants mingled and enjoyed a poster session; several of the poster presenters were students from the University of Guam (UOG). It was a long, busy day, but most seats were still full when the closing remarks ended at 4:00pm – a good sign. During her closing remarks, Valerie Brown of NOAA Fisheries synthesized the knowledge shared over the course of the day and emphasized the need to continue engaging the community to better protect our coral reefs. In 2018, Guam Coral Reef Initiative partners and other stakeholders are celebrating Guam Year of the Reef in honor of International Year of the Reef. This effort involves extensive outreach and education activities; local managers hope to reach community members who aren’t already aware of coral reef issues and encourage them to help protect Guam’s coral reefs.

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After each session, presenters answered questions from the audience. Credit: Mallory Morgan/BSP

The symposium was coordinated by the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans with administrative support from UOG’s Center for Island Sustainability and Professional and International Programs, and made possible with generous funding from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program, UOG Sea Grant and EPSCoR, the Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs, Calvo Enterprises, Coast 360, Tokio Marine Pacific, and Calvo’s Insurance.

Learn more about Guam’s International Year of the Reef  efforts and activities at:  http://www.guamcoralreefs.com/gyor18

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The AIC is looking for a Communications Intern!

Are you interested in sharing stories about effective coral reef management? Want to get more involved with the AIC and coral reefs throughout the US and Freely Associated States? Do you have an interest in social media and communications? Apply to be the AIC Communications Intern!

The AIC is looking for help to ensure we have a strong online presence during International Year of the Reef (IYOR).  The intern will focus on developing and implementing social media campaigns that highlight the work in the 10 AIC jurisdictions, and the urgent need to protect and conserve coral reef ecosystems immediately. The intern will work remotely, and need an internet connection to complete this internship.  While this is an unpaid position, the intern will gain valuable connections in the coral reef management community and great experience working with people in 10 unique places.

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Internship Scope:

  • Analyze current social media outreach efforts
  • Develop an AIC IYOR Social Media Plan/outline, including performance metrics and 1 or 2 realistic and doable social media “campaigns”
  • Communicate with AIC Jurisdictions to gather content, photos, etc needed for the campaign
  • Implement social media campaigns with review from the AIC Executive Director
  • Track and compile social media stats for regular reporting
  • Liaise with AIC Executive Director and NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP) and other partners to share AIC content with a broader audience.

Intern Requirements:

  • Experience and expertise in social media strategy and plans
  • Familiarity with various social media tools, including Facebook and WordPress, etc
  • Access to reliable internet and familiarity with word-processing and desktop publishing software
  • Experience interacting/communicating/working with folks virtually on a collaborative product a plus
  • Living in, from, or experience in,  one of the AIC Jurisdictions

Expected time commitment: 3-5 hours/week

Internship Location: Anywhere. This is a remote internship. We do require consistent internet access to work with a Honolulu based supervisor and the AIC Jurisdictions.

To apply: Please submit a cover letter and resume to Kristine Bucchianeri, AIC Executive Director at Kristine.Bucchianeri@noaa.gov  by April 6, 2018.

 

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AIC Chair’s Report, February 2018: An update on 6 months of activities, actions and needs

by Kristine Bucchianeri, AIC Executive Director

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USCRTF Co-chairs, Dr. Russell Callender (NOAA) and Marshall Critchfield (DOI), listen to the AIC Chair’s report, presented by AIC Chair Jean-Pierre Oriol (USVI)

The U.S. All Islands Coral Reef Committee (AIC) just finished up a highly productive week in Washington DC, participating in the 39th US Coral Ref Task Force Meeting and wanted to share with you some highlights of what has been happening since the AIC last met in August 2017.

Four of the AIC Jurisdictions were hit by hurricanes in the past 6 months, and are actively working on recovery efforts.  Florida continues to deal with an unprecedented coral disease outbreak. Despite this, advances were made in watersheds restoration efforts, in building resilience and educating more people about the essential services provided by coral reefs worldwide.

The AIC presented a new initiative last week, that will help ensure coral reefs thrive and continue to survive while facing continual threats from warming oceans, changing acidity, natural disasters and local stressors.  The AIC is moving forward with establishing resilient coral nurseries in each of the jurisdictions to build stronger local breeding stocks of corals, but also to build local capacity in the newest available technologies to help to preserve and protect this important ecosystem. More information on our Plan of Action will be coming soon.

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AIC Members, Advisers and invited guests had an informal dinner during the Task Force meeting.

Additionally strengthening federal-jurisdiction integration and partnerships, the Coral Reef Management Fellowship Program, and the reauthorization of Coral Reef Conservation Act (of 2000) remain top priorities.

