15.6.16 | Twenty scientists from the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) are taking part in the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) this year. The ICRS, the world’s biggest conference on coral reefs, is taking place in Honolulu (Hawaii) from June 19 to 24.

In addition to scientific talks by workgroup leaders, post-docs, PhD candidates and master students, ZMT researchers have organised two of 88 symposium sessions.

With more than 2.500 participants from all 70 countries the ICRS counts among the most important conferences for coral reef researchers worldwide. The symposium, which takes place very four years, has been hosted by the International Society of Reef Studies (ISRS) since 1969 drawing not only scientists, but also managers and stakeholders.

In talks, workshops and informal town hall meetings participants present their latest research findings, case histories and management activities, and discuss the application of scientific knowledge to achieving coral reef sustainability.

With the overall theme ‘Bridging Science to Policy’ a total of 88 sessions will take place over the course of the six days of the conference. Two of the sessions have been organised by ZMT researchers. Dr. Sebastian Ferse, Dr. Jeremiah Plass-Johnson and Dr. Sonia Bejarano are responsible for the session ‘Trait-Based Approaches in Coral Reef Ecology: From Functional Ecology to Management’ (46) on June 21. Together with international colleagues Dr. Annette Breckwoldt and Dr. Sebastian Ferse have organised the session ‘Improving the Understanding and Management of Coral Reef Socio-Ecological Systems Through Community and Stakeholder Engagement’ (65) also on June 21.

“This year’s conference takes place in a very suitable region: the Pacific is not just the largest ocean in the world and habitat to the most coral reefs and species,” says Sebastian Ferse. “The inhabitants of Pacific islands are much more dependent on the reefs for their livelihood than anywhere else. Here, many different traditional management systems for reefs have been established, which in times of global threat to coral reefs can provide us with important for their sustainable use and protection. Hence, this year’s topic ‘Bridging Science to Policy’, the application of science to society is more relevant than ever before.“

“In my research I focus on the use of local marine resources on small islands and island states. Both have reached a degree of international prominence as never before,” adds Annette Breckwoldt. “This year’s topic ‘Bridging Science to Policy’ gives more weight to the human dimension in the ‘glocal’ field of coral reef research, which makes me hopeful. Local answers are necessary for global relations and schemes for recourses use, no matter if you look at the Southern Pacific, the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean. I am very excited about the many management-related sessions, which will very much show the multifaceted room there still is to fill between science and local and national stakeholders.”

More information about ICRS: https://sgmeet.com/icrs2016/