Tropical Marine Research for Conservation
Helping conserve marine resources through research and community involvement.

©2011, TMRC (Tropical Marine Research for Conservation), All Rights Reserved.
      Founded in 2005, TMRC is a small research and conservation outfit conceived to help promote research and conservation of marine mammals and their habitats in Southeast Asia, particularly in the Philippines. It specializes in abundance surveys (using DISTANCE-based line transects and photo-ID), monitoring marine mammal by-catch, studying marine trophic ecology and grass-root level conservation education. It also has expertise in fish biology and fishery-related problems, plankton studies and rapid resource assessments. 
     Recognizing the limited resources for environmental research, conservation and education in many of the Southeast Asian countries, TMRC designs its operations to accommodate this limitation. Research methodologies that require high budgets are modified to suit local resources and conditions, without sacrificing the science involved. Linkages are being continually developed with academic and research institutions, where it often derives sources of expert advice and in some cases research equipment that further help defray research costs.  
    TMRC involves graduate students and members of the local community in data collection and in the process training them.  This approach contributes to the enhancement of the local scientific infrastructure. TMRC also provides scientific advice to researchers, conservation managers and graduate students at no cost.  
    Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines and Indonesia, holds the richest marine biodiversity in the world. This biodiversity, however is facing tremendous pressures from the burgeoning human population and economies that are in crisis. Intense fishing pressures and habitat destruction have been impacting numerous marine organisms, including cetaceans and dugongs, to levels that are becoming difficult to measure.  
Dugong in Balut Island, Davao. 2008.
The survey team, Guimaras. 2009
Grass-roots conservation education. Balabac, Palawan. 2008.
Dwarf spinner dolphin, Stenella longirostris roseiventris. Balabac, Palawan. 2008.
Ilacaon Island, Sagay, Negros Occidental. 2005. Still has a remnant population of dugongs.
Collecting oceanographic data. Iloilo Strait. 2009.
     Local government units are consulted during the project and the results of the studies are shared with them and with the local fishermen.  These results are aimed to be incorporated in the local government's conservation efforts.
Conferring with Mayor Gumarin of Buenavista, Guimaras. 2009.
Bryde's whale, Balaenoptera edeni. Balabac, 2008.
The village head (barangay captain) joining our survey in Balabac, Palawan. 2008.
     So far 28 species and one subspecies of marine mammals have been documented present in Philippine waters (this is approximately 88% of the total number of species found in Southeast Asia). Four of the 28 species have been declared by IUCN Red List as Threatened, and one population the Irrawaddy dolphins of Malampaya Sound, Palawan is considered Critically Endangered.  The second Irrawaddy dolphin population recently discovered in the Visayas is most likely to be Critically Endangered as well.  TMRC is currently working on the ecology of the Visayan population and aims to form an alliance among the local government units, NGO's and research groups for the conservation of this population and its habitat.
Irrawaddy dolphins in Pulupandan-Bago estuary. Sept. 2010.