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Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

Study on coral reef resilience in comparative areas in south Vietnam for marine biodiversity conservation in a changing world

PI: Vo Si Tuan (, Institute of Oceanography
U.S. Partner: Mark Eakin, NOAA Coral Reef Watch
Project Dates: December 2016 - May 2022

Project Overview

This project is aimed at understanding coral reef resilience capacity in comparative areas in southern Vietnam under changing stresses (increased temperature and human activities) and developing guidelines for biodiversity conservation and resources management. To achieve these goals, the researchers will assess coral bleaching in 2016 in three representative reef areas (Nha Trang Ninh Thuan coastal waters as an example of an upwelling area, Con Dao islands in the western South China Sea, and Phu Quoc islands in the coastal Gulf of Thailand). They will also conduct studies on biological and physical features associated with coral reef resilience at the site level of each area in order to develop recommendations on possible changes in zoning and adaptive management of marine protected areas (MPAs). Studies will also be carried out on settlement and recruitment of corals and inter-population connectivity of target reef organisms among the three areas. Near the end of the project, the team will develop guidelines for the conservation of marine biodiversity in southern Vietnam to promote resilience to sea temperature changes and human activities. The U.S. partner and his colleagues will provide their experience and data, especially in nowcasting and forecasting of sea temperatures in relation to coral bleaching and other phenomena. NOAA methodology on coral reef resilience will be critical in order to ensure that data on the project are aligned with international standards.

The project will facilitate improvement of zoning and adaptive management of several protected areas, including Nha Trang Bay MPA, Nui Chua and Con Dao National Parks, and Phu Quoc MPA. The approach to be taken will involve MPA managers and local communities in implementing the project, thus helping to disseminate scientific knowledge to local officials and practitioners. The project will also contribute to the existing efforts of the Nha Trang Bay and Phu Quoc MPAs in involving the tourism sector in managing and rehabilitating corals reefs for ecotourism purposes. At the large scale, the comparative studies to be carried out on this project will also provide data on resilience among various types of reef areas, considering the connectivity of reef communities among upwelling waters and other factors.

5-618 Coral Storm Damage 5-618 Nui Chua National Park
Significant coral damage witnessed following a major storm (images courtesy of Dr. Vo).Attendees from the December 18, 2017 consultation workshop at Nui Chua National Park.

Summary of Recent Activities

Given the fact that a surge in COVID-19 cases began in Vietnam in late April 2021 and has continued into the fall, intensive social distancing requirements and lockdowns have been instituted in many areas in Vietnam. Therefore, Dr. Tuan and his team had to cancel all training workshops and planned monitoring activities at their sites. Their main activities during the second and third quarters of 2021 focused on preparations of manuscripts for publication. They finalized the National Chapter Report on Vietnam for inclusion in the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) - East Asia Regional Data Analysis. They also completed a manuscript on variation of reef benthic indicators in marine protected areas of South Vietnam for publication in the Vietnam Journal of Marine Science and Technology. Finally, they revised and updated the manuscript of their book Ecology and Resources of Coral Reefs in Vietnam, which is expected to be published later this year. A no-cost extension is being issued through May 2022 to provide additional time for completing the remaining activities.


Vo ST, Phan KH, Hua TT, Thai MQ, Hoang XB. 2020. Genus-specific bleaching at Con Dao Islands, Southern Vietnam, June 2019. Galaxea, Journal of Coral Reef Studies 22: 27-28.

Vo, S.T., Hua, T.T. & Phan, K.H. 2019. A study of coral reef resilience and implications of adaptive management and rehabilitation in Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. Acta Oceanol. Sin. 38, 112–117.

Vo Si Tuan and Nguyen Van Long. 2019. Some scientific issues related to biological resource use and management toward sustainable development of marine economy in the costal provinces in South Central Vietnam. Vietnam Journal of Marine Science and Technology 19 (4A): 251–258 (in Vietnamese).

Vo Si Tuan. 2019. Coastal – marine ecological linkage in the Cu Lao Cham – Hoi An Biosphere Reserve. In: Cu Lao Cham – Hoi An Biosphere Reserve: 10 years’ Conservation and Development (2009-2019). Da Nang Publishing House: 16-21 (in Vietnamese).

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