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