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Contact: Ines Kintoki
Phone: 488-6950 ext. 244
Email: ikintoki@picrc.org
Date: 2/08/18

Last month, an 850 pounds buoy was installed in Ngederrak Conservation Area by Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), in collaboration with Koror State Government and Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST).  The buoy is a non-invasive system that takes eight measurements a day of carbon dioxide (CO2), pH, temperature, and salinity. This monitoring system will help increase our understanding of Ocean Acidification (OA), the factors affecting OA, and determine proactive and responsive actions to reduce and minimize its impacts.

In the past two centuries, the acidity level in the ocean has increased by 25%.  No marine environment has experienced a change this great in the past thirty-million years.  Increased acidity in the ocean removes carbonate ions in the oceans, which many marine organisms need to build their shells and skeletons.   As such, the higher acidity is expected to impact ocean life in varying degrees and could have profound impacts on some of the most fundamental processes of the sea in coming decades.   It is likely, however, that the most drastic impact will be felt by coastal communities of small tropical islands because of their dependence on marine resources for food and ecological services such as wave protection.

The government of Korea, through the Korea Overseas Development Aid and the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries, provided funding that allow for the deployment of the buoy.  KIOST scientists will work with PICRC researchers on the maintenance and servicing of the buoy.  PICRC research staff, Victor Nestor and Dawnette Olsudong are the main researchers collaborating with KIOST scientists.

Palau, as an independent country, joined over 190 United Nations members in selecting Ocean Acidification, as one of the important global indicators of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The installation of this OA buoy and the other OA related research that PICRC is conducting, will help Palau understand how its marine resources are impacted and help develop ways to deal with the increase in ocean acidification.  Data from the OA buoy and OA research conducted by PICRC will contribute to Palau’s ability to report on its local implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.