PI-CASC hosts climate science talks, GIS workshops at 14th annual University of Guam Conference on Island Sustainability

A gleeful woman is holding a mic and standing front of a PI-CASC banner.
Dr. Romina King at the 14th annual UOG Conference on Island Sustainability.

The PI-CASC team at the University of Guam coordinated a series of talks on climate science and climate change impacts, as well as workshops to teach people about the basic applications of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS), at the 14th annual UOG Conference on Island Sustainability.

In the afternoon of April 11, PI-CASC partnered with NASA Guam EPSCoR to hold three interactive workshops to demonstrate and share resources and datasets using geographic technologies. The workshops included basic applications of remote sensing technologies, a walkthrough and tutorial of viewing Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) datasets of Tumon Bay, and a “coral coloring” session to help NASA identify various types of corals living in Tumon Bay. 

PI-CASC research assistant Dong Won Lee, who also owns a drone service company named 2cofly, shared datasets of the Tumon strip to give participants the opportunity to navigate through models and observe the various types of information that can be pulled from LiDAR imagery via drones. UOG assistant professor of geography Dr. Jose Edgardo Aban gave insight into remote sensing and GIS applications on Guam and shared opportunities on how people can develop this skillset. Aban stated that such technologies are instrumental to monitoring environmental changes around the island, from factors such as human activity and climate change.

People are seated at round tables and are looking at their electronic devices.
NeMO-Net interactive workshop at the 14th annual UOG Conference on Island Sustainability.

To wrap up the workshop series, PI-CASC and NASA Guam EPSCoR coordinated a walkthrough of the NASA Neural Multimodal Observation and Training Network, or NeMO-Net, an app that takes a citizen science approach to develop a database of the world’s coral reefs. For the conference, participants helped identify coral found in Tumon Bay.

Science for Climate Action session

PI-CASC also hosted a breakout session titled, “Science for Climate Action” on April 14, which showcased research on climate science and climate change impacts on corals. The session was moderated by PI-CASC UOG lead Dr. Romina King. The presentations for the session were as follows:

Heather Kerkering, acting federal deputy director and science coordinator for PI-CASC, provided an overview of the center and some of the research and products that PI-CASC has funded and supported within Micronesia, such as the Multispectral Imaging, Detection, and Active Reflectance (MIDAR) remote sensing project on Guam’s corals and an agroforestry tool developed for the Marshall Islands to help Marshallese agricultural producers adapt growing practices to changing climate conditions.

Brandon Bukunt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Guam, briefed attendees on past, current, and future projects of ENSO, giving a quick review of long-range climate projections based on consensus among regional experts, trends, and models. During his presentation, Bukunt announced that the region is officially under El Niño Watch.

Dr. Myeong-Ho (Chris) Yeo, assistant professor of surface water hydrology at the UOG Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific, and his graduate research assistant James Pangelinan teamed up to present their study on providing a better understanding of Guam’s extreme rainfall features, especially as it pertains to climate change’s impact on the precipitation process.

Rachael Keighan, a graduate research assistant at the UOG Marine Laboratory, shared outcomes from her research that suggest that moderate chlorophyll-a concentrations facilitated resistance to thermal stress by reducing irradiance and providing a potential heterotrophic energy source for corals during autotrophic stress. Keighan examined patterns of bleaching susceptibility after the first climate-related coral bleaching event in Yap.

Dr. Brett Taylor, UOG assistant professor of fisheries ecology, presented on the biological changes of several fish species because of temperature changes in the ocean, and how they could potentially impact fisheries production. By examining otolith size, fish size, and ocean temperature, the resulting model indicates that the biological responses to climate change predicts declining fisheries yield in the equatorial Pacific through this century.

PI-CASC has been a recurring sponsor of the UOG Conference on Island Sustainability. The theme for this year was, “Rediscover the Depths of Our Island Abundance.”