Coral reef off North Sulawesi (Photo: Sebastian Ferse, ZMT)

21/07/2022 | From July 3 to 8, 2022, the 15th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) will take place in Bremen with more than 1,000 scientists from about 90 countries. The focus will be on coral reefs and the threats to their existence from climate change, overfishing, marine pollution and other factors, as well as possible solutions to the global coral reef crisis. Experts from science, coastal management and environmental protection will present their current research results. The 15th ICRS is organized by the University of Bremen under the leadership of coral reef expert Professor Dr. Christian Wild, head of the University's Department of Marine Ecology.

As one of Europe's leading research institutions in the field of tropical coastal ecosystems, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) is also participating in the conference. Many of the institute's research groups deal directly or indirectly with coral reefs. Researchers of the ZMT have been invited to join the scientific organizing committee, and ZMT scientists are present as moderators or speakers in more than 25 sessions.

The range of topics covered by the ZMT contributions extends from the influence of climate change and ocean acidification on corals to reef islands and sea level rise, from marine conservation and reef restoration to the use of coral reef exhibits in environmental education.

"Coral reefs are among the world's most productive ecosystems because of their importance for biodiversity, fisheries, tourism, and coastal protection. The ZMT is proud to be able to contribute significantly to the world's leading conference and is pleased to have a long-standing collaboration with Christian Wild," commented Prof. Dr. Raimund Bleischwitz, Scientific Director of the ZMT. "In the coming years, it will be increasingly important to evaluate solutions for coral reef restoration and to develop action strategies. The ZMT is addressing this task in its research and partnerships."

"As chair of the 15th World Coral Reef Conference, it was important to me to invite representatives from all Bremen institutions working with coral reefs to help shape this unique event," said Prof. Dr. Christian Wild. "In Bremen, this includes not only my Department of Marine Ecology and MARUM at the university, but also several non-university institutions such as the MPI for Marine Microbiology, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, SECORE International, and, of course, the ZMT."

In the exhibition area of the conference at the exhibition centre, the ZMT's booth will provide information about its research projects and its training as a research diver, which is recognized by the professional research diving association. A virtual reality learning game will also be on display there, which the ZMT has developed together with scientists from the University of Bremen based on a simulation model. In addition, individual objects of the exhibition "Tropical Coral Reef" of the Senckenberg Museum Frankfurt will be presented. The ZMT booth is located in the immediate vicinity of the U Bremen Research Alliance (UBRA), in which the University of Bremen and twelve non-university research institutes cooperate.

Guided tours of the ZMT for conference participants

The conference programme also includes guided tours of the institute for conference participants. On Wednesday, July 6, the ZMT will offer a tour of its marine experimental facility and provide information on its research on corals as climate archives, the impact of climate change on reef fish distribution, jellyfish as an alternative food resource, and mangroves as carbon stores.

On Tuesday morning, the Minister of Environment of the Maldives, Dr. Abdulla Naseer, will visit the ZMT in advance of the Science-to-Policy Dialogue that will follow at the ICRS. During the exchange, the ZMT will present its research work relevant to the Maldives and discuss opportunities for cooperation.

Topics of the ZMT at the ICRS

Here you will find a selection of presentations given by the ZMT at the ICRS:

  • Global coral reefs exhibit declining calcification and increasing primary productivity: insights from a meta-analysis (Dr. Kay Davis / Prof. Dr. Nils Moosdorf)
  • Coral proteomic responses, calcifying fluid pH and symbiont health give insights into adaptive physiology and calcification under ocean acidification (Dr. Marleen Stuhr)
  • Tracking the anthropogenic influence on surface temperatures and pH in the Southwest Pacific since the Industrial Revolution (Sarah Todorovic / Dr. Henry Wu)
  • Marine conservation beyond MPAs: Towards the recognition of other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs) in Indonesia (Estradivari / Dr. Sebastian Ferse)
  • Mechanisms driving symbiont shuffling in corals (Prof. Dr. Agostino Merico)
  • Reef island formation in the Indonesian Archipelago (Yannis Kappelmann)

  • Menthol-induced bleaching as a tool to rear aposymbiotic foraminifera for symbiosis
    investigations (Dr. Christiane Schmidt)

Information on the ICRS

The International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) is the most important event dealing with coral reef ecosystems. Since 1967, experts from science, coastal management and environmental protection have met every four years to present their latest research results. Bremen is the first European location to host a World Coral Reef Conference in the more than 50-year history of this event. With more than 1,000 scientists from around 90 countries, it is Germany's largest marine science conference to date. The ICRS will be opened by German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, among others.