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IB newsletter

A school project done in Egypt


In the final year of the IB program there is a requirement to write a big research paper “Extended Essay” on a subject of your choice. It has to be around 4 000 words, which to some people is A LOT, so I thought for the research paper to connect it with something I really love. That’s when I decided to go on a diving trip to Egypt for a whole week, live on a diving boat and travel from one coral reef to the next while researching the number of damaged corals to be found on these sites.

For any big research paper, it is always great if you can choose a topic that you really like and are interested in so it is easier and much more motivational to write the paper. So I thought that since the coral reefs are of vital importance to global ecosystem I chose a topic where I would travel to different coral reefs and use a biology research method to count how many broken corals I find in a random area around that reef.

Corals are probably the most complex ecosystem on this planet, thus it is critically important to always preserve and protect them, while making sure that the tourists visiting them don’t cause any more harm. The research paper I wrote gathered new knowledge from the sites and used data from previous research papers to compare them to the new data to find if there is any correlation between the number of tourists and the damaged corals. Data is presented in two forms: samples taken underwater and oral commentary from the divers who have dived in the Red Sea for more than 10 years.

Since diving is very close to my heart and the preservation of coral reefs is of vital importance, the topic suited me very well. Not only did it make my research more fun and easier, it made my trip also more exciting.

The results I gathered were very promising. The whole idea was that every day of the trip we moved further and further away from the starting point of a major city called Hurghada. My theory was that the further we go from the city the less damaged coral I will find because people who are diving for the first time are usually taken to some coral reefs that are very close to the city and doesn’t take too long to reach via boat. And the numbers I gathered proved my point just so. When I dived near the city I found a lot of broken coral, but as we sailed around 400km away from the city the number of broken coral kept decreasing drastically. At the last dive site furthest away from the shore I found almost no broken coral at all.

Of course the research could have been conducted on a bigger scale by having more people join in on my research, count the number of corals on a much bigger area and also I could have done it on more than just 5 coral reef sites. But this time it served my purpose.

The most important thing is that the research was a success, the numbers and samples proved my hypothesis to be correct and also I enjoyed the trip a lot.