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Nicole Yamase – First Pacific Islander To Ever Reach The Bottom Of The Marianas Trench

Youngest Woman ever to visit the Marians Trench to Meet
with FSM President

First Pacific Islander to Visit the
Deepest Underwater Trench on Earth

Yamase with Victor Vescovo

Pohnpei—On March 11th ChST, Nicole Yamase, graduate
student at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and citizen of
the Federated States of Micronesia, became the first Pacific
Islander, third and youngest woman to travel to the deepest
part of the ocean, the Challenger Deep. The Challenger Deep,
part of the Marianas Trench, is 35,856 ft (10,929 m) below
sea level; Nicole is one of only a handful of people to ever
descend to the bottom of the ocean and, as the Challenger
Deep is located within the territory of the Federated States
of Micronesia (FSM), she is the first citizen to visit this
unique environment of her country.

On March 30th at
1:00PM HST, President of the FSM, David W. Panuelo, Nicole
Yamase, and Yolanda Joab Mori, Program Coordinator for Blue
Prosperity Micronesia, will virtually “sit down” for a
discussion in celebration of this historic event. This
virtual Talk Story will share Nicole’s unique story, her
hopes for the future of the FSM, and why it is so critical
to protect and manage our rich ocean

Story with President Panuelo and Nicole Yamase

Conversation on Navigating the FSM’s Blue Heritage and

March 30th, 1:00PM HST

Blue Prosperity
Micronesia Facebook

Nicole grew up on the islands of
Palau, Saipan, Pohnpei, and Chuuk, and was passionate about
science and the environment from a young age. She graduated
from Chaminade University of Honolulu with a Bachelors of
Arts in Biology and Bachelors of Science in Environmental
Studies. She received the Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge
scholarship from Micronesia Conservation Trust to continue
her PhD in the Marine Biology Graduate Program at the
University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her research focuses on the
effects of climate change on the marine plant community.
Understanding how primary producers respond to these changes
will help scientists and managers predict the future health
of reefs, which is crucial for the livelihoods of Pacific
Islanders who highly depend on the ocean for many

Says Nicole: “Climate change will be a
long-term issue, which means we need a long-term solution. I
believe that the long-term solution is found in the
education of our youth. I hope the expedition will help
inspire young Pacific Islanders to pursue STEM fields and
encourage them to obtain higher degrees.”

their distance from human communities, the offshore and deep
sea environments are increasingly impacted by human
activities like deep sea mining, bottom-trawl fishing, and
pollution. Nicole’s journey is a reminder that like the
ancestors of the FSM, we are fundamentally connected to the
ocean and are supported by its vast and diverse habitats.
Nicole made this voyage thanks to deep sea explorer Victor
Vescovo, who owns and operates the Limiting Factor, one of
the only submarines capable of descending to such

Blue Prosperity Micronesia is a partnership
between the Government of the FSM and the Blue Prosperity
Coalition, including Micronesia Conservation Trust, the
Waitt Institute, National Geographic Pristine Seas, and
Oceans5, to protect 30% of the FSM’s waters, including
unique places like the deep

© Scoop Media


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