Additionally, the AIC participated in some successful meetings on the USCRTF Watershed Partnership Initiative, a lively meeting of the Climate Change Working Group, and meetings with other essential partners to coral reef conservation efforts.

For more information and details, check out the newest AIC Chair’s  Report presented at the 39th USCRTF Meeting in Washington DC.  

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Liveaboards at Guadalupe Island Pay Less, Dive More!

As the best place in the world to cage dive with great white sharks, remote and pristine Guadalupe Island in Mexico offers cage diving amazing visibility, a four month shark season, and a better overall shark experience to other cage diving destinations. America’s Shark Boat based in San Diego, California offers more for less, come diving this year for an amazing all inclusive rate of just $2795!

About Guadalupe island Cage Diving

Cage divers and shark divers travel to the remote island of Guadalupe for one reason, diving with multiple great white sharks. Guadalupe happens to be one of the four places in the world where this is possible, and of all these destinations, this Mexican island boasts the clearest and warmest waters. While most of the diving here takes place within the confines of a professional shark cage, new rules and regulations prohibit out of cage diving with these magnificent predators. On America’s Shark Boat both certified divers and non-divers can participate. Located about 22 hours from the mainland, Guadalupe can only be reached by liveaboard. Typically, itineraries last 4 to 5 nights, and the best time to dive in Guadalupe is from June to November.

Guadalupe Island White Shark Research Expeditions

America’s Shark Boat is excited to announce several shark diving research cage diving expeditions in 2018. This is your chance to meet the stars of Shark Week and participate in shark research and shark conservation at Guadalupe Island!

Dr Craig O’Connell Shark Dates

Shark research is ongoing at Guadalupe Island, and this year we’ll be hosting Shark Weeks Dr. Craig O’Connell. You know him from Jungle Sharks, Sharks Among Us, Shark Island, Ninja Sharks and Great White Invasion to name a few fintastic shark programs. Dr O’Connell will be with us to share his knowledge of white sharks and shark research on: October 15th October 20th

Dr Chris Lowe Shark Lab Research Dates

We’ll also be hosting Shark Weeks Dr. Chris Lowe from Cal State Labs. We have worked with Dr. Lowe on may projects at Guadalupe Island, and this year he and his team will be back to unveil an exciting and groundbreaking project for the great white sharks: August 6-11 Our cage diving tours are small and intimate, ensuring extended diving time and complete safety for all our guests. We have our own boat and a highly skilled crew, and since we are not a booking agency, you’ll always know what to expect and who you will be dealing with. We never take any shortcuts – not when it comes to your safety, nor the safety and protection of the sharks. Let’s dive!

Reef Worlds Inc (www.reefworlds.com), the leading sustainable underwater tourism development firm in the U.S. Designing and building experiential “Underwater Worlds” for the environment and select waterfront resort developments, cruise lines, and private island ownership.

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Guam Year of the Reef 2018 launches with two events in February

By AIC Guest Blogger: Whitney Hoot,  Coral Reef Resilience Coordinator, Bureau of Statistics and Plans, Government of Guam

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Mr. Carl Dominguez, Director of BSP, Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, Senator Louise B. Muña, and Guardians of the Reef participants point out just one of the many “Guardians” present at the proclamation signing on February 2nd. Credit: Whitney Hoot, Guam BSP

Guam Year of the Reef 2018 (GYOR) launched on February 2nd with a proclamation signing by Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio and presentation of a legislative resolution by Senator Louise B. Muña. Held outside at the Governor’s Complex in view of the reefs of East Agana Bay, the event was well attended, including over 100 participants from the Guardians of the Reef program, representing four local high schools. The “Guardians” are 11th and 12th grade students trained to teach 3rd graders about coral reef ecosystems. At the event, both students and adults declared their commitment to protecting coral reefs by signing the Reef Pledge.

On February 10th, the Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program (GCCRMP) held the second Reef Exploration, Experiences, and Fun (REEF) Celebration. Over 1,300 community members have participated in this program by completing training to learn how to collect data and monitor the health of reef flat habitats. This event, which was supported by the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans (BSP) and NOAA, featured GCCRMP’s Adopt-a-Reef groups and showcased the efforts of local organizations such as the University of Guam’s Marine Lab, Micronesian Conservation Coalition, and Humatak Community Foundation.

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Piti Pete, the orange-spine unicornfish (Naso lituratus), made a surprise appearance at the REEF Celebration on February 10th. Credit: Patrick Keeler, Guam BSP

Presentations emphasized that although Guam’s reefs have severely deteriorated, there is an important source of hope among the many dedicated citizens, natural resource managers, and community leaders who care deeply about Guam’s coral reefs. Attendees nodded their heads when viewing slides showing degraded reefs, demonstrating their awareness of the dire situation, but clapped enthusiastically as groups and individuals were recognized for their tireless efforts to conserve coral reefs. Ms. Val Brown, NOAA Fisheries, gave participants another reason to celebrate: GCCRMP is being renamed Friends of Reefs Guam (FOR Guam), as the program will be expanded to include activities outside of monitoring, such as coral reef restoration – another source of hope for Guam’s reefs.

More information on GYOR is available here: http://www.guamcoralreefs.com. Updates will also be posted on the GYOR Facebook page (@GuamYearoftheReef2018) and Twitter account (@GuamYOR2018).GYOR2018 logo for AIC blog

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It’s International Year of the Reef!

At the 31st General Meeting (November 2016 in Paris, France), the International Coral Reef Initiative declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef.IYOR2018_Blue

What is International Year of the Reef (IYOR)?

IYOR is a global effort to increase awareness and understanding on the values and threats to coral reefs and to support related conservation, research and management efforts.  During the last IYOR in 2008, more than 630 events were organized in over 65 countries and territories around the world!

What is the focus of #IYOR2018?

The ICRI is encouraging all members and partners to:

  • strengthen awareness globally about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and associated ecosystems;
  • promote partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society on the management of coral reefs;
  • identify and implement effective management strategies for conservation, increased resiliency and sustainable use of these ecosystems and promoting best practices; and
  • share information on best practices in relation to sustainable coral reef management.

What can I do to support #IYOR2018?

  • Keep an eye on the AIC Facebook page. We’ll be posting events throughout the US and updates on ways to get involved.
  • Follow @IYOR2018 on Facebook or twitter to stay up to date on International Efforts
  • Reach out to your favorite Coral Reef organization and see what they have planned.
  • Or host an event to raise awareness among your friends. Some ideas to get you started:

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Top down photos with a smartphone

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I recently shipped out a Smartphone Floater to a customer that has a Samsung Note8 phone. His immediate concern was that he was going to flood the box and ruin his phone.  I’ve been making a type of floater box for iPhones for the past six years or more.  I’m sure in that time, someone has had an accident and got water inside the box because not everyone is perfect.  That being said, I’ve never had that problem. I put the phone in the box, place it on the surface of the water and hold it where I want to take a picture.

Today I made a quick video about it for youtube.

And here’s a video I shot back in 2011 over my 400g.

Then I thought, lemme take some quick pictures with my iPhone 7 Plus in that same floater box you saw in the first video.  These were resized to fit the website, and I did adjust the colors a bit in Lightroom so it would be a little less blue. This first picture is a close up of a Montipora sp, called Sunset Monti.

The Milka coral is purple, so under blue lights this is about as good as it gets with a cellphone camera and no filter.

Below is a Pavona. I’ve had pavona in my reefs for over 10 years. It’s also called a Cactus coral.

I wish this picture was better. The oranges were popping so hard, but I think the sand muted the shot. More of the sunset monti in the lower left corner.

The Sebae anemone with some of the Skunks.

A large colony of Sunset montipora.

My lobophyllia looks blue-grey from above.  It looks so different from the side, you’d never believe it can be this color.

Below is the Lime In The Sky acropora. Green with bright blue tips, hard to capture with a smartphone camera and no gel filter.

Some Darth Maul palys peek out from under a Hammer coral.

A bunch of tiny new branches of Melev’s Shadowcaster acro bursting out of a puddle of DNA. 🙂

Below, the pink and green coral is one of two Drew’s Acros in my reef. The bright green coral is a Porites.

This green Favia brain coral (below) is a very slow grower, I’ve had it for years. Got it from Duane when visiting him once.

These are pink and green Blastomussa coral polyps.

This is an Elkhorn montipora I got from Duane.

Some brown birdsnest with blue-ish polyps.

A red acropora from Duane is growing nicely.

Two more acropora, including the Blue Tort (left).

Milka colony from above.

The other Drew’s acro.

This tiny twig is green skinned like the Orion Slave girl from Star Trek.  We’re calling it the Joanie Brosas coral. lol

And a closeup of the branches of Melev’s Shadowcaster acro.

So that’s it. I took all these pictures in about 5 minutes in that floater box, and didn’t use any gels. Some light editing in Lightroom to prep them so I could share them with you. I’d be cautious when doing top down photography, but you could say that about any DSLR brand on the market as well. Be smart, be careful, and show us your pretty reefs.

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