My Project Results
After learning about how Guam’s coral reefs have been undergoing stressful events, there was no surprise as to what the results of my experiment would be. There was an overall decline in the number of coral colonies at the three focus sites. In addition, the coral colonies observed in Adelup appeared to have a lower average in comparison to previous surveys taken in this area. Surveys conducted in Asan had similar results to the Adelup surveys. The only difference between Asan and Adelup was that the average of the darkest color on coral colonies in Asan appeared to have had a slight increase in 2017 from the 2016 surveys, but decreased in the surveys conducted in this experiment.
However, there was one surprising set of data. Out of the three focus sites, the Agat surveys appeared to have an increasing average for their darkest and lightest coral color. Agat is the southernmost of the three focus sites, whereas Adelup and Asan are about a 2-minute drive away from each other. The distance between the sites could mean that there is a variable that is exclusive to this southern site. There is a river mouth located in the Agat focus site, while the other two sites do not. However, it appeared that there was more sediment in this site that could be due to the fresh water outlet. I would think that the excess sediment could cause the coral colonies in this area to stress and have a lower darkest and lightest average color. I hope to resurvey the Agat focus site and possibly have two to three sets of transects. It is possible that other coral colonies could have a similar average to the Adelup and Asan transects within the Agat focus area.
There were a few modifications to my project from when I first described it in an earlier blog. One of the first changes was that all of my focus sites were located with the War in the Pacific Park boundaries, instead of in Tumon Bay and the Asan Beach Park Unit. In addition, I was not able to observe recreational activity. The last change was that I conducted surveys along a 30m transect instead of the proposed 20m transect.