ISRS – Key Information & News



The International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) was founded in 1980.  It is the principal learned society to which reef scientists and managers from across the world belong.

The principal objective of the Society is to promote the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge and understanding of coral reefs, both living and fossil.

To achieve its objectives the Society:

  • publishes and distributes the well-regarded scientific  coral-reefsreef-encounterjournal Coral Reefs (ISRS members click here to get on-line access)
  • coordinates the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), a major scientific congress held every four years, typically attended by some 2000 delegates
  • promotes or supports smaller regional conferences or inter-congresses, in years between successive ICRS
  • publishes Briefing Papers and Statements on emerging issues related to coral reefs 
  • distributes twice yearly a news journal / newsletter called Reef Encounter
  • acknowledges the scholarship and work of its members with Society awards and honors.

Currently coral reefs are under threat globally, with perhaps half the world’s reefs impacted or degraded as a direct or indirect effect of human activities (see the pages About Coral Reefs).

Anyone working on or interested in or concerned for coral reefs is WELCOME to join the society (see the Membership Page).



Recipients of ISRS Graduate Fellowships

The recipients of the two ISRS Graduate Fellowships for 2015 have been announced: They are

Giverny Rodgers of the College of Marine & Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, for a project entitled “The potential for biochemical and whole-organism developmental acclimation to global warming in a low-latitude population of coral reef fish”, and

Benjamin Titus of the Museum of Biological diversity, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA, for a project entitled “Comparative phylogeography of a multi-level sea anemone symbiosis on Caribbean coral reefs.”

This year 24 applications were received, and the selection panel commented that the overall standard of applications was very high, with several applications being scored as outstanding. Congratulations to the successful applicants!  [31March2015]


Recipients of Society Awards & Honors

Last year, the Council of the Society agreed to establish an expanded system of awards and recognitions as a means by which the Society can acknowledge exceptional achievement or commitment by a larger number of members ranging from students, through early- and mid-career researchers, to the most senior or eminent scientists. The first recipients of these awards have now been announced (25th March 2015) and are:

1. Young Scientist Award (awarded each year to a scientist under the age of 35) – Erinn Muller.
2. Mid-Career Scientist Award (awarded each year in recognition of excellence in research by a mid-career scientist) – Pete Mumby.
3. Eminence in Research Award (awarded each year in recognition of an outstanding body of research over an extended period of time) – Barbara Brown.
4. ISRS Fellows (awarded to up to 15% of members in recognition of scientific achievement and / or service to reef conservation or management and / or service to ISRS over a significant period of time) – Andrew Baird, John Pandolfi, Robert van Woesik.

Congratulations to the successful nominees.


ISRS Facebook Group     Facebook Group Screenshot

We now have a group established on Facebook, as well as a Facebook page. The group is a closed group, open to members only, and intended to promote networking and discussion among society members.  An advantage over email discussion lists is that members can post photos and video clips, and even see a face. It’s being increasingly used by students and early-career members.

The group address is To see the content you will need to join the group. Requests to join (submitted via the group page) are approved by group administrators on the basis that normally only ISRS members can join. Graduate students and early career researchers and managers who make regular use of Facebook are especially welcome.


Reef Encounter 41

New Issue of REEF ENCOUNTER published   

The latest issue of the the Society’s News Journal “Reef Encounter” was published on 25th March, 2015.

A low resolution version can be downloaded here: ISSUE 41 LOW RES

A high resolution version can be downloaded from the Reef Encounter web-page.


13th International Coral Reef Symposium, Hawaii

1st Announcement and Call for Session Proposals

The 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) will be held at the Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii on 19- 24 June 2016.

The ICRS, sanctioned by the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) and held every four years, is the primary international meeting focused on coral reef science and management. The Symposium will bring together an anticipated 2,500 coral reef scientists, policy makers and managers from 70 different nations in a forum to present the latest research findings, case histories and management activities, and to discuss the application of scientific knowledge to achieving coral reef sustainability.

The scientific planning committee now invites proposals for sessions and panels of interest to researchers, resource managers, economists, policy makers, educators and students. Themes will address coral reef science, management, conservation and policy. Multidisciplinary/cross-disciplinary, solution-oriented sessions are particularly encouraged in which a range of participants can interact with a goal of producing concrete outputs leading to positive coral reef outcomes. For further details about the procedure for proposing a session or panel, please see the dedicated 13th ICRS PageHonolulu Conference Centre

Every effort is being made to make this meeting as accessible and affordable as possible. Based on projected budgets at this point, we anticipate the following likely levels of fees:
ISRS members > 2 years – $500 (US)
ISRS members < 2 years – $550 (US)
Non-ISRS members – $750 (US)
ISRS student members – $350 (US)
Students (non-ISRS members) – $450 (US)

For further details and contact information,  please see the 13th ICRS  Page.


Election Results

As recording secretary of the International Society for Reef Studies, I am writing to members to advise them that the candidates elected to office in the recent ballot of the Society were as follows:

President: Ruth Gates (Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, USA)

Vice-President: Yimnang Golbuu (Palau International Coral Reef Center, Palau)

Corresponding Secretary: Rupert Ormond (Marine Conservation International, UK)

Council Members (alphabetical):

David Baker (Hong Kong University, PRC)
Stacy Jupiter (Wildlife Conservation Society, Fiji)
Ilsa Kuffner (US Geological Survey, USA)
Kazuo Nadaoka (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan)
Serge Planes (Centre de Recherche Insulaire et Observatoire de l’Environnement, Polynésie Française)
Laurie Richardson (Florida International University, USA)
Thamasak Yeemin (Ramkhamhaeng University, Thailand)

The officers have agreed that the above seven (7) members be declared elected to the council (as opposed to the six required) because of a tie between two members for sixth (6th) place. Subject to no appeal being received within the next week, these new officers and council members will take office as from February 1st of this year, 2015. KK

For further information on both new and continuing officers and councilors click here.


Death of David Stoddart – The Society’s First President

We are sorry to record the recent death (on November 23rd, 2014) of David Stoddart, who was not only the Society’s first President, but also the first editor-in-chief of the society’s academic journal Coral Reefs and a winner of the society’s prestigious Darwin Medal.  Born in 1936, he studied Geography at the University of Cambridge (UK) where he eventually became both a lecturer and a fellow of Churchill College. In 1988 he moved to the University of California at Berkeley where he remained until his retirement in 2000. His main interests were in the physical geography of coral reefs, especially oceanic reefs and atolls. He was a human dynamo both on and off the reef, but the intense tropical sunshine and his robust life style eventually took its toll on his health.David Stoddart

A short obituary has been published in the UK newspaper The Guardian on 9th December 2014 and a more detailed obituary is now available in the March 2015 edition of the society’s newsletter Reef Encounter.  One of the best accounts of his life is the one he wrote himself for Atoll Research Bulletin.


Less recent news and other information is summarised on a subsequent page (Click Here)