The Coral Reef Rescue Initiative (CRRI) has established a network of partnerships that can support conservation on a global scale. They reinforce each other’s efforts with complementary expertise, insights and access, revolving around four key elements:

Science and innovation

Thanks to the knowledge of partners such as the University of Queensland, Vulcan Inc. and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), our Knowledge and Innovation Hub is based on a solid foundation of scientific study and targeted innovation.

Poverty alleviation and development

We work closely with our development partner CARE International, to ensure our efforts bring about tangible benefits for local communities. The buy-in factor within coastal communities is essential to the success of our campaign; by collaborating with CARE, we can highlight both the value and the vulnerability of coral reefs.

Biodiversity and ecosystem resilience

With the combined expertise of WWF, WCS, Rare, Blue Ventures, the University of Queensland and Vulcan Inc., CRRI can access a deep well of knowledge and resources, connecting a global network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This elite team of conservation specialists brings years of experience to the table.

Advocacy and public engagement

All the knowledge in the world means little without the weight of public opinion and the power of funding behind it. Through our advocacy partners, CRRI is working to keep our planet’s coral reef crisis in the spotlight, positioning the problem at the forefront of public consciousness and pushing to have conservation funding prioritised in government budgets.


Our Initiative is led by WWF, in collaboration with leading conservation, science and development partners such as the University of Queensland, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Rare, CARE International, Blue Ventures and Vulcan Inc.

blue ventures

Working in partnership with coastal communities, Blue Ventures develop science-led approaches to marine conservation. Their conservation models demonstrate that locally led management of marine resources improves food security and makes economic sense. Working in Madagascar, Blue Ventures created the largest locally managed marine area (LMMA) in the Indian Ocean, along with its biggest community-based monitoring programme for artisanal sea turtle and shark fisheries.


CARE is a global humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief to areas in crisis, while providing long-term solutions to poverty around the world. They reach out to over 50 million people in 90 countries worldwide, through approximately 950 poverty-fighting development and humanitarian aid programmes that cover everything from health and education to food security, poverty and women’s empowerment. 90% of their income and fundraising goes directly into these projects.


Rare inspires change so people and nature thrive. Working at the intersection of conservation, sustainable development and social change, Rare is the global leader in using principles of behaviour change to design people-centred approaches and achieve lasting results. Rare has partnered with local leaders in over 60 countries to protect nature and the people, communities and livelihoods it sustains.

the university of queensland

Ranked in the world's top 50, the University of Queensland is a leading research and teaching institution, with over 6,000 research groups and cutting-edge facilities such as the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS). The centre works in partnership with scientists, governments, NGOs and industry to solve the most important conservation problems around the world. The University of Queensland is the key science partner for CRRI.


Founded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Paul G. Allen and known for their long-term, flexible approach to multi-billion-dollar investments, Vulcan Inc. leverages industry insights to help its portfolio companies expand, recruit top talent and structure key strategic partnerships. Their multi-stage approach to projects adds global reach to their philanthropic impact.


Headquartered in New York City, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) was founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society (NYZS). WCS runs around 500 field conservation projects in 65 countries worldwide, covering more than two million square miles of wild places. WCS uses scientific knowledge to engage and inspire decision-makers, communities and their millions of supporters to take action to protect the world’s wildlife.


WWF is an independent conservation organization with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. Their mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and build a future in which people live in harmony with nature. WWF works to achieve this ambition through multiple projects, aimed at conserving biological diversity; promoting the use of sustainable, renewable natural resources; and advocating the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Read more at



core team
Carol Phua

Carol Phua is the Coral Reef Rescue Initiative Manager at WWF, where she has worked for over 16 years. At every stage of her career, she has been drawn to challenging projects that require a unique approach, in the belief that working closely with communities is key in the conservation of coastal resources. Carol founded Ocean Witness and was the leader of WWF-Malaysia's Marine Programme and Global Sharks & Rays Initiative. She is also the author and editor of the Living Blue Planet Report.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives in conservation, as the challenges we face are huge; but it’s also really important to keep being inspired and keep looking for bright spots in the work we do. Meeting and talking to people about how their spiritual beliefs and traditions promote stewardship - but also care for resources and the environment - is incredibly encouraging and for me, certainly inspires hope.

core team
Caitie Kuempel

Caitie is the Monitoring & Data Management Lead at CRRI. Based in Brisbane, Australia, she is a conservation scientist working at the interface of science and policy. She is passionate about finding ways to meet the needs of a growing human population, while also minimising impacts on the environment – particularly in the world’s oceans.

