ICRS13 proceedings

by Austin Yeung 2016-12-30

The proceedings of ICRS13, the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, held in June 2016 at the Honolulu Convention Center, has now been published.

To learn more, click here to go to the ICRS13 proceedings page or download its table of contents here.

My paper with Prof. David M. Baker:

Session 80: A.H. Yeung, D.M. Baker (2016) A turnaround at Sanya National Coral Reef Nature Reserve?

Proc 13th Intl Coral Reef Symposium Honolulu: 561-580

can also be downloaded here.

Papahānaumokuākea the world’s largest MPA

by Alan Yeung 2016-08-27

The White House has just announced the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, thus creating the world’s largest marine reserve with an aim to protect coral reefs and other marine habitats.

President Obama’s designation will quadruple the size of the uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands’ no-take reserve, expanding the total protected area of the monument from 139,797 to 582,578 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers). Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is a national monument first designated by President George W. Bush in 2006 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. At the far northwestern end of the monument lie the Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Kure Atoll, and Midway Atoll, which is about 1,300 miles (2,100 kilometers) from Honolulu, HI.

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Expedition to Palau

by Austin Yeung 2016-07-26

Six months and a few hundred diving photos later, I returned to Palau. This time, the purpose of travel was entirely different. Instead of vacationing in Palau, I was doing field work – coral experiments.  Marine biologist Prof. Palumbi and Megan Morikawa from Stanford University were doing baseline data collection in Palau. Amazingly, I was fortunate enough to be able to join them on this research expedition. Along with my friend Sebastian, another avid diver and photographer, I was introduced to sample and data collection in the ocean. By using data loggers, we recorded temperatures of the patch reefs in the area. A critical aspect of the experiment was to navigate the seas and find the locations at which the data loggers were first placed. I found this to be a very valuable learning experience as I was taught how to use a satellite GPS and use it to navigate the waters. It was fun, it was relaxing, and it was educational.

As you can imagine, doing research work in an environment like that of Palau, it’s hard not to become distracted by the beauty of the environment. With our underwater cameras, Sebastian and I were able to capture breathtaking photos of underwater life. On one particular occasion, Prof. Palumbi discovered a lionrock: a rock that sheltered lionfish. By using still shots with the GoPro, I was able to record the movements of a spectacular baby lionfish and its two parents. It’s the little things that we saw during our research expedition that really attracts me to this particular type of research. It’s the combination of seeing wildlife beauty and the research work around it that interests me. This is why I enjoy marine biology.

Austin Yeung receives ICRS award

by TNP Editor  2016-06-26

Congratulations to Austin Yeung for receiving a student poster award at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), Honolulu, Hawaii.

Sanctioned by International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) and held once every 4 years, the symposium took place on June 19-25, 2016 at the Honolulu Convention Center, and brought together the world’s students, researchers, and scholars in coral reef science, as well as sovereign and conservation management leaders.

A member of NaturePac and currently attending Shanghai American School, Austin is advised by Dr. David M. Baker, a biology professor at the Swire Institute of Marine Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong.

Malaysia creates large MPA in Sabah

by Alan Yeung  2016-06-04

Sabah announces a ‘huge’ marine protected area and shark sanctuary with over 1 million hectares covering the peninsula and 50 islands.  It is named Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) after the first official, and will officially be the biggest marine park and second largest coral reef reserve in Malaysia.

The outcome culminates over ten years of government, scientific, community, and nonprofit organization efforts.  The area is worth protecting because of its richness in biodiversity and its impact on local fisheries.

In a 2012 baseline study, Waheed et al. reported 49% of the hard coral cover in TMP, mostly fringing and patch reefs, are in good to excellent condition. Yet, only 7% of the surveyed reefs had 75% or more coverage. There is evidence of blast and poison fishing, but the damages, such as rubble fragments, appear to be old.  Overfishing also seems to be an issue as turtles, sharks and other high-value reef species are missing.

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Palau approves new massive marine reserve

Palau Rock Islands

by Alan Yeung 2015-10-27

On Thursday Palau’s Congress approved the Palau National Marine Sanctuary Act, making good on a pledge made by President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. in 2014, for Palau to protect 193,000 square miles (500,000 square kilometers), or 80 percent of the Pacific island nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), or the territorial waters that it controls.

The new sanctuary will exclude all extractive activities, such as mining, and industrial-scale fishing and exports of catches.

President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. indicated he would sign the measure into law as soon as posssible, thus establishing Palau as one of the world’s leading nations in marine conservation.  Palau now leads the world in terms of setting aside the highest percentage of its EEZ for full marine protection.

According to NGS  Palau is host to more than 1,300 species of fish and 700 species of coral.

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