Environmental Initiatives



 Yimnang Golbuu is the chief researcher at the Palau International Coral Reef Center. He has been a principal investigator on several projects, including Palau’s Long-Term Coral Reef Monitoring Program, the Marine Protected Area Effectiveness Program, and the Watershed Project. Golbuu’s current research focuses on the factors that contribute to coral reef resilience and recovery from disturbance, specifically coral bleaching and increasing sedimentation from land-use changes such as road building. He also works on marine protected areas and the factors that make them effective.

Throughout his career, Golbuu has applied his research to improve marine conservation and management, having served on the National Commission of the Republic of Palau for UNESCO and as a board member of the Palau Conservation Society. He has also chaired the Northern Reefs Management Planning Team of Palau and the country’s Protected Areas Network Technical Committee.

Although most of his work is in his native country, Golbuu has conducted studies, monitoring, and trainings in other islands of Micronesia, including Yap, Guam, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and the Marshall Islands. In January 2012, the Palau National Congress passed the Senate Joint Resolution commending Golbuu for his contributions to the sustainability of Palau’s natural resources.

 Golbuu earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at the University of California, Davis, a master’s in biology at the University of Guam, and a doctorate in coral reef ecology at Southern Cross University in Australia. His doctoral work involved examining how coral bleaching and land-use change affect coral reef communities. He is the first Palauan scientist to receive a doctorate in marine science. 



2012: Doctor of Philosophy, School of Environmental Science and Management, Southern Cross University, Lismore New South Wales, Australia.
1996: Master of Science, Biology, University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam, USA
1992: Bachelor of Science Biological Sciences, University of California-Davis, Davis, California, USA


2002 – Present:  Chief Researcher, Palau International Coral Reef Center, Koror, Palau
April 2011 – October 2011: Interim Chief Executive Officer, Palau International Coral Reef Center, Koror, Palau
1997 – 2002: Researcher, Palau Community College-Cooperative Research and Extension, Koror, Palau
1996 – 1997: Science Instructor, Palau Community College, Koror, Palau
1993 – 1996: Graduate Research Assistant, University of Guam Marine Laboratory, Mangilao, Guam
1992 – 1993: Classroom Teacher, Palau High School, Koror, Palau


• Golbuu Y, Friedlander AM. 2012. Using appropriate method to answer a question, and the importance of understanding the question: A response to the rebuttal by Colin et al. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science (In Press), doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2011.11.038.

• Golbuu Y, Freidlander AM. 2011. Spatial and temporal characteristics of grouper spawning aggregations in marine protected areas in Palau, western Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and
Shelf Science
76: 14-20.

• Golbuu Y, van Woesik R, Richmond RH, Harrison P, Fabricius KE. 2011. River discharge reduces reef coral diversity in Palau. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62: 824-831.

• Golbuu Y, Wolanski E, Harrison P, Richmond RH, Victor S, Fabricius KE. 2011. Effects of land-use change on characteristics and dynamics of watershed discharges in Babeldaob, Palau, Micronesia. Journal of Marine Biology volume 2011, Ariticle ID 981273, 17 pages, doi: 10.1155/2011/981273.

• Page C, Baker DM, Harvell CD, Golbuu Y, Raymundo L, Neale S, Rosell KB, Rypien KL, Andras JP, Willis, BL. 2009. Influence of marine reserves on coral disease prevalence. Disease of Aquatic Organisms 87:135-150.

• Golbuu Y, Fabricius KE, Victor S, Richmond RH. 2008. Gradients in coral reef communities exposed to muddy river discharge in Pohnpei, Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 76: 14-20.

• Golbuu Y, Richmond RH. 2007. Substratum preferences in planula larvae if two species of scleractinian corals, Goniastrea retiformis and Stylaraea punctata. Marine Biology 152: 639-644.

• Golbuu Y, Victor S, Penland L, Idip D.Jr., Emaurois C, Okaji K, Yukihira H, Iwase A, van Woesik R. 2007.Palau’s coral reef show differential habitat recovery following the 1998-bleaching event. Coral Reefs 26: 319-322.

• Fabricius KE, Golbuu Y, Victor S. 2007. Selective mortality in coastal reef organisms from an acute sedimentation event. Coral Reefs 26: 69.

• Richmond RH, Rongo T, Golbuu Y, Victor S, Idechong N, Davis G, Kostka W, Neth L, Hamnett M, Wolanski E. 2007. Watersheds and coral reefs: conservation science, policy, and implementation. BioScience 57, 598-607.

• Victor S, Neth N, Golbuu Y, Wolanski E, Richmond RH. 2006. Sedimentation in mangroves and coral reefs in a wet tropical island, Pohnpei, Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 66: 409-416.

• Wolanski E, Colin P, Naithani J, Deleersnijder E, Golbuu Y. 2004. Large amplitude, leaky, island-generated, internal waves around Palau, Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 60: 705-716.

• Victor S, Golbuu Y, Wolanski E, Richmond RH. 2004. Fine sediment trapping in two mangrove-fringed estuaries exposed to contrasting land use intensity in Palau, Micronesia. Wetland Ecology and Management 12: 277-283.

• Golbuu Y, Victor S, Wolanski E, Richmond RH. 2003. Trapping of fine sediments in a semi enclosed lagoon, Palau, Micronesia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 57: 941-949.

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