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Endorsed by. Durham University Coral Awareness and Research Expedition (DUCARE) 2008. What is DUCARE?

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Endorsed by

Durham University Coral Awareness and

Research Expedition (DUCARE) 2008

What is DUCARE?

DUCARE 2008 follows on from highly successful research expeditions to the Central Visayan archipelago in the Philippines. Ten team members from Durham University have undertaken a two month expedition to monitor coral reef degradation and promote awareness of the marine environment in one of the world’s most biodiverse regions.

What has DUCARE done?

In collaboration with the Coastal Dynamics Foundation and Cebu Jaycees, DUCARE 2008 has:

  • Carryed out extensive internationally recognised Reef Check surveys to assess coral reef degradation in the Visayas and Palawan.
  • Raised local awareness of the marine environment upon which the Filipino communities heavily rely, through education and community outreach

Why is reef conservation important?

  • IYOR* states that coral reefs are home to over one million diverse aquatic species, of which only 93,000 are currently classified
  • 20% of the global population are reliant on coral reef for sustenance, with the economies of over 80 developing countries and millions of jobs tied to this resource
  • Reefs also act as natural breakwaters, absorbing wave energy and protecting coastal regions from hurricanes and typhoons
  • Coral reefs already hold the secret to medical advances in treating dangerous illnesses and diseases

*International Year of the Reef 2008:

Reef systems in the Visayan archipelago play host to the highest concentration of marine species worldwide, yet fish stocks are at a 50 year low.

Surveys suggest that of the 27,000km2 of Filipino reef, only 5% is in “excellent condition”.


  • Durham University expeditions society
  • Royal Geographical Society with IBG
  • Aquanauts
  • Cebu Junior Chamber International (JCI)
  • Green People
  • Party packs

The reliance of local communities on the reefs has led to widespread exploitation through over-fishing and collecting for the aquarium trade. Destructive fishing practices using dynamite or cyanide are becoming commonplace.

Last year, DUCARE was the world’s largest single contributor to Reef Check data, in nearly all cases exclusively sampling key sites in the Philippines.

Contact Details

David Murphy (Team Leader)

(07775) 805530


David Murphy: Team Leader

David has a variety of leadership and travel experience, and as a PADI Divemaster he is passionate about the conservation of our underwater world.

Rose Janes: Grant Officer

Rose previously taught children with learning difficulties and fundraised for travel across South America and Asia. As a PADI advanced open water diver she is well prepared for ReefCheck surveying.

Charlotte Jones: Treasurer

Charlotte's passion for diving as PADI advanced open water make her an inspiring team member. With a Duke of Edinburgh award, Charlotte brings unique skills to the team.

Jessica Batchelor: Medical Officer

An Ecology graduate, Jessica wishes to pursue a career in environmental education after expedition. Her scientific background coupled with her interest in education is suited well to this expedition.

Rupert Carter: Fundraiser

Rupert has undertaken a great deal of diving as a PADI Rescue diver. He brings broad travel, expedition and fundraising experience to the team.

Florence Brockway: Education Officer

Florence has significant experience of working with children in education. Combined with her background in Biology, this will allow her to develop effective educational plans suitable across a large age-group.

Juilitta Sofat: Fundraiser

Juilitta's past fundraising campaigns for societies and charities gives her a variety of experience to draw on. A PADI rescue diver, Juilitta will also be well equipped to survey the reef.

Robert Parson: Logistics Officer

Robert spent a year travelling and teaching in Asia. With expedition experience and a PADI rescue diver qualification, this makes him ideally qualified to organise the team.

Tom Bohills: Grant Officer

Tom is familiar with methods of teaching children when faced with language barriers. His travel experience, enthusiasm for conservation and PADI advanced open water qualification make Tom a valued team member.

Kristofer Chan: Team Scientist

With 4 months conservation experience in South America, a background in geography and advanced diving capabilities as a PADI Rescue Diver, Kristofer brings a wealth of experience to the team.

Raising local awareness

DUCARE 2008 devised a full workbook and lesson plan, which was initiated in 16 schools across the Visayas as part of an Information Education Campaign (IEC).

Existing links with local communities authorities and organisations were strengthened by courtesy calls to barangay officials, mayors and key figures such as governor Gwen Garcia and Mayor S.Hagedorn.

  • Findings and results for DUCARE 2008
  • Many MPAs surveyed, in particular those around Mactan, Ronda and Bantayan regions, resemble ‘paper parks’; poorly enforced and scarcely recognised by the community.
  • Only clearly delineated MPAs, with marker buoys and efficient patrols seemed successful.
  • Downward trend in coral cover in Northern Cebu, largely due to storm damage.
  • New sites in Palawan and the Southern Cebu provinces were promising and keen to promote environmental awareness and eco-friendly tourism.
  • Communities surveyed emphasised the necessity to solve urgent problems such as housing issues, land management, water availability and access issues, before focusing on coastal management.
  • However, in every barangay without an MPA, the majority supported the establishment of a sanctuary in principle.
  • In schools, most children had knowledge of the types of illegal fishing and the problems they cause, but limited awareness of endangered species.

Meet the team

As the project requires scientific, educational and anthropological perspectives, the team collectively holds a large variety of skills…