Scientific Research

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For over 30 years scientists have been fascinated by the marine life in Tubbataha. In 1982, a team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute conducted one of the first surveys of the reefs.  Researchers normally visit the reef during the summer months of April to June or during the monsoon break in September or October when the sea is calm.

In 1997 WWF-Philippines took an important step to standardize research protocols so that data could be compared through time and the reefs monitored annually.  Seven permanent transect sites for benthic and fish community surveys were established at depths of five and ten metres.

The research and monitoring program also covers sites outside the Park, such as around Cagayancillo Island. This allows marine scientists to compare data from protected and unprotected areas. This is important as it allows us to analyze the effectiveness of the protected status of the Park.

Core areas of research are:

  • Fish biomass/density
  • Coral cover
  • Seabird population trends

Other parameters, such as turtles, sharks and cetaceans are monitored depending on the availability of funds.

The WWF-Philippines has also carried out studies in Tubbataha on the effect of climate change on coral reef ecosystems.

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Research Reports

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