Welcome to ISRS


The Society

The International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) was founded in 1980, after which membership increased rapidly as interest in and concern for coral reefs has grown. 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 journal Coral Reefs (click here for ISRS member 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.




Extension of Deadline for Receipt of Nominations for Society Awards and Honors (2015)

Because of some uncertainty over the address to which nominations should be submitted the deadline for receipt of nominations has been extended to the end of the day, Friday 16th January, 2015. Nominations should be submitted to the secretary of the Society’s awards committee, Dr Andrea Grottoli, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, 125 South Oval Mall, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA (email: grottoli.1@osu.edu).


ISRS Elections – 2014/15

Election of ISRS President, Vice-President, Corresponding Secretary, and 6 Council Members.

The ballot for the above posts (three society officers and six council members, due to begin their period of tenure in January 2015) is now open. Please visit the following page of the society’s website in order to cast your votes:


Please vote at your earliest convenience, but in any case by the end of the day on Friday 9th January, 2015.


Nominations for Society Awards and Honors 2015

The Council of ISRS is now inviting nominations for the awards and honors which it recently established.  The deadline for receipt of nominations has been extended to the end of the day, Friday January 16th, 2015.  The awards concerned are:

  1. a Young Scientist Award, awarded each year to a scientist under the age of 35, in recognition of a publication or series of publications,
  2. a Mid-Career Scientist Award, awarded each year in recognition of excellence in research during the preceding approximately 10 years by a mid-career scientist,
  3. two Eminence in Research Awards, awarded each year to an established scientist in recognition of an outstanding body of research over an extended period of time,
  4. a World Reef Award, awarded each year in recognition of scientific or conservation achievement by an individual who is a member of a group under-represented in the field of reef science or management, and
  5. up to 20 (twenty) ISRS Fellows, the status of ISRS Fellow being awarded to a member in recognition of scientific achievement and / or service to reef conservation or management and / or service to ISRS over a significant period of time.

Nominations should be sent, preferably by email, to the secretary of the Society’s awards committee, Dr Andrea Grottoli, School of Earth Sciences, Ohio State University, 125 South Oval Mall, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA, email: grottoli.1@osu.edu.

For further details and application forms please go to the Awards & Honors Page.


Applications Invited for two ISRS Graduate Fellowships

The Society is now accepting applications for two PhD student Fellowships in Coral Reef Ecosystem Research, each worth up to US $2,500. The deadline for submission of applications is January 9th, 2015 (12 p.m. UTC).  Details of the award and the application form can be found at: ISRS Graduate Fellowships 2015.

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  (see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/09/david-stoddart) and a more detailed obituary is planned for the next 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 http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/atollresearchbulletin/issues/00494.12.pdf

CORAL REEFS – Best Paper Award for 2013

The Editorial Board and Editors of Coral Reefs have voted the following scientific paper – Rapid declines in metabolism explain extended coral larval longevity, Coral Reefs 32: 539-549 – as the Best Paper published in last year’s volume of the society’s journal Coral Reefs. Congratulations to the authors: E. M. Graham, A. H. Baird, S. R. Connolly, M. A. Sewell, and B. L. Willis. The Award consists of € 1,000 and an engraved glass paperweight presented to the first author. In addition there will be a printed certificate sent to each author.


New Society Awards and Honors

Since its inception the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) has awarded only four established honors or prizes, and these at only relatively low frequency: The Darwin Medal, once every 4 years, Honorary Membership to a maximum of 10 individuals at any one time, a Best Paper Prize awarded once per year, and one to two Graduate Fellowships in Reef Conservation each year.  Over April to June this year, however, 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 measures include the establishment of ISRS Fellows, and also an award to recognise achievement by under-represented groups. In addition, two new awards, officially recognised and promoted by ISRS, will be available to student members. At each International Coral Reef Symposium, or other Conference sponsored by ISRS, a Best Poster and a Best Presentation Award will be given.

The award system has been designed to be comparable to the recognition systems of other similar scientific societies (e.g. Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, American Geological Society, Geochemical Society, British Ecological Society, etc.). Details about awards, selection process, and application forms, visit the Awards & Honors Page.




Other Recent Society News & Information