Conduct your research with Coral Cay Conservation


Here at CCC we welcome both undergraduate and postgraduate projects from students around the world. Proposed projects should ideally contribute conservation value to the overall aims and objectives of CCC and the project location.


CCC has hosted a huge variety of projects, see the bottom of this page for a few ideas. Proposals are reviewed on a case by case basis, so get in touch to discuss your ideas. We can provide discounts to research students, dependent on how the proposed work fits in with CCC's ongoing survey efforts. Student supervision is provided through CCC's UK-based science department as well as through project field staff for the duration of the project.

Undergraduate Application Form
Undergraduate Student Projects Applicati[...]
Microsoft Word document [42.5 KB]
Postgraduate Application Form
Postgraduate Student Projects Applicatio[...]
Microsoft Word document [42.3 KB]
Data Request Form
Data Request Form.docx
Microsoft Word document [39.7 KB]

Having just finished my postgraduate degree (Conservation Science), I now have a bit of spare time to reflect on the very intensive past year. The dissertation project I was able to undertake with Coral Cay in the Philippines was without a doubt a major highlight. The Philippines site illustrates many of the issues we studied over the past year in terms of the local community dimension. In the field I have learned more about conservation issues than just through my own project because of the ongoing work of Coral Cay and certainly also through its network of contacts. People were much more willing to cooperate with my research than I had originally anticipated which made many of the interviews fun to do. As with any research project there were ups and downs and I have had to improvise, but the ups far outweighed the downs. I have met people who have done much to help my work and went out of their way to involve me in local culture. A secondary benefit but a luxury nonetheless was the base with a pleasant group of volunteers and staff, and a diverse reef on its doorstep to return to after a hard day's work. Did I mention the whale shark trips yet? In short, the project has turned out to be much more rewarding than I expected!


- Wouter van Broekhoven, Imperial College MSc, Philippines

I'd recommend carrying out research with CCC, as there is lots of support available and with your findings you also feel like you are giving something back, and also directly contributing to conservation (on top of being a CCC volunteer). This was the second time I have volunteered with CCC - I enjoyed it as much as the first time and I can
honestly say it's the best thing I've done in my life so far, getting lots of
hands-on experience, working as a team and meeting some great people from all
over the world!

- Mark Hamilton, University of Aberdeen BSc honours project, Cambodia and the Philippines

Past Dissertations

Laura Little, Do Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have an impact on coral reef health in Sogod Bay, the Philippines? 2012-2013
Do Marine Protected Areas have an impact[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [4.0 MB]
Amy Gosney, The Efficacy of Marine Protected Areas in Southern Leyte, Philippines: Implications on Fish Density and Diversity. 2012-2013
The efficacy of Marine Protected Areas i[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.0 MB]
Mark Hamilton, Perceptions of fishermen towards MPAs in Cambodia and the Philippines. 2011-2012
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]
Joshua d'Abadie, Marine Protected Areas - Zoning for conservation and rehabilitation of coral reefs in data poor areas: A case study of north-eastern Tobago
Adobe Acrobat document [2.0 MB]
Jason Flower, Tobagan fishers’ livelihood security and attitudes to coastal management in the context of declining catches. 2010-2011
Adobe Acrobat document [757.9 KB]
Kristina Patring, The Human right to water in relation to pesticide pollution in Southern Leyte, the Philippines.
Adobe Acrobat document [354.9 KB]
Wouter van Broekhoven, Perceptions driving local support for marine conservation; A comparison of three case studies in the Philippines.
Adobe Acrobat document [1.2 MB]
Samuel Peacock, The Influence of Coral Colony Definitions on the Outcomes of Colonial Scleractinian Size Frequency Distribution Studies
Adobe Acrobat document [130.5 KB]
Jessica Hampton, Coral Bleaching and Sea Surface Temperatures in The Philippines and Tobago
Adobe Acrobat document [352.3 KB]
Tomas Chaigneau, Comparing the perceptions of fishermen towards MPAs and the status of their adjacent coral reefs between coastal communities in the Philippines
Adobe Acrobat document [352.3 KB]
Thomas Woolger, The Effects of Sediment Discharge by Rivers on Coral Reef Systems in Sogod Bay, Southern Leyte, Philippines
Adobe Acrobat document [2.1 MB]
Jill Groom, Life on the reef
Adobe Acrobat document [4.2 MB]

Dissertation Topic Ideas

Here are some ideas which you may wish to consider for your dissertation research with CCC. Got your own idea? Then feel free to get in touch with us to discuss!


  • Assessing the viability of seaweed farming in Southern Leyte, the Philippines
  • Assessing the viability of sea cucumber farming in Southern Leyte, the Philippines
  • Examine the factors which influence algal cover and spatial competition with coral.
    • Abundance, diversity and biomass of herbivorous fish
    • Abundance of diadema
    • How do these differ across sites of different habitat quality and between different species?
  • Compare the relative accuracy and feasibility of method to assess reef fish community structure.
    • Use different methods across a variety of reef habitats and quality to assess the fish community structure. Use different techniques e.g. visual censuses vs fish catch data.
    • Compare effort vs accuracy.
  • Assess the prospects for conservation and the implications of tourism with regards to MPA designation.
    • Assessment of zonation – what was the scientific basis for the zonation.
    • Degree of community acceptance, awareness and potential opposition
    • Assess the infringement and enforcement issues
    • How do tourism policies/proposals also promote environmental considerations – impacts of construction, waste management, sewage etc.
  • Consider the feasibility of using the PARFISH methodology of stock assessment to assess the state of fish stocks and measure the vulnerability of stocks to overfishing.
    • Use the methodology to engage local fishing communities in fisheries conservation.
  • Examine the extent of coral disease and identify the most commonly affected species.
    • Which species are most affected – Are certain lifeforms more susceptible than others?
    • What effect is this having on the physical complexity of the reef
    • Are there implications for the diversity of species supported by different coral lifeforms.
  • Assess the populations of lobster and other commercially important crustacean species to establish in which reef habitats they are most common.
    • What is the best habitat and conditions for lobster recruitment?