Thank you to those of you who voted in this past election. I am honored by your endorsement and excited to work with our strong leadership team and council for the next four years as ISRS President. I realize that I am taking the helm of an organization in great shape, reflecting the excellent leadership and dedication of Bob Richmond and Caroline Rogers. Bob and Caroline deserve an enormous thank you from us all, and I hope you will join me in acknowledging their service to our community. Our Society has strengthened significantly over the past four years under their stewardship, and we are now financially stable and ready to engage, grow, and flourish.
The mission of ISRS is to promote the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge and understanding of coral reefs. The need for these activities has never been more pressing, and the mechanisms by which we accomplish the mission have never been more varied and dynamic. The diversity of our community and our reach are unprecedented: all strengths that we can build on to further the mission. I hope that you share with me a vision of ISRS as a dynamic hub for activities and services that promote the mission; an inclusive “go to” place where all who work on and care about reefs convene to explore, identify, access and capitalize on mission appropriate resources; and a professional Society where the return on investment and value of membership is so clear that once a member, always a member.
I see my role in achieving this vision as facilitative. I will be reaching out to our membership to assess needs. I will then work collaboratively with the leadership and members to define goals and outcomes. A concerted effort to identify and attract the resources needed to accomplish our goals will include the development of philanthropic relationships and a membership drive. The latter will target sectors of our community that are currently poorly represented in ISRS: We can perhaps better engage the graduate student and early postdoctoral scholars in our community by tailoring resources and activities to their demographic and career stage. I am committed to creating mechanisms to rapidly translate science to the broader audience and making this available to all Society members. I will also actively promote the value of the ISRS as a community of experts who can play a critical role in guiding action and policy aimed at protecting reef resources globally.
In closing, I would like to reach out to members and ask that you share your ideas or vision for the Society with me or other officers and council members; we need and want your input. I look forward to working with you all in the coming four years.
All the best,
Ruth D. Gates
President, International Society for Reef Studies
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Hawaii, USA
On behalf of the officers and council members of the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS), I am very pleased (and relieved) to welcome you to the updated ISRS website. As the major portal to the Society and our activities, this website will be critical for advancing key initiatives put forward by, and in support of, our members. We also hope our website will become a valuable source of information about coral reefs for the broader international community of researchers, managers, educators, policy makers and stakeholders who appreciate and depend on these remarkable ecosystems. Our members have consistently identified a legacy of vibrant reefs for future generations as our most desired outcome, and ISRS is more important than ever for providing the sound science needed to achieve this goal.
The data are clear - coral reefs worldwide are in serious decline, with associated ecological, economic and cultural losses. Meaningful efforts to address the combined effects of local and global stressors require accurate and adequate information on which to base the policies and guidance necessary for changing the human behaviors responsible for coral reef losses. As a society, we need to move forward on improving efforts to bridge sound science to policy development and implementation. The ISRS leadership wishes to fully engage our members in this task, one that is critically important for the future of coral reefs and those who depend on them.
Kiho Kim has done ISRS a great service in getting this new website online. I encourage all interested members to consider ways we can more effectively and efficiently share our knowledge with each other and with our broader target audiences by adding content and links with educational, policy and management-related information as well as the science that is the foundation of ISRS. We also wish to broaden ISRS membership and participation by engaging individuals from such disciplines as economics and the social sciences that traditionally have not been included under the primary themes of biology and geology.
As ISRS continues to modernize and adjust to emerging needs and opportunities, I hope you will all add to the success of our combined efforts in any ways that you feel inspired to contribute.
Kewalo Marine Laboratory, Hawaii, USA