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:
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:
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.
in this issue:
10th International Coral Reef Symposium