Coral Reef Research Foundation


Coral Reef Research Foundation

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Minister Umiich Sengebau (1st row, 4th from left) opened the national consultation on Aquatic Biosecurity and Biofouling Management Some thirty participants representing the government (Bureau of Justice: Office of the Attorney General and Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection) Bureau of Agriculture (BOA including the Division of Biosecurity), Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, Environmental Quality Protection Board, Ngatpang State; the private sector (BIOTA, Inc., Coral Reef Research Foundation, Palau Aquaculture Cooperative Association, Palau Conservation Society, Environment, Inc.); and the academe (Palau Community College) met on 28 March during a national consultation held at the Palasia Hotel. The participants deliberated on the draft regulations on aquatic biosecurity and biofouling management, actions that are intended to protect Palau's young and growing aquaculture sector, as well as its exquisite coral reefs and lagoons. Aquaculture is an important source of biological invasions, either because the organisms being raised are aquatic invasive species or because of the presence of hitchhikers in imported shipments. Aquaculture organisms can also carry diseases which can impact the aquaculture industry and may spread to native species. In order to reduce pressures on wild marine fish and other marine organisms of economic importance, the national government has decided to increase aquaculture efforts in both marine and freshwater. While efforts have focused on breeding native fish and shellfish such as groupers, clams and mangrove crabs, there is also pressure to import exotic species, such as tilapia and whiteleg shrimp. Shipping is also a major concern, as it is has caused the global spread of many marine organisms. All groups of marine organisms may be transported through ballast water, while encrusting organisms (e.g. macro-algae, bivalve mollusks, barnacles, bryozoans, sponges and tunicates), can be carried on ships' hulls. Both may result in the introduction and spread of hard-to-eradicate species that prey on or outcompete native species and foul ports, coasts and aquaculture facilities. These invasive species are a serious threat to the pristine marine waters of Palau. In particular, recreational yachts pose a very high risk for hull-fouling organisms, as they are slow moving and may lack the incentives to keep their hulls immaculate. With the support of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) through TCP/PLW/3601/C1: Strengthening Biosecurity Capacity of Palau, the BOA and other partners in the marine and aquaculture sectors have been working with a team of experts on aquatic animal health, hull fouling, and database development to support the recently approved Biosecurity Act of 2014 that will protect Palau's aquaculture producers from diseases and other threats to their farms. In opening the national consultation, the Honorable Umiich Sengebau, Minister of Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism, thanked FAO and the participants for supporting this important effort by the BOA to protect Palau's aquaculture industry and our pristine marine environment. "These protections should be adopted and implemented as quickly as possible, and I ask that all here today work together toward this end."There was strong consensus from the participants of the national consultation to support the implementation of the Biosecurity Act of 2014, finalize the draft regulations and submit a position paper that will enable Palau's President and Cabinet to make informed decisions to support Pristine Paradise Palau through a culture of protection and conservation.

Pawlak G.,University of California at San Diego | Moline M.A.,University of Delaware | Terrill E.J.,University of California at San Diego | Colin P.L.,Coral Reef Research Foundation
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans | Year: 2017

Observations of hydrodynamics along with optical and acoustical water characteristics in a tropical fringing reef environment reveal a distinct signature associated with flow characteristics and tidal conditions. Flow conditions are dominated by tidal forcing with an offshore component from the reef flat during ebb. Measurements span variable wave conditions enabling identification of wave effects on optical and acoustical water properties. High-frequency acoustic backscatter (6 MHz) is strongly correlated with tidal forcing increasing with offshore directed flow and modulated by wave height, indicating dominant hydrodynamic influence. Backscatter at 300 and 1200 kHz is predominantly diurnal suggesting a biological component. Optical backscatter is closely correlated with high-frequency acoustic backscatter across the range of study conditions. Acoustic backscatter frequency dependence is used along with changes in optical properties to interpret particle-size variations. Changes across wave heights suggest shifts in particle-size distributions with increases in relative concentrations of smaller particles for larger wave conditions. Establishing a connection between the physical processes of a fringing tropical reef and the resulting acoustical and optical signals allows for interpretation and forecasting of the remote sensing response of these phenomena over larger scales. © 2016. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

