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10th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS)

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Underwater image of a healthy reef system
Above: Underwater image of a healthy reef system in the Kerama Islands off southwestern Okinawa. Note the abundant live-coral coverage, numerous fish, sparse macroalgae coverage, and clear water. Several talks at the conference related increased sediment input and decreased fish populations to increased growth of macroalgae and reduced live-coral coverage on reefs around the globe. Photograph by Curt Storlazzi. [larger version]

Underwater image of a stressed reef system
Above: Underwater image of a stressed reef system in the Kerama Islands off southwestern Okinawa. In comparison with the healthy reef system shown above, this one is affected by higher sediment runoff, causing more turbid water, less live-coral coverage, and more macroalgae coverage. Photograph by Curt Storlazzi. [larger version]

The 10th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) was convened on June 28-July 2, 2004, in the city of Naha, Okinawa, Japan, by the International Society for Reef Studies in cooperation with the Japanese Coral Reef Society.

The ICRS, which is held only once every four years, is the premier meeting for coral-reef scientists. This meeting's theme was the "Stability and Degradation of Coral Reef Ecosystems" around the globe. This is a particularly important topic, for it appears that anthropogenic modifications to the land (overgrazing, development), the sea (overfishing, increased sedimentation, nutrients and contaminants), and the air (greenhouse gases, dust) are the primary sources of degradation to coral reefs worldwide. The meeting was divided into the following four main themes, in each of which at least one USGS scientist presented findings:

  1. The Evolution of Coral Reef Ecosystems
  2. Environmental Factors Controlling Coral Reef Ecosystems
  3. Towards a System Where Humans and Coral Reefs Coexist
  4. Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs

Two sessions in the Environmental Factors Controlling Coral Reef Ecosystems theme—"The Influence of Storms and Floods on Reefs" and "The Physical and Hydrodynamics Environments: Their Effects on Coral Reef Processes"—were chaired by USGS scientists Mike Field (Santa Cruz, CA) and Clifford Hearn (St. Petersburg, FL), respectively.

Coral-reef science is an interdisciplinary topic involving ecologists, biologists, oceanographers, marine geologists, and planners and managers. The meeting's participants came from diverse international organizations, including federal, state, and local governments, academia, private consulting firms, and nongovernmental organizations.

The USGS was represented by John Brock (St. Petersburg), Mike Field, Eric Grossman (Santa Cruz), Clifford Hearn, Greg Piniak (Santa Cruz), and Curt Storlazzi (Santa Cruz) from the Geologic Discipline's Coastal and Marine Geology Program and Charles Birkeland (Honolulu, HI), Scott Carr (Corpus Christi, TX), Rikki Dunsmore (St. Petersburg), Ginger Garrison (St. Petersburg), Ilsa Kuffner (St. Petersburg), and Jim Parrish (Honolulu) from the Biological Resources Discipline. Furthermore, Eric Brown, Paul Jokiel, and John Rooney (all from the University of Hawai'i) presented research funded under the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program's Coral Reef Project-University of Hawai'i cooperative agreement.

Some of the specific topics addressed by the USGS participants included:

  • The impacts of storm waves and flood sediment on coral reefs (Field, Jokiel, Piniak, Storlazzi)
  • Remote sensing of coral reefs (Brock, Dunsmore, Kuffner)
  • Coral larval dispersal, coral recruitment, and reef linkages (Birkeland, Brown, Dunsmore, Storlazzi)
  • Natural controls on Holocene reef accretion (Grossman, Rooney)
  • Impact of microorganisms, airborne particles, and (or) aquatic chemicals on coral reefs (Carr, Garrison)
  • Coral-reef restoration (Garrison, Piniak)

Abstracts by these researchers and by all the other participants in the symposium can be downloaded from the official 10th International Coral Reef Symposium Web site.

Not only was the meeting successful in terms of the scientists being able to disseminate their findings to others in the coral-reef-research community, but it also gave those of us located in several different USGS disciplines and offices scattered across the country an opportunity to interact with one another and discuss better-integrated multidisciplinary USGS studies in the future.

Underscoring the theme of the meeting, typhoon Dianmu (116-knot winds) passed just to the east of Okinawa during the second half of the conference, followed by typhoon Conson (95-knot winds), which passed just to the west of Okinawa during the two days after the conference (see University of Hawai'i's NW Pacific Tropical Cyclones 2004 map). Both of these typhoons caused large waves and heavy precipitation, resulting in the cancellation of several postconference tours and scuba-diving trips, as heavy terrestrial runoff obscured many of the nearshore reefs off Okinawa.

Related Sound Waves Stories
West Maui Coastal Circulation Experiment: Understanding the Movement of Sediment, Coral Larvae, and Contaminants Along Coral Reefs
August 2003
Remote Sensing of Coral Reefs: Testing the Waters at Biscayne National Park
November 2002
News from the 9th International Coral Reef Symposium (the Olympics of Coral Reef Research)
Dec. 2000 / Jan. 2001

Related Web Sites
10th International Coral Reef Symposium
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Coral Reef Studies
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Remote Sensing Applications to Coral Reef Environments
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Coral Mortality and African Dust
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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Mapping the South Essex Ocean Sanctuary

Gas-Hydrate Mounds

Cruise to California Seamounts

Outreach Little Marine Explorers Summer Camp

Scientists Interviewed for Documentary

The National Map Comes to Florida

Meetings 10th International Coral Reef Symposium

Awards USGS Video Receives Silver Telly Award

Staff & Center News Geographer Joins USGS in St. Petersburg

Geologist Joins USGS in St. Petersburg

Publications August Publications List

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)