Monday, August 13, 2012

The International Coral Reef Symposium 2012

Hafa adai from down under!

From the land that boasts some of the world’s most unique and dangerous animals also comes the world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef! That’s right, I’m talking about Australia! And what better place than Australia to hold a coral reef conference! The International Coral Reef Symposium just finished its 12th conference and I was lucky enough to attend. The conference welcomed over 2,100 scientists from all over the world, including scientists, managers, and conservationists from across Micronesia. During the week, over 1,300 oral presentations were given and 236 posters were presented. Micronesia itself was represented by 16 presenters of both oral and poster presentations, with another 12 supporting delegates.

Dr. Jane Lubechenco, NOAA
Some of the highlights from the week were the plenary speakers. On opening day, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, gave a presentation regarding the transformation of science and research into policy, and also on progress the U.S. has made in managing and conserving its coral reef areas. She also stressed the importance of scientists to become, at the very least, “bilingual” – speaking the language of science and also speaking the language of laypeople. She called for scientists to communicate in ways that are understandable and credible in order to share their findings broadly and to develop useful and usable decision support tools for coral reef conservation. Other speakers who gave plenary presentations which were particularly interesting to me were Dr. Peter Kareiva, Dr. Geoffrey Jones, Dr. Helene Marsh, and Dr. Jeremy Jackson. All the plenary speaker presentations are available for viewing online at the 2012 ICRS website ( and I encourage you to check them out!

One of the many presentations.
There were also a variety of presentations from the delegates, including those from Micronesia. The University of Guam Marine Lab provided a variety of posters and presentations on topics ranging from the role of sewage pollution on the health of Guam corals (Dr. Laurie Raymundo), to the restoration of a watershed through community involvement (Ann Marie Gawel). Some of the other presentations and posters from Micronesia involved assessing the variety of coral reef ecosystems across Micronesia (Dr. Peter Houk), coral bleaching in Palau during the 2010 thermal stress event (Jacques Idechong), and the effectiveness of small MPAs in Palau (Adelle Isechal). You can read the abstracts for all presentations on the website mentioned above, and look out for the proceedings to read the scientific papers!

All in all, it was a pretty spectacular event, with a lot of new ideas and thought-provoking discussions regarding coral reef research. I also got to reconnect with old colleagues and make new connections. I look forward to the next event in 2016 which will be held in Hawaii.

Now that the conference is over, it’s back to monitoring. Look out for photos, stories, and important updates to the monitoring program in the coming months!

ted by

Roxanna Miller
12:17 pm

Monday, August 13, 2012
Location: Hagatna, Guam