Public Release: 

Topics to be discussed during July International Coral Reef Symposium

Now confirmed: Schedule of daily news briefings and international coral expert presenters


The 12th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2012), the world's leading coral reef science conference held once every four years, will begin Monday, July 9, in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Daily media briefings will be held for reporters who are in attendance, and accessibility to this information and to coral experts will be provided through an online media portal to journalists worldwide. In addition to the briefings, journalists will be given daily updates on the groundbreaking presentations in science and management of coral reefs and contact information to pursue additional stories.

The confirmed line-up of daily media briefings, which will include presentations and discussion by scientists and experts in the featured topic areas, follows. The program book and full book of abstracts are available online.

All briefings will be held at the Cairns Convention Centre, Mezzanine level (1st floor), Meeting Room 7 (Press Briefing Room).

Monday, July 9

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

The State of Coral Reefs: Leading coral experts present an overview of the state of coral reefs globally and what it will take to manage them sustainably. Briefing includes a discussion of a Consensus Statement on Climate Change and Coral Reefs signed by thousands of scientists worldwide and the expected outcomes from ICRS2012.

Terry Hughes, Director, Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Jeremy Jackson, Senior Scientist Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution; Professor of Oceanography Emeritus, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Stephen R. Palumbi, Jane and Marshall Steel Professor of Marine Science, Department of Biology; Harold A. Miller Director, Hopkins Marine Station, Department of Biology, Stanford University
Robert H. Richmond, President, International Society for Reef Studies; Research Professor, Kewalo Marine Laboratory, University of Hawaii at Manoa

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Lessons from the Great Barrier Reef: The most well managed reef in the world has experienced many management successes, but it continues to face as many challenges. That's why the Great Barrier Reef today is a World Heritage Area, but is being considered by UNESCO for a designation as site "in danger." What can the world learn from efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef?

Jon Brodie, Principal Research Scientist and Leader, Catchment to Reef Research Group, Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, James Cook University
Peter Doherty, Science Leader of the Tropical Ecosystems Hub in the National Environmental Research Program, Australian Institute of Marine Science
Alana Grech, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Laurence McCook, Manager, Outlook Report, Communications and Policy Coordination Branch, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Tuesday, July 10

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Clear and Present Danger: A changing climate is already having impacts on coral reefs. But the impacts are more complicated than it is often portrayed. There will be winners and losers of climate change and ocean acidification. Speakers explore what changes are already taking place and what that means for the future of reefs and the benefits they provide people worldwide.

Janice M. Lough, Senior Principal Research Scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science; Adjunct Professorial Research Fellow and Partner Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for Reef Studies, James Cook University
John M. Pandolfi, Director, Centre for Marine Science, School of Biological Sciences, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, University of Queensland
Roberto Iglesias Prieto, Research Scientist, Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology, National Autonomous University of México
Philip L. Munday, Professor, ARC QEII Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) Model for Healthy Reefs: What we can learn from the CTI, a multinational partnership of six nations working together to sustain their extraordinary marine and coastal resources by addressing crucial issues such as food security, climate change and marine biodiversity.

Porfirio M. Aliño, Professor, Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman
Bob Pressey, Distinguished Professor, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Jamaluddin Jompa, Professor and Director, Center for Coral Reef Research, Hasanuddin University
Maurice Knight, Chief of Party, USAID Coral Triangle Support Partnership, World Wildlife Fund, South Jakarta
Agnetha Vave-Karamui, Chief Conservation Officer (CTI), Environment & Conservation Division, Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, Solomon Islands

Wednesday, July 11

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Reefonomics: Coral reefs are critical to the trade of live fish for food and to the aquarium and coral retail industries. But can the world's demand for reef species be sustained? From source countries to consumption countries, experts explore the cultural and economic drivers of the trade, the impact on coral reef biodiversity and the potential solutions.

Michael Fabinyi, Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Yvonne Sadovy, Professor of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong
Elizabeth Wood, Marine Resource Management and Biodiversity Conservation Consultant, Marine Conservation Society, England

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Bottom-Up Conservation: While science has taught us much about coral reef management, enlisting the people who depend on the resources most for food and income in management has proven a key element of success. Reports will come from countries that have attempted to combine Western science, traditional practices and community determination in marine resource management. What elements of this are generally applicable across the globe?

Jovelyn T. Cleofe, Country Coordinator and Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, Philippines, LMMA Network
Stacy Jupiter, Fiji Country Program Director, Wildlife Conservation Society, Fiji
Cliff Marlessy, Country Coordinator, Indonesia, Locally-Managed Marine Area (LMMA) Network
Alifereti Tawake, Technical Advisor, Learning Committee, Fiji LMMA Network (FLMMA); and an IUCN-WCPA North & South Pacific Marine Coordinator
Alan T. White, Senior Scientist, The Nature Conservancy, Global Marine Initiative, Hawaii

Thursday, July 12

11:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m.

What Big Critters Tell Us: Research presented at the Symposium involving sharks, dugongs and turtles provides critical information about how the ocean is changing and what steps need to be taken to restore and maintain the health of coral reefs.

Sean R. Connolly, ARC Australian Professorial Fellow, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Helene Marsh, Professor of Environmental Science, Dean of Graduate Research Studies, James Cook University
Loren E. McClenachan, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Colby College, Maine
Mark Meekan, Principal Research Scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Reef Connections: New research shows the early travels of fish and coral larvae provide important lessons on how reefs should be managed, including information about the value of Marine Protected Areas. It will explore how the early life in the ocean provides an indicator to its future and the conservation strategies that need to be taken.

Leanne Fernandes, Director and Principal Consultant, Marine and Coastal Resource Management, Earth to Ocean, Townsville, Australia
Geoffrey P. Jones, Professor, School of Marine and Tropical Biology, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Stephen D. Simpson, Marine Biologist & NERC KE Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, United Kingdom
Bob Warner, Professor of Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Journalists will have access to videos of the media briefings, which will be posted following their conclusion, as well as news releases on other research findings presented at the Symposium, high-resolution photos, b-roll video footage, and access to other ICRS events through the online media portal:


Key Information

What: 12th International Coral Reef Symposium:

When: Monday, July 9 to Friday, July 13, 2012

Where: Cairns Convention Centre, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Who: Experts on coral reefs and climate change, coral reef fisheries, ocean acidification, coral reef diseases, and reef management will be available for media interviews. Only registered and paid attendees and the news media can attend. Credentialed members of the press can register at

Key Facts

The first Symposium was held in 1969 in Mandapam Camp, India. ICRS has grown from participants representing 11 countries to a global scientific event with 2,000 participants from 80 countries. Previously the ICRS has convened at locations including: India, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Tahiti, Guam, Panama, Indonesia, and most recently in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA in 2008. The research and findings presented at ICRS 2012 will be fundamental in informing international and national policies and the sustainable use of coral reefs globally.

Media Contacts

Melissa Lyne: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. + 61 0415 514 328

Scott Radway: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. + 1 808 587 7740

Jacqueline Marks: Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. + 1 301 495 9570


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