People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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Scaling up MPAs: the role of coordination of initiatives and inter-institutional collaborations in the Philippines


3.00pm - 4.00pm, Thursday 24 March 2011

ARC Centre of Excellence Conference Room 114, Sir George Fisher Building, JCU (DB32)
Vera Horigue, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Vera was in art school on the slopes of Mt. Makiling, when she fell in love with the sea and coral reefs. She has a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of the Philippines (UP). An Erasmus Mundus Studentship made it possible for her to earn a joint M.Sc. degree in Water and Coastal Management from Universidad de Cadiz, Spain and University of Plymouth, UK. As a research assistant for various NGOs and the UP Marine Science Institute (MSI), she was able to see how rich her country is in terms of natural resources and how much it is also exploited because of high resource dependence. Vera is supervised by Prof. Bob Pressey, Dr. Simon Foale and Dr. Porfirio Alino of the MSI. Her research aims to examine governance systems and processes that contribute to effective local government coordination and collaboration when scaling up to form MPA networks in the Philippines.


Establishing marine protected area networks based on systematic conservation planning is assumed to be more effective and have higher benefits than collections of ad hoc local marine protected areas (MPAs). However, these assumptions are notional, because there is little empirical evidence that shows the relative benefits of both approaches. It is widely believed that locally implemented MPAs can be scaled up to increase effectiveness and gain more benefits. Using the Philippines as a case study, this project aims to address the following research gaps: 1) ways of scaling up local MPAs; 2) measuring the benefits of scaling up local MPAs to form networks; and, 3) assessing the effectiveness of inter-institutional collaborations in facilitating scaling up of management and forming MPA networks. Addressing these research gaps is not only relevant to the Philippines, but also to other countries with decentralized governments and ad hoc implementation of MPAs. The outcomes of this research will be important for researchers, conservation planners, natural resource managers and policy makers working on scaling up management and establishing networks of MPAs


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