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Researcher swaps books for bike to raise awareness of marine conservation

Elena Couce preparing for her expedition

Dr Elena Couce preparing for her expedition to the Coral Triangle Chris Bradford

Press release issued: 11 December 2013

University of Bristol researcher Dr Elena Couce will cycle around one of the most diverse areas of our oceans on a 14 month mission to raise awareness of climate change and marine conservation.

University of Bristol researcher Dr Elena Couce will cycle around one of the most diverse areas of our oceans on a 14 month mission to raise awareness of climate change and marine conservation. Elena will head to the Coral Triangle on 16 January, trading her computer and books for a bicycle, snorkel and scuba diving equipment until March 2015.

Located between Asia and Australia the Coral Triangle is often called the ‘Amazon of the Oceans’ as it boasts the highest levels of marine biodiversity on the planet.

Elena said: "this area is the richest part of the oceans and a place of outstanding beauty. It is now in danger, suffering from many human pressures. I want people to get to know the area and see what is happening there, so they can be inspired to help protect it.”

Elena will be raising money for marine conservation and the WWF’s Coral Triangle Program. Throughout her journey she will meet local people, visit research centres and explore marine reserves to learn about their work.

As well as raising money she intends to raise awareness of the impact of climate change through connecting to UK schools and blogging via her website, Facebook and Twitter.

Travelling alone, Elena hopes to be joined by like-minded people along the way. She will also be supported by a creative team based in the UK, who will promote her work.

So far the cycle expedition has been self-funded and the UK team is made up of volunteers. The search for sponsors and the online money raising campaign are now under way. Elena and her team are hoping to raise money to improve the project, to visit more places and to reach more people.

Elena has been researching the impact of climate change on coral reef ecosystems, which has inspired her trip, she said: “Until now my days have been spent in an office, sitting in front of a computer and I just felt that that was no longer enough. I want to go out there, see in person what is happening, and try to help out in any way I can.”

For further information about her trip or to make a donation please visit Elena’s website or www.indiegogo.com