If you can’t join them, stream it

As the olympics of coral reef science, the International Coral Reef Symposium only happens every 4 years. This means that it will occur once or twice during an average PhD student’s tenure. I just missed the previous ICRS, which took place in Florida in 2008 – and this year I wasn’t able to make it to the meeting for a number of reasons: distance (it was held in Cairns, Australia), money, and time. However, this year the organizers have made the plenary talks (9 talks by top researchers) available to the public (click here). While conferences are a great way for researchers to exchange ideas and learn about new methods and recent discoveries, one criticism may be that we are just preaching to the choir – that the information is not making it beyond academia. By making these talks freely available and easily accessible, ICRS is taking a big step towards reaching a broader audience, as well as making it possible for those without the time and money to attend the conference to share in the experience of this valuable and infrequent gathering. Of course, these cannot substitute for the experience and networking opportunities of being there, but there is the added benefit that you can watch talks from the comfort of home, rewind when you miss something, and take a break to grab a drink from the fridge!

The talks include:

  • Dr. Jane Lubchenco (Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator) – “From Science to Policy: Using Science to Inform Coral Reef Conservation and Management”.
  • Dr. Jamaluddin Jompa (Hasanuddin University, Indonesia) – “Scientific and Management Challenges in Conserving the Reefs in the Coral Triangle Region: Lessons Learnt from Indonesia”.
  • Dr. Dennis Allemand (Centre Scientific de Monaco) – “Coral Biomineralization: From cell physiology to ocean acidification” about the mechanisms of coral calcification and the effect of ocean acidification on their ability to build skeletons. 50 mins.
  • Dr. Geoffrey Jones (James Cook University) – “Mission Impossible: unlocking the secrets of larval fish dispersal on coral reefs”
  • Dr. Peter Kareiva (Chief Scientist of the Nature Conservancy) – “Just How Fragile are Coral Reefs? It Depends”.
  • Dr. Helene Marsh (James Cook University) – “Conserving Coral Reef Megafauna: Issues of Ecological Process, Biodiversity, Cultural Diversity and Food Security”
  • Dr. Madeleine van Oppen (Australian Institute of Marine Science) -“Can Old Corals Learn New Tricks” about the potential of corals and their symbionts to adapt to survive in the face of global climate change, and the implications of this for management & translocations of corals. 38 mins.
  • Dr. Jeremy Jackson (IUCN, Scripps, Smithsonian) – “The Future of Corals and Coral Reefs in a Rapidly Changing World”.
  • Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (University of Queensland) – “Coral Reefs and Global Change: where do the solutions lie?”

Four years from now, it would be fantastic if even more ICRS talks are available online, or even conducted with the ability to participate from a distance. However, since the meeting will be held in Hawaii, I think I’d rather attend in person 🙂


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