Dr. Robert Lasley, Biorepository Curator of Crustacea at the University of Guam, expresses
thanks to everyone interested in protecting and restoring Guam’s incredible marine
The University of Guam launches its Bioblitz, an international collaboration to catalog
the diversity of marine organisms along the coasts of Guam from February 2 to 22,
2024. Marine scientists Diana Noto; David Burdick; Dr. Gustav Paulay; and Dr. Robert
Lasley; are joined by Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes; Sen. Amanda Shelton; Sen. Roy
Quinata; Dr. Terry Donaldson; Kyle Mandapat, Associate Director for Communications
and Community Engagement with the UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant;
Kelsie Ebeling-Whited; and John Paul Labadan.
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero, speaking on Thursday, February 1 at the University of Guam,
welcomes scientists participating in the University of Guam's Bioblitz and says she
looks forward to the research’s outcome to help Guam prepare for the future.
The University of Guam launched its first Bioblitz, an international collaboration
to catalog the diversity of marine organisms found along the coasts of Guam from February
2 - 22, 2024.
In a ceremony held Thursday, February 1, at the UOG cliffside, eight visiting marine
scientists were welcomed by UOG staff, faculty and some of the island’s elected officials.
“I look forward to what your research says and your recommendations and outcomes so
that we can continue our own food sustainability and preservation for our future,”
said Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
A Bioblitz, also known as a biological inventory, is an event that focuses on finding
and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area within a short time.
Due to climate change, many species around the world are at risk of extinction and
Bioblitzes provide an opportunity to inform future conservation efforts of at-risk
“We have the most diverse coral reefs in the U.S. We have more species of corals and
more species of fishes, and we have a lot of stuff that we don’t even know we’ve got
yet. That’s up to the people who have come to participate in this Bioblitz to find
out what those things are,” said Guam NSF EPSCoR Principal Investigator, Dr. Terry
The Bioblitz is supported by the university’s National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant
, which aims to employ cutting-edge methods to determine solutions that address the
challenges imposed by climate change on coral reefs and associated ecosystems.
The visiting scientists include:
- Dr. Gustav Paulay, Florida Museum
- Dr. Justin Scioli, Smithsonian Marine Station in Florida
- Dr. Kristine White, Georgia College & State University
- Dr. Barbara Mikac, University of Bologna
- Dr. Svetlana Maslakova, University of Oregon
- Dr. Ryutaro Goto, Kyoto Museum
- Shawn Wiedrick, Los Angeles County Museum
- John Slapcinsky, Florida Museum
Along with researchers from the UOG Marine Laboratory, the scientists will collect
specimens such as crustaceans, worms, and mollusks through dives, intertidal walks,
and by snorkeling. For this event, local community members, scientists, and fishers
were consulted to develop a list of locations to collect specimens.
“I would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who is interested in protecting and
restoring Guam’s incredible marine ecosystems and those who just appreciate it and
value it,” said UOG Biorepository Curator of Crustacea, Dr. Robert Lasley. “All forms
of knowledge are important and play a role in our endeavor to protect and restore
Once the specimens collected during the Bioblitz have been processed, they will be
placed in the Guam NSF EPSCoR Guam Ecosystems Collaboratorium for Corals and Oceans
Biorepository, a natural history collection of marine fauna and flora that serves
as an archive of the biodiversity found within the Micronesian region.
“This island has been inhabited for thousands of years and it was made habitable by
the ocean around us,” said Dr. Paulay, curator of invertebrates at the Florida Museum
and a former director of the UOG Marine Laboratory. “The CHamoru people relied on
the marine resources to keep going in a place like this. For an island community,
there’s nothing more important than the ocean, so understanding the ocean is absolutely
fundamental to island culture and to maintain life on the island.”