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Voices of the Reef: Weaving Together Traditional Stewardship and Science to ProtectPalau's Coral Reefs

  • Author(s): DeWitt, Rachael
  • et al.
Abstract

Coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. However, human activities are creating increased stressors for coral reefs which are resulting in change. Today, Palauan coral reefs boast high levels of biodiversity and draw dive tourists from all over the world. Historically, Palauans have sustainably cared for and managed their reefs for time immemorial. As the reefs undergo change, it is important to return research information to the traditional stewards who can use the data and advocate for management. A communication strategy is needed that equally values science and traditional stewardship to inform future management decisions. This capstone project resulted in the development of a story map, which includes 3D fly throughs of coral reefs derived from data sets collected by the 100 Island Challenge and several short, informative videos. The story map follows the theme: “Coral Reefs: The Pride of Palau.” The story map was built to be used in a communication strategy that explains the value of science and traditional stewardship in the formulation of management decisions of coral reefs in Palau. The story map was specifically made for the Hatohobei community and the nonprofit OneReef, but the intent is to reach community audiences across the Micronesia region as well as government officials.

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