Day 12: Typhoon 1 : Students 0

Typhoon Mangkhut passed by Guam ┬áthe night of September 10th. Even though we’re over a thousand kilometers away, yesterday was windy, last night was windier and today was largely uneventful after having to cancel most of our plans.

Here’s our most exciting footage of the day, courtesy of Scott as he had to go collect his swim trunks. This is a boat in a calm, cozy, protected little bay. Notice the still waters and steady dock.

Most of our group spent the day quietly lounging around the hostel, some went shopping, many (most?) worked on their papers.

At 5pm Chris Kitalong joined us to cover his work on medicinal plants in Palau. His research has primarily covered plants in the genera Premna and Phaleria, both native to Palau. Premna is used historically for cuts, scrapes, as a mosquito repellent, and more. Phaleria has been used for a wide variety of metabolic processes. Chris was able to identify a specific compound in Phaleria – mangiferin – that responds quickly to glucose intake and interacts with the insulin response. He has been involved with a wide range of ethnobotany, and strives to increase human health and understanding of plants by combining traditional and scientific knowledge.

Next we heard from Princess Blailes, the PAN Coordinator for Koror State, and her accompanying ranger and conservation officer. We heard about their efforts to mitigate impacts from tourism, including development of “sacrifice sites” to condense damage from tourists and forming a certification program to train tour guides (80-90% who are non-local).

Last but not least we attended the 20×20 Coral Reef Talk presented by PICRC. There were 7 presentations addressing a variety of coral reef topics.

Reid: My favorite talk was Steve Lindfield’s. The research on the deep coral reefs was really interesting (and really pretty). Specifically the internal waves which was probably the most interesting part because of the large temperature shifts in such a short period of time.

Kimberly: My favorite talk was Marine Gouezo discussing long term monitoring efforts in Palau’s coral reefs. Her data primarily looked at coral reef recovery from various events starting in 2002. Though the reefs on the east side of Palau have not had much time to recover since the double typhoons in 12/13, it was encouraging to hear how well the west has recovered, and that the inner bay reefs were fairly stable. What worries me is how long recovery takes and the anticipation of more frequent events that will cause serious damage to reefs.

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