My internship at MSEL and PICRC – Anna Parker
I volunteered as an intern at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) from mid-January to mid-March 2015, working under the guidance of Dr. Alyssa Marshell, a post-doctoral researcher from the University of Queensland, Australia. In two short months I have completely fallen in love with the islands of Palau and have grown immensely due to the intelligent, hard-working people I have been surrounded by.
Alyssa has been working with PICRC and the state of Koror since May 2014, with important projects that will provide information for reef managers to ensure that Palau’s natural resources are being used sustainably. I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to do this critical conservation research alongside her. In my time here we have worked hard, maintaining 15 cages set up in the Ngederrak Conservation Area in Koror State. With these cages we were able to study three species of common surgeonfish (Acanthurus nigricans, Zebrasoma scopas and Ctenochaetus striatus) and their grazing impact on algae and coral growth. The results will highlight and quantify the important role these species play in reducing algal growth and promoting coral development.
My goal, upon leaving Palau, is to continue gaining field experience, and eventually return to graduate school to study wildlife conservation. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to be part of the PICRC team, and so truly inspired by the incredible work being done at PICRC. I am very sad to say good-bye, but the field experience I’ve gained has been invaluable and I am excited to apply my new knowledge and skills to what lays ahead. Thank-you so much Alyssa, I could not have asked for a better mentor! And thank-you PICRC for giving me the opportunity to be part of your ongoing research and education, and for opening my eyes even wider to all the great things going on around me. I will miss everyone!