University of Guam Marine Lab launches 50th anniversary year
The Marine Laboratory at the University of Guam launched its 50th anniversary year on the Marine Lab’s founding date of Dec. 17. The Marine Lab, established in 1970, was one of the world’s first research units in the world specializing in the study of coral reefs and remains today the only U.S. university adjacent to what is commonly considered the global epicenter of marine diversity, the Coral Triangle, encompassing the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
The lab, by virtue of its location in a then poorly explored region of the globe, attracted several of the best coral reef ecologists of the day, who contributed many firsts in coral reef research, including studies on outbreaks of the predatory sea star, the crown-of-thorns, and reef recovery after major disturbances. Faculty were also involved in the discovery and description of numerous new species and novel chemical compounds.
Today, the Marine Lab’s 10 faculty members and 25 graduate students continue to contribute important marine research regionally and nationally, with an emphasis on conservation and adaptation to climate change in Guam and Micronesia.
“This anniversary is an important one for all of Guam and Micronesia,” said Laurie J. Raymundo, interim director of the Marine Lab. “Coral reefs and the marine life they support have always been such a central part of this region's way of living, its ecosystems, and its economy, and the Marine Lab is central to learning more about it so we can protect it.” Current and ongoing research at the lab includes coral genetic connectivity across the Pacific, coral taxonomy and phylogeny, fisheries health, coral diseases, diver effects on coral reefs, taxonomy of coralline algae, coral restoration, shark genetic connectivity within the Marianas, and reef adaptations to climate change.
Throughout the coming year, the Marine Lab will be hosting the following anniversary events with proceeds going toward Marine Lab equipment and facility upgrades: