The International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) was founded in 1980 and 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.  Currently these reefs are under threat globally as never before, as a result of both climate change and local impacts (see About Coral Reefs). If you work on or are interested in coral reefs you are WELCOME - please see the Membership Page, where you can join on-line.


The latest edition of REEF ENCOUNTER (No. 44 December 2016) has been published. It can be downloaded here (by both members and non-members) as either a high resolution (suitable for printing) or a low resolution (suitable for viewing on screen) pdf. Members will receive low resolution pdfs by email.

Reef Encounter Dec 2016 LoRes

Reef Encounter Dec 2016 HiRes

1st January 2017

Proceedings of 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii,                          now Published

The Proceedings of 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, sponsored by the Society and held in Honolulu, Hawaii, from 19th-24th June (2016) have now been published on-line, with individual papers available for download from the Conferences Section of this website.

The full volume, edited by Chuck Birkeland, Steve Coles and Narrissa Spies contains 45 papers, drawn from 27 of the sessions of the Symposium. You can download the Table of Contents here, OR view a list of sections and papers on the ICRS13 Proceedings Page.

It is expected that hard copies of the Proceedings will be available if required from the University of Hawaii Press. Further details will be posted when avaialble.

RO 18th December 2016


ISRS issues Briefing Document and Call for Action on South China Sea



The Society's Conservation Committee has produced a briefing document on the current crisis affecting the coral reefs of the South China Sea as a result of competing territorial claims and the subsequent intensification of a wide range of reef related fisheries, as well as infilling to create land and pollution

The committee emphasises the need for action to protect and manage sustainably an area which contains over 250 small islands, atolls, cays, shoals and sandbars and, supporting over 600 known species of coral, rivals the coral triangle in diversity. The full document (10 pages) can be downloaded here (ISRS South China Sea Briefing Document) or from the briefing documents and policy statements page.


23rd November 2016 (RO)


Call for Nominations for ISRS Honors and Awards

The Society is now calling for nominations for the honors and awards that are offered to members on an annual basis in appreciation of their work or scholarship . These are:

  1.  A Young Scientist Award (awarded to a scientist under the age of 35)
  2.  A Mid-Career Scientist Award
  3.  One or two Eminence-in-Research Awards
  4.  A World Reef Award (awarded to an individual who is a member of a group under-represented in the field of reef science or management e.g. is from a lower or middle income economy)
  5.  up to 20 awards of the status of ISRS Fellow

Additional details can be found on the relevant page of the Society's website.

Please think of deserving colleagues and contacts and consider offering to nominate them. Nomination of members from a wide range of countries is encouraged and self-nomination is also possible.

Nominations should be sent to the chair of the awards committee, Andrea Grottoli ( as a single pdf file.

The closing date for receipt of nominations is 15th January 2017.

19th November 2016 (RO)


Coral Reefs Volume 35 Number 4 Published

Issue 4 of Volume 35 of the Society’s Journal CORAL REEFS is now available online via the members login. Papers in this issue include:

Genetic tools link long-term demographic and life-history traits of anemonefish to their anemone hosts (Océane C. Salles, Pablo Saenz-Agudelo, Glenn R. Almany, Michael L. Berumen, Simon R. Thorrold, Geoffrey P. Jones & Serge Planes)

Visual orientation by the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) (Ronald Petie, Michael R. Hall, Mia Hyldahl & Anders Garm)

Hybridisation among groupers (genus Cephalopholis) at the eastern Indian Ocean suture zone: taxonomic and evolutionary implications (Samuel D. Payet, Jean-Paul A. Hobbs, Joseph D. DiBattista, Stephen J. Newman, Tane Sinclair-Taylor, Michael L. Berumen & Jennifer L. McIlwain)

In situ growth rates of deep-water octocorals determined from 3D photogrammetric reconstructions (Swaantje Bennecke, Tom Kwasnitschka, Anna Metaxas & Wolf-Christian Dullo)

Near-future ocean acidification enhances the feeding rate and development of the herbivorous juveniles of the crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci (Pamela Z. Kamya, Maria Byrne, Alexia Graba-Landry & Symon A. Dworjanyn)

Ecological limitations to the resilience of coral reefs (Camilo Mora, Nicholas A. J. Graham & Magnus Nyström)

Interactive effects of three pervasive marine stressors in a post-disturbance coral reef (Michael A. Gil, Silvan U. Goldenberg, Anne Ly Thai Bach, Suzanne C. Mills & Joachim Claudet)

Differential modification of seawater carbonate chemistry by major coral reef benthic communities (Heather N. Page, Andreas J. Andersson, Paul L. Jokiel, Ku’ulei S. Rodgers, Mario Lebrato, Kiley Yeakel, Charlie Davidson, Sydney D’Angelo & Keisha D. Bahr)

Recruitment, mortality, and resilience potential of scleractinian corals at Eilat, Red Sea (Tom Shlesinger & Yossi Loya)

Skeletal records of community-level bleaching in Porites corals from Palau (Hannah C. Barkley & Anne L. Cohen)

Genetic evidence of peripheral isolation and low diversity in marginal populations of the Acropora hyacinthus complex (Go Suzuki, Shashank Keshavmurthy, Takeshi Hayashibara, Carden C. Wallace, Yoshihisa Shirayama, Chaolun Allen Chen & Hironobu Fukami)

Environmental factors limiting fertilisation and larval success in corals (Rachael M. Woods, Andrew H. Baird, Toni L. Mizerek & Joshua S. Madin)

19th November 2016 (RO)


Call for Nominations for Posts of Treasurer and Recording (Minutes) Secretary and for six (6) replacement Council Members

Elections are now due for two officers’ positions, Treasurer and Recording (Minutes) Secretary, and also for six members (half) of the Society’s Council. Nominations for these positions should now be sent  by email to the current corresponding secretary ( by Friday 2nd December.

Details of the current officers and council may be found on the society’s website at: The officers completing their term are Don Potts (Treasurer) and Kiho Kim (Recording Secretary). According to the society’s constitution officers may hold their positions for no more than two consecutive four-year terms and hence Don is not eligible for re-election.  The Council members completing their single 4-year term are: Juan Pablo Carricart-Ganivet, Andrea Grottoli, Jeff Miller, Erinn Muller and Stephanie Norman.

Nomination as a candidate may be made either by the candidate themselves or by a separate proposer. In either case the nomination should take the form of a short Letter of Nomination (a few lines simply stating that you wish to nominate the candidate), with the same or different copies being signed by a) the proposer, b) the seconder, and c) the candidate him/herself (if he/she is not the proposer or seconder). The signed letters may be submitted by email as one or more scans of the original. The candidate and proposer and / or seconder must all be paid-up members of the Society.

In addition each nomination should be accompanied by a short (maximum half-page) Personal Statement in which the candidate a) summarises their background and career and b) outlines any intentions they may have concerning the post, if elected. This information will be made available on-line to members when they caste their vote. This statement should be sent as a Word file.


15th November 2016 (RO)


Next International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS14) to be held in Bremen, Germany, in July 2020

The Society is pleased to announce that at its recent Council Meeting it was agreed that the next Global International Coral Reef Symposium will be held in Bremen, Germany, in the first or second week of July, 2020. After the great success of ICRS13 in Honolulu, Hawaii, earlier this year, it is anticipated that very large numbers of members and other delegates will be eager to attend.

The organising committee will be chaired by Prof. Dr. Christian Wild of the University of Bremen and include over a  dozen scientists and conference staff from both Bremen and other Universities in Germany and the Netherlands. This will be the first ICRS to be held in Europe, but post-conference field trips to the Red Sea will be available, as well as more local excursions. Further details will be posted on this site as they become available.

At its meeting at the end of October the Society's Council agreed two new concessions for members renewing their ISRS membership.

Special Discount for Members who joined for ICRS13. Members who first joined between July 2014 and June 2015, most likely to attend ICRS13 in Honolulu, will be offered a one-off 20% discount on their membership renewal for 2017. If they decide to renew for three years they will also obtain the additional 10% discount available to all members who pay for three years ahead.

Extension of Student Memberships. Students or past students, once they have graduated or obtained their PhD, may continue paying at the student rate, so long as they are not yet in full-time or near full-time employment. This concession is to allow past students to retain their membership during the period, often of a year or more, between them completing their studies and obtaining professional or other comparable employment. Members may pay at student rates for a maximum of ten years, after which proof of student and employment status will be required.

New ISRS Student Committee

A new ISRS student committee is being formed, to represent the interests of graduate and undergraduate students, as well as other recent student members who have not yet found employment. The committee is being convened by Sandra Schleier at University of Rhode Island, USA (email: ""), and Laura Richardson at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia (email: "").  Student members who interested and able to commit time to the committee are asked to please contact one or both of the convenors.

7th November 2016 (RO)

IXth Mexican Coral Reef Congress, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico, 13-16 of June of 2017

The 9th Mexican Coral Reef Congress will take place in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico from 13th-16th June, 2017. For more details see the Coral Reef Conferences & Workshops Page .

Abstracts reception dateline: February 8th, 2017
Queries / Organizing committee:




 Urgent Appeal to Australian Government to Protect the Great Barrier Reef

Following discussions at ICRS13 the letter shown below, appealing for urgent action to protect the Great Barrier Reef, has been sent, on behalf of the Conference and ISRS, to the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Letter to Australian Government June 2016

 ICRS13: Winners of the ISRS Student Prizes

Best Presentations:

  • Judy Lowe, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reefs, Australia
  • Megan Morikawa, Stanford University, USA;
  • Michael Studivan, Florida Atlantic University Harbour Branch, USA
  • John Whitney, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii.

Best Posters:

  • Maarten de Brauwer, Curtin University, Australia
  • Jeffrey Munar, Marine Science Institute, University of Philippines, Philippines
  • Zoe Sims, Princeton University, USA
  • Austin Yeung, Shanghai American School, Shanghai, China

There were >450 entries, all assessed by a panel chaired by Jo-Ann Leong. The panel emphasised that many of the other entries were also considered excellent, and the final selection a very close call.

Each of the winners receives:

  • A copy of Reef Finder or Coral Finder – the underwater ID guide designed by Russ Kelley
  • Their choice of one of the following recent major books- Coral Diseases by Cheryl Woodley, Jim Porter et al, or Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene by Chuck Birkeland, or The Biology of Reefs & Reef Organisms by Walt Goldberg, or Corals of Florida and the Caribbean by George Warner
  • An ISRS T-Shirt or Polo-neck Shirt and ISRS Dive-mask strap
  • Plus 2 years free membership of ISRS
  • Plus access to one of two iDIVE units (underwater iPad housings) that Christopher Knox and colleagues at iDive have offered the Society
  • And a chance to compete for 2 free publication slots in the Journal, Frontiers in Marine Science

Those winners who were not at the last conference session to be handed their awards should contact the corresponding secretary to organise delivery!

25th June 2016

LATEST UPDATE: International Coral Reef Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii

LESS THAT A MONTH NOW BEFORE THE START OF ICRS13 - the International Coral Reef Symposium, being held in Honolulu, Hawaii, 19th - 24th June.

Full information can be obtained at the dedicated website Members and others planning to attend may however like to note that the provisional agenda on the Conference Program and Agenda Home Page still needs updating.

For an up-to-date program overview please go to:

The day-by-day schedule can be found at and is correct as of close of business yesterday.

26th May 2016

 New Edition of Reef Encounter PublishedRE April 2016 Image of Cover

The latest edition of the Society's magazine-style news journal has been published and is available to download as a high resolution (suitable for printing) or low resolution (suitable for viewing on screen) pdf. Members will receive low resolution pdfs by email. Alternatively members or non-members may download either version here:

Reef Encounter 43 April 2016 LR or Reef Encounter 43 April 2016 HR

18th May 2016

New Issue CORAL REEFS Published

The latest issue of the Society's flagship journal has been published. This is volume 35, number 2. The full contents of the issue can be found at

Members may access and download articles free of charge by logging into their account on the membership page.

17th May 2016

New Conservation and Education Committees Formed

At its most recent meeting (14th/15th April) the ISRS Council agreed to establish two new committees which it is intended should become key in their respective fields - an EDUCATION COMMITTEE and a CONSERVATION COMMITTEE. Chairs were appointed as follows: Conservation Committee - Sue Wells (email:; Education Committee - James Crabbe (email:

It is intended that, in addition to 3 council members, each committee should include a minimum of 3 other society members including at least 2 practitioners (e.g. teacher or coral reef manager) and 2 student members (graduate or undergraduate). Any member interested in being considered for either committee, and possessing the necessary time and commitment, is asked to email the relevant chair with a copy of their cv.

The Terms of Reference for each committee can be downloaded here:

Conservation Committee approved ToR     Education Committee approved ToR

18th April 2016

Society Membership Reaches Record High

Information presented at the most recent meeting of the Society's Council (held yesterday and today) revealed that membership of the Society has reached a record high of 1689 members. While membership has often peaked in the run up to an upcoming International Coral Reef Symposium, membership is now significantly higher than on any previous occasion. Further the Society now has members from 69 different countries and territories. We take the opportunity to welcome all new members and encourage them to benefit from and participate in Society activities and initiatives.

15th April 2016

Other recent news and society information is summarised on the next page (Click Here)