Whether you live near an ocean or coral reef or not, you still benefit from and influence their health. Many of our agricultural practices and personal lifestyle choices impact coral reef health - through nutrient run-off, sustainable food choices or contributions to climate change. Coastal communities are obviously important and directly interact with the ocean more frequently, but the role of non-coastal communities should not be overlooked.

core team
Shauna Mahajan

Based in Washington DC, USA, Shauna Mahajan is the Social Science/Community Approaches Lead for CRRI. She is also a Senior Social Scientist in the Global Science team at WWF-US. Her previous projects have covered everything from the agricultural landscapes of Quebec, to river basins in the eastern United States and fishing communities in the Indian Ocean. Her work and interests focus mainly on the social impacts of conservation, figuring out how science informs decision-making and how systems and resilience theory can be put into practice.

Putting reef-dependent communities at the centre of our efforts is what will make all the difference. In order to ensure sustainable solutions for an uncertain future, those whose livelihoods directly depend on healthy reefs must be front and centre, as we identify and support solutions to protect these fragile ecosystems.

core team
Paolo Mangahas

Based in Singapore, Paolo Mangahas is the Partnership Support & Outreach Lead at CRRI. He brings years of professional experience in communications and marketing to the initiative, having previously worked on various WWF projects in national, regional and global capacities, including WWF International and the WWF Coral Triangle Programme.

Coral reefs may not be as visible as say, forests, but they’re just as vital to the health of our planet. Global action is needed now if they and the communities that depend on them for survival are to withstand the impacts of our rapidly changing climate. CRRI has the potential to bring about a better and stronger relationship between humanity and the ocean; to create positive and long-lasting changes for nature and people.

core team
Aya Mizumura

Based at WWF-Australia, Aya is Programme Support Officer at CRRI. She has previously worked with coastal communities in the Solomon Islands, Indonesia, Palau and Micronesia. A lifelong lover of the ocean, her great passions are free diving, bushwalking and helping communities on the frontline of conservation to achieve sustainable development.

What makes CRRI unique is that it sees the connection between the health of coastal communities and the protection of coral reefs. When communities are proud of their natural resources and have sufficient capacity to manage them, positive outcomes become much more likely, for both the community and the resources themselves.

expert adviser
Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

Chief Scientific Advisor for CRRI and one of the most commonly cited authors on climate change, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg is Professor of Marine Studies at the University of Queensland, where he has pioneered research on the impacts of global change in marine ecosystems such as coral reefs. He is also the founder of the Global Change Institute and Coordinating Lead Author for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

One of my fondest memories of coral reefs is also my first: crystal clear intertidal reefs off the coast of Queensland, ablaze with beautiful corals and spectacular fish. It was the beginning of a love affair which to this day has not ended. But, like all relationships, there are challenges and losses. It is for these reasons that I continue to fight against climate change and other human-based activities that threaten to wipe out coral reefs forever. Losing these ecosystems simply must not happen.

expert adviser
Emily Corcoran

Trained in zoology, tropical coastal management, leadership and organisational management, Emily brings more than 20 years of experience and a wide range of qualifications to CRRI. Whether in the field or on advisory boards, she has worked extensively to ensure policy decisions are based on the best available scientific evidence. After completing her term as Deputy Secretary for the OSPAR Commission, Emily established herself as an independent consultant. She is currently based in Sweden.

It is important to know that there is hope - if we take action. CRRI is bringing together all sorts of people with really different skill sets and experiences. This is absolutely critical for finding new solutions and will be a big advantage for this initiative. Coral reef ecosystems have been around for millions of years and survived a lot of change. If we can take off some of the extra pressures, it will give reefs the time they need to keep on adapting.

Let’s build a
climate-ready future!

To restore the world's coral reefs, we need support from all sectors. From individuals and communities to governments and industries, collaboration is the key.