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Dr. Vera Horigue is an interdisciplinary scientist interested in spatial planning and management, particularly that of marine protected areas (MPAs). She uses various approaches and methods from different fields including coral reef ecology, fisheries, social sciences, management sciences, and systematic conservation planning to help address questions related to MPA design, planning and governance.

Vera has a joint MSc degree in Water and Coastal Management from Universidad de Cadiz, Spain, and University of Plymouth, United Kingdom. She earned her PhD at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Australia. After concluding her PhD, she worked as a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UPMSI) and the Marine Environment Resources Foundation (MERF) under the World Bank/ Global Environment Facility funded – Capturing Coral Reefs and Related Ecosystems Project, where she developed tools and capacity building modules to support MPA design for fisheries management.

Currently, Vera is working as an MQ and WIOMSA Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She is collaborating with various institutions in East Africa on conservation projects in Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania, and the development of a regional marine spatial planning strategy for the Western Indian Ocean. She is also working closely with colleagues at the UPMSI and MERF to support MPA network design and implementation activities in different provinces in the Philippines.

Research interests

  • Marine protected area design, management, and governance 
  • Coastal and marine management in decentralised government systems 
  • Systems thinking
  • Social and ecological networks
  • Coral reefs

Education/Academic qualification

Marine conservation, PhD, Scaling up to form marine protected area networks: The role of institutional collaborations in the Philippines, James Cook University

Apr 2010Apr 2014

Award Date: 4 Dec 2014

External positions

Marine spatial planning specialist, Marine Environment and Resources Fdn., Inc.

Apr 2019Dec 2019

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of the Philippines - Marine Science Institute

Jul 2014Dec 2018


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