Duncan Maguire

Hi I’m Duncan, I’m 27 and from the UK.

I have been passionate about the environment since I first heard about climate change. The idea of losing so much biodiversity and whole ecosystems in the coming decades is a such a sad prospect, and gave me a drive to work in conservation. After studying climate change at university for my master’s degree, I travelled to Indonesia to work on a REDD+ forest conservation project that helps stop global warming (these projects help keep our forests standing and store carbon). While I was in Indonesia, I volunteered on a turtle conservation project and fell in love with the serenity of diving and the beauty of coral reefs. I wanted to do my divemaster, but I became very sick while in Indonesia and had to fly back to the UK. While I was back in the UK getting a billion blood tests and feeling like a pin cushion, I taught myself coral reef ecology through online courses so I could return to Indonesia to work on marine conservation projects after my divemaster… which I did! I was also lucky enough to start Tec diving with my sidemount course alongside my other specialities. I really enjoyed Tec diving and will hopefully do adv nitrox, deco procedures and one day and continue onto rebreathers! The following 2 years I worked on science research projects, helping PhD students, leading research dives on large sections of the reef, doing Reef check and other surveys, teaching underwater research techniques and running a coral nursery. I love diving and feel very lucky to have had the opportunities so far.

Outside of diving, I am a personal trainer and love working out and being active! I like pushing myself and constantly improving, no matter if it’s physical or educational. I am also really interested in climate psychology and keep up to date with research on climate change and why climate action is moving so slowly. When I’m in the UK I visit ZSL (London Zoo) for monthly talks on coral reef research by academics from all over the UK.

How I’m being the difference?

How i´m being different?

Research

Since falling in love with the underwater world (see the about me for more details), I have been living in and out of Malaysia and Indonesia for the past 2 and a half years. I have been doing research on coral reef health by taking lots of different types data to understand the pattern and relationship of the different parts of the coral reef ecosystem. This helps us understand how the reef works and what are the best ways to protect it! We have used SVS cameras to record fish biomass (that’s what I am doing in my picture!), taking 3D modelling of the reef, measuring rugosity (how up and down the reef is), measuring the corals the invertebrates and also things that attach to the reef over long periods of time. This helps us understand more about the complexity, symbiosis between species and interconnected relationships of coral reefs, they truly are the rainforests of the ocean!

Teaching

I have been teaching about corals, turtles, plastic pollution and the importance of these ecosystems to tourists, volunteers, school students, undergraduate and masters students. During this teaching I have also been showing how to take data through scientific methods, working for Operation Wallacea and other smaller conservation projects. I am also a Reef Check ECO diver Instructor, enabling me to certify students that have met the requirements for reef check standards. I believe more and more divers are interested in becoming eco divers and having a certification can help people stand out and become ambassadors for the ocean themselves!

Supporting novel research and coral nursery

I have been assisting PhD students in looking at thermal tolerance of corals and how depth and light intensity might also make a difference to corals ability to avoid bleaching in the future. This is hugely important work and has increased my understanding of the biology of corals and the nuanced differences in the more technical stuff (such-as the clades of zooxanthellae and species-specific bleaching). I have also managed my own coral nursery in Malaysia, trying to re-establish a reef in difficult turbid (murky) conditions. Trying to reseed reefs is a hugely important part of the fight to save our coral reefs!

Created a not-for-profit website

I have also made a website for anyone passionate about marine (and terrestrial) conservation where they can search for projects all over the world… and it’s completely free! It wasn’t easy building and coding a website, but I feel like it would’ve helped me so much when looking for conservation projects to volunteer on. There is so much out there and it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting into. I have social media pages that run form this website that showcase biodiversity and projects around the world! Feel free to check it out here – www.theconservationnetwork.org

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