Celebrate Guam Year of the Reef 2018 with us!


Celebrate our island's coral reefs all year long - Guam Year of the Reef 2018

Guam’s coral reefs are a precious resource – they create vital habitat for fishes and other marine species, support social and cultural activities, provide the backbone for Guam’s tourism industry, and protect our coastlines from storms and erosion. Despite their value, they are greatly threatened by both local stressors – such as pollution, overfishing, and recreational misuse – and the impacts of global climate change and ocean acidification. This year, our island recognizes Guam Year of the Reef 2018 (GYOR) in honor of our valuable coral reef ecosystems and in answer to the global call to action to better protect and manage coral reefs. The International Coral Reef Initiative has declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef. Local natural resource managers, scientists, and community leaders are working together to recognize this designation on Guam. Throughout 2018, Guam will host a series of public events and opportunities for everyone to get involved in coral reef conservation and management and improve the condition of our local reefs. More information and a calendar of events is available on our events page here. Updates will also be posted on the GYOR Facebook page (@GuamYearoftheReef2018). Like our page to stay informed! 

February: Celebrate Reefs!

March: Reefs & CHamoru culture

April: Guam’s marine preserves

May: Tourism depends on reefs

June: Restoring reefs and watersheds

July: Ridge to reef

August: Climate change on Guam

September: Reduce, reuse, recycle

October: Plant a tree, save a reef

November: Reef invaders

December: Our reefs, our future

Our coral reefs give us so much to celebrate - fun days at the beach, underwater adventures, coastal protection, family traditions, and more.




Guam joins the international community to celebrate the 3rd International Year of the Reef (IYOR). 

The first International Year of the Reef was in 1997 and occurs every ten years. Government agencies, school groups, non-governmental organizations, and our community can come together to reach the IYOR goals:
strengthen awareness globally about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and associated ecosystems;
promote partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society on the management of coral reefs;
identify and implement effective management strategies for conservation, increased resiliency and sustainable use of these ecosystems and promoting best practices; and
share information on best practices in relation to sustainable coral reef management.
For more information on International Year of the Reef, visit their website

August: Climate change on Guam

August’s GYOR theme is “climate change on Guam.” Climate change is caused by the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide and methane, which trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet. GHGs are emitted when fossil fuels are burned to power our cars, generate electricity, grow food, and manufacture goods. GHG emissions are causing climate change and coral bleaching, sea level rise, and ocean acidification. On Guam, we are currently most concerned about coral bleaching. Guam’s coral reefs have bleached four times in the last five years – much more frequently than other places around the world.
According to NOAA and NASA, the top five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010. This has huge impacts on our oceans, which cover about 70% of the earth’s surface. NASA research shows that over 90% of the warming that has occurred on our planet in the last half century has taken place in the oceans. Most of this warming is taking place in shallow waters, where coral reefs live.
Corals are able to build massive reef structures due to an important relationship with tiny plants (algae) that live inside coral tissues. These algae provide nutrients to corals, giving the corals enough energy to build the skeletons that make up reefs. The algae also give corals their vibrant color. However, the relationship between corals and their algae is sensitive to temperature. When ocean water becomes too warm, the algae become toxic to their coral hosts, and the corals spit them out. Since corals get their color from the algae, this causes them to appear white—this is known as coral bleaching. Once they’ve lost their algae, corals are weak and begin to starve. If water temperature returns to normal, the corals can retrieve their algae and survive. However, if the water stays hot for a long time, many corals will die. As climate change continues to cause ocean warming, bleaching is predicted to occur more frequently.
Local coral reef researchers and resource managers are striving to better protect Guam’s coral reefs from the impacts of climate change, especially coral bleaching. By reducing local stressors – such as overfishing and pollution – we can make our reefs stronger and thus more resilient to climate change. We are also investigating the best methods to restore damaged coral reefs through coral reef restoration, such as outplanting corals to reefs that have been impacted by bleaching. 

Conservation Officers are responsible for enforcing the island’s natural resource regulations. Signs are posted at each of the marine preserves outlining the laws and regulations of that preserve. Violators of marine preserve regulations are subject to fines up $500, or imprisonment up to 90 days. If you see a violation, please report it to the Department of Agriculture Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources (DAWR) by calling 688-3297.

Perfect Reef Music Video


“Uno Hit” Cover 


DIG IT-Guam Marine Preserves

Think about why coral reefs are important to you. What can you do to celebrate reefs? Check out our calendar of events and choose an event that looks interesting to you.



Online Resources: 

Food Fishes of the Mariana Islands - Click here to a digital copy of posters of food fishes of the Mariana Islands that are often found in both homes and markets. Learn the names of different fishes in CHamoru, English, Carolinian, and more. Physical copies of this poster are available at the Guam Department of Agriculture’s Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources office in Mangilao. 
Kuentusi I Hanom – Speaking to Water - Humanities Guåhan’s project, Kuentusi I Hanom, Speaking to Water seeks to privilege the voices and perspectives of indigenous CHamoru people and other Micronesians—those who trace their heritage to the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands—about the cultural importance and meaning of water in their lives. Their voices, which are heard in stories, chants, poetry, personal narratives, reflections and other forms of creative expression, were collected and curated for initial presentation in an interactive digital kiosk as part of our Water/Ways and Hita I Hanom exhibitions held at the Guam Museum in 2017. Kuentusi I Hanom is a collaborative pilot project between Humanities Guåhan and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service through funding from the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. To view these videos on our YouTube Channel, click here, or visit

Ancient Chamorro Cultural Aspects of Fishing - A special entry that focuses on fishing by Ancient CHamoru people courtesy of Guampedia. Learn more about ancient fishing methods, demonstration of cultural values through fishing, and other CHamoru culture aspects rooted in fishing the reefs. Read the entry here:
Haggan Tåsi Siha – Sea Turtles - Print this English and CHamoru coloring book for the kids to learn about the importance of Guam’s sea turtles to the CHamoru people. Read it together with your families in English and CHamoru! Click here for coloring book. 
Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program – Learn how to do in-water field surveys while snorkeling and other activities to learn and connect with others who share a passion to protect Guam’s coral reefs. – Check out these amazing photos of corals, fish, and other marine creatures on Guam. Photos are by coral biologist, Dave Burdick.
Guam Nature Alliance - Learn about fun outdoor events so you, your friends, and family can connect, respect, and protect Guam’s beautiful natural resources from ridge to reef. 

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