Jaiteh V.F.,Murdoch University | Jaiteh V.F.,Coral Reef Research Foundation | Loneragan N.R.,Murdoch University | Warren C.,Murdoch University
Marine Policy | Year: 2017

For several decades, fishing sharks for their fins has provided important livelihoods for eastern Indonesian coastal communities that fish the Halmahera, Arafura and Timor Seas. Fishery and interview data collected in 2012-13 from three case studies on the islands of Seram, Aru and Rote were used to examine changes in shark fishers' livelihoods over the preceding 20 years. While recent declines in catches and shark fin prices have had a substantial impact on fishers' livelihoods, the fishery's low visibility in some areas of its geographic range and its political complexity in general have meant that government and international development agencies have largely been unaware of this impact. Many respondents remembered the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-98 and the turn of the millennium as a time when sharks were still abundant and shark fin prices high, but were concerned about the on-going fall of shark fin prices since March 2012. High-value species, particularly guitarfish, hammerhead and sandbar sharks were most affected, losing up to 40% of their pre-2012 value. These changes, combined with the loss of fishing grounds, few attractive options for alternative income and restrictive debt relationships with shark fin bosses, have led some fishers to resort to high-risk activities such as blast fishing, illegal transboundary fishing, and people smuggling. This paper examines the multi-layered causes and consequences of fishers' decision-making in response to adverse changes in their fishery, and explores options and obstacles to pursuing livelihoods that carry lower environmental, financial and personal risks. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd.

Anseeuw P.,Mispelstraat | Bell L.J.,Coral Reef Research Foundation | Harasewych M.G.,Smithsonian Institution
Nautilus | Year: 2017

A new pleurotomariid species, Bayerotrochus belaueiins new species, collected from the Palau Islands, western Pacific, is described and illustrated. This new species is most similar in shell morphology to B. teramachii (Kuroda, 1955), from which it may be distinguished by its thinner, lighter shell with a taller, more stepped spire and lack of pronounced spiral sculpture along the shell base. Molecular data (COI) show B. belauensis new species to be more closely related to B. houcheti from New Caledonia and B. delicatus from Yap, than to B. terarnachii. Bayerotrochus houcheti (Anseeuw and Poppe, 2001) differs in having a broader, more conical spire, a more depressed aperture, and a more darkly pigmented shell with spiral sculpture on the shell base. The recently described B. delicatus S.-P. Zhang, S.Q. Zhang, and Wei, 2016 is easily distinguished by its much smaller size and distinctive shell profile.

Plaza A.,U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | Bifulco G.,University of Salerno | Masullo M.,University of Salerno | Lloyd J.R.,U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Organic Chemistry | Year: 2010

(Figure presented) A new sulfated cyclic depsipeptide, termed mutremdamide A, and six new highly N-methylated peptides, termed koshikamides C-H, were isolated from different deep-water specimens of Theonella swinhoei and Theonella cupola. Their structures were determined using extensive 2D NMR, ESI, or CDESI and QTOF-MS/MS experiments and absolute configurations established by quantum mechanical calculations, advanced Marfeys method, and chiral HPLC. Mutremdamide A displays a rare 2-amino-3-(2-hydroxyphenyl)propanoic acid and a new N δ-carbamoyl-β-sulfated asparagine. Koshikamides C-E are linear undecapeptides, and koshikamides F-H are 17-residue depsipeptides containing a 10-residue macrolactone. Koshikamides F and G differ from B and H in part by the presence of the conjugated unit 2-(3-amino-5-oxopyrrolidin-2- ylidene)propanoic acid. Cyclic koshikamides F and H inhibited HIV-1 entry at low micromolar concentrations while their linear counterparts were inactive. The Theonella collections studied here are distinguished by co-occurrence of mutremdamide A, koshikamides, and theonellamides, the combination of which appears to define a new Theonella chemotype that can be found in deeper waters. © 2010 American Chemical Society.

