Assessing the vulnerability of communities in the newly declared Marine Protected Area of the Tela Bay Wildlife Refuge (Honduras).

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
The Tela Bay Wildlife Refuge in Honduras was recently declared a marine protected area due to its exceptionally well-preserved coral banks. The declaration of the MPA was a bottom-up effort launched by local communities and conservation groups. However, the declaration is only a first step towards its sustainable management. The next step is the design of a management plan for the area. However, to generate adequate management strategies, the stakeholder groups have to be characterized and their vulnerabilities assessed. In this master thesis the student will use a qualitative methodology based on the placemaking framework to generate a first description of the local communities and their vulnerabilities. Through open-ended interviews and questionnaires the student will describe the dependence of local communities on the MPA, the relationships among the stakeholders and their social characteristics. This information will provide a global view of the vulnerability of these communities, which will help generate management policies adapted to the local environment. This Thesis will be supervised by Antonella Rivera (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) and promoted by José Luis Acuña (University of Oviedo).
Basic knowledge of Spanish. Previous research experience on analysis of perceptions. Scuba diving certification is advisable. The work is entirely conducted in Honduras. The student needs to secure funds for transportation and accommodation. For more information, please asl Antonella Rivera (
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Reference Number: RP-49141