Colin P.L.,Coral Reef Research Foundation | Sadovy de Mitcheson Y.,University of Hong Kong | Donaldson T.J.,University of Guam
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science | Year: 2013

Golbuu and Friedlander (2011, Estuar. Coast. Shelf Sci. 92:223) used faulty methods, improper interpretation of historical data, and assumptions of little or no validity to conclude that despite protected status spawning aggregations of three groupers in Palau, western Caroline Islands declined between 1995-96 and 2005-06. Alternate survey methods indicated no drastic declines in these aggregations over the same period. Golbuu and Friedlander (2011) failed to document the overall distribution of fishes in their aggregations, used poorly-located inadequate transects to sample the overall aggregation area, and did not identify and sample peak aggregations days. The use of visual length estimates as the basis for biomass values may introduce errors. Comparison of aggregation persistence between reference (" fished out" ) and protected sites is not possible because equivalent protected and exploited sites are not available. Different species at multi-species spawning aggregation sites commonly occupy somewhat discrete locations, with the densest concentrations (core areas) of one often being separated from those for another. There is usually a single peak day each month of a lunar-based aggregation, but it requires multiple days data collection to determine that peak. The shortcomings identified provide important lessons for the study of fish spawning aggregations and signal caution about the incomplete documentation of sampling methodology. Overly simplistic aggregation sampling methodologies may be superficially credible, but are not reflective of a complicated reality. Monitoring needs to produce a definitive repeatable baseline against which data can be gathered authoritatively in the future. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Plaza A.,U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | Keffer J.L.,U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | Lloyd J.R.,U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases | Colin P.L.,Coral Reef Research Foundation | Bewley C.A.,U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Journal of Natural Products | Year: 2010

Three new anabaenopeptin-like peptides, named paltolides A-C, were isolated from a deep-water specimen of the marine sponge Theonella swinhoei from Palau. Paltolides belong to a rare subgroup of sponge-derived anabaenopeptins that have in common a C-terminal tryptophan residue linked to the ε-amine of a lysine bearing a D configuration. The structures of paltolides A-C were determined by NMR and tandem MS techniques. Paltolide A is the first anabaenopeptin structure where a non-N-methylated amino acid precedes the C-terminal residue.

PubMed | U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and Coral Reef Research Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of natural products | Year: 2016

Antibacterial-guided fractionation of the Dictyoceratid sponges Lamellodysidea sp. and two samples of Dysidea granulosa yielded 14 polybrominated, diphenyl ethers including one new methoxy-containing compound (8). Their structures were elucidated by interpretation of spectroscopic data of the natural product and their methoxy derivatives. Most of the compounds showed strong antimicrobial activity with low- to sub-microgram mL(-1) minimum inhibitory concentrations against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecium, and two compounds inhibited Escherichia coli in a structure-dependent manner.

The humphead wrasse Cheilinus undulatus formed resident spawning aggregations daily after high tide at specific locations along the seaward edge of the Palau barrier reef. The location and extent of one aggregation site remained consistent for 6 years with no physical features distinguishing it from adjacent areas. Spawning was documented most months and probably occurred year round with possible seasonal and lunar variation. Spawning males arrived first at the site, followed by females and potentially small primary males. The aggregation female to male sex ratio was estimated to be between 6:1 and 10:1. A maximum of 15 males and 100-150 females were observed at the site. A male courtship posture with the anal fin pointed, the caudal fin folded down and the dorsal fin folded against the body was maintained while swimming a few metres off the bottom in view of females. When ready to spawn females rose up as the posturing male passed and the pair released gametes in a relatively sedate fashion near the surface along the shelf break. No attempted predation on spawning adults was seen. Egg predation after spawning was uncommon. On days with early to mid-day high tides the spawning period started 2·0-2·5 h after high tide when the speed of lagoon-ocean tidal currents peaked and lasted c. 1 h. On days with later afternoon high tides, spawning occurred sooner after high tide and before current speeds peaked. Other fishes with planktonic eggs spawned at the site as pairs or small groups in a rough succession after high tide with C. undulatus, the last species to spawn. © 2010 The Author. Journal compilation © 2010 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

In the tropical western North Atlantic the goby genus Elacatinus has at least 25 species which can be separated into five eco-morphological suites. Within a suite, geographic distributions of species are usually mutually exclusive. Last reviewed in 1975 numerous published misidentifications have confused the zoogeography in addition to new taxa having been added. The species and their distributions are reviewed, corrected and updated to prepare for an analysis of their zoogeography relative to mechanisms of connectivity through ocean currents. Copyright © 2010 Magnolia Press.

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