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15th International Coral Reef Symposium

Bremen, Germany
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The 15th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2022) will be a hybrid online and in-person event in Bremen, Germany, running from 3-8 July 2022.

Registration for the 15th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2022) onsite is now open and abstracts can be submitted. Please note the deadlines for registration and abstracts as they cannot be extended. Deadline for new abstracts: 23 February 2022.


This meeting will include plenary talks, policy events, social events, workshops, and field trips as well as both in-person and virtual talk and poster presentation opportunities.

The 15th International Coral Reef Symposium is the primary international conference on coral reef science, conservation and management, bringing together leading scientists, early career researchers, conservationists, ocean experts, policy makers, manager,s and the public. The symposium will be the key event to develop science-based solutions addressing the present and future challenges of coral reefs, which are globally exposed to unprecedented anthropogenic pressures. The event will present the latest scientific findings and ideas, provide a platform to build the essential bridges between coral reef science, conservation, politics, management and the public, and will promote public and political outreach. 

Session themes

01: Reef environments and climate of the past
02: Species and their populations
03: Ecosystem functions and services
04: Microbial ecology, holobionts and model organisms
05: Cold-water and temperate reefs
06: Unexplored and unexpected reefs
07: Scalable observations and technologies
08: Human relations to reefs
09: Global and local impacts
10: Organismal physiology, adaptation and acclimation
11: Resilience, phase shifts and novel ecosystems
12: Conservation and management
13: Interventions and restoration
14: Outreach and education
15: New theories and future projections

PAGES related sessions

PAGES-related sessions are grouped under "Theme 1: Reef environments and climate of the past"

1A - Open Session: Reef environments and climate of the past
Chairs: Thomas Felis, Georg Heiss, Kristine DeLong, Amanda Godbold
This open session presents all contributions related to Theme 1, which are not covered by the below specialised sessions.

1B - Lessons from the past: how do coral reefs respond to paleo-environmental and oceanographic changes over different spatio-temporal scales?
Chairs: Daniel Harris, Jody Webster, Stephanie Duce, Ana Vila-Concejo

In recent decades the decline in coral cover, recurrent global mass bleaching events and observations of sea level rise suggest that substantial long-term change in coral reef and coastal systems is already occurring. Predictions suggest that changes in climate and oceanographic conditions over the next 100 years will exceed the range observed during the last ≈80 years of scientific coral reef observations. This presents a substantial problem in both predicting and managing the future states of coral reef systems in a warmer world. Periods in the past may offer insights into the future trajectory of coral reef systems as they navigate a world of warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and changes in oceanographic conditions and water quality. Developing our understanding of geological reef development and the physical and environmental processes that have governed this development will provide crucial information regarding reef change over many spatio-temporal scales, from yearly to millennial, and from individual reefs to entire oceans. We seek submissions focused on understanding the environmental and physical processes that govern coral reef development, over multiple spatial and temporal scales, in order to provide some insights into the future of reef systems. Relevant fields of research include, coral reef geology and geomorphology, sea level research, climate change, tropical coastal processes and water quality, coral reef physical processes and numerical modelling.

1C - Look forward to the past: What role does historical data play in the future of coral reefs?
Chairs: Aaron O'Dea, Erin Dillon, Loren McClenachan, John Pandolfi 

To tackle the future of coral reefs it is essential to understand their ecological and environmental histories. Consequently, the use of historical data in coral reef ecology is expanding. Analytical approaches are maturing, compelling sources of data are being uncovered, and historians, paleontologists and archeologists are collaborating more fluidly with marine biologists and conservationists. This multidisciplinary session will explore how paleoecological, historical, and archeological data can reveal mechanisms of natural and human-driven change in coral reef communities to better understand how they function, both today and in the future. Submissions are welcomed on, but not limited to: incorporating spatial and temporal variation into baselines; resolving drivers of change in ecological structure; identifying legacy effects, non-analogue communities and refugia; developing emerging methods (e.g ancient DNA); and improving dialogue with reef managers, conservationists, and policymakers.

1D - PALSEA session -Using coral reefs as paleo sea level recorders: how can we improve paleo-archives using modern ecological data?
Chairs: Andrea Dutton, Alessio Rovere 

Fossil coral reefs are used by geoscientists to gather information on past sea level changes at many different time scales, from few hundred to several thousand years ago. Interdisciplinary collaborations between geoscientists and reef ecologists help to elucidate the paleo environments and the paleo water depths associated with fossil reef systems. This information is then coupled with radiometric dating of corals and geophysical models to understand the history of past sea level, land-based ice volume, and reef response. In this session, we welcome abstracts focusing on the different aspects related to the use of reefs as paleo sea level recorders, including dating and field techniques, particularly relevant sites, models of vertical land movements associated with reefs, rapid sea level changes recorded by reef environments, and reef response to past changes in sea level.

1E - What can corals and marine calcifiers tell us about anthropogenic effects and trajectory of coral reef ecosystems under global change?
Chairs: Henry C. Wu, Delphine Dissard, Jens Zinke, Nathalie F. Goodkin

Our understanding of current and future anthropogenic impacts (e.g. thermal stress and ocean acidification) on corals and coral reef ecosystems is severely limited due to the lack of reliable long-term monitoring and limited geographical coverage. Skeletal records from living and fossil, and tropical or subtropical biogenic carbonates such as surface and deep-sea corals, sclerosponges, bivalves, and foraminifera are key archives of environmental variability over historical time-scales. These records not only extend short instrumental records that started during the industrial era, but also allow for environmental reconstructions at unconstrained locations. Stable isotopes (e.g. δ11B, δ13C, δ15N) and trace elements (e.g. B/Ca, Sr/Ca, Li/Mg, etc.) incorporated into skeletons of calcifying organisms provide an indirect tool to reconstruct variations in seawater and calcification pH, 13C Suess Effect, DIC and carbonate chemistry, thermal stress, sediment and riverine discharge or nutrient loading, light intensity, water mass dynamics, and coral performance in extreme environments. This session aims to present reconstructions that identify the most prevalent stressors on corals and coral reef ecosystems and assess the interaction of multiple stressors on their resilience through time. In particular, we welcome regional to global scale contributions that characterize and precisely quantify recent or historical trends of OA, coral responses to past bleaching events, biologically mediated calcification mechanisms and/or "vital effects", and their sensitivities to environmental changes. Contributors may include coral biologists and physiologists who have concerns about the fidelity and limits of proxies (e.g. calibration, analytical issues, application) or analyzing past bleaching or stress events using geochemical techniques. Ecological modelers working to increase our understanding of the impacts of OA on the calcification of corals and reef community are also encouraged.

1F - When worlds collide: What can be accomplished when ecology and paleoecology are integrated?
Chairs: Amanda Godbold , Anna Weiss, David Bottjer

Corals have been around for millions of years and have survived some of the deadliest events in Earth's history, including the "Big Five" mass extinctions. Their resiliency begs the question, how do these seemingly delicate organisms persist? This session aims to unite paleoecology and modern ecology for the purpose of understanding the extinction, survival, and recovery of corals throughout time. Each discipline offers unique insight into these important topics. The geologic record offers an abundance of time allowing natural experiments in climate and environmental change to be viewed in their entirety. Fossil reefs allow us to explore the evolutionary history of reefs in response to environmental changes as well as extinction selectivity of coral species. The modern has exceptional resolution allowing for detailed analyses. Modern reefs enhance our understanding of ecological phase shifts and the importance of connectivity in the survival of these ecosystems. Combining insights from the past with modern observations provides a powerful perspective that can be used to tackle complex concepts such as the range shifts of corals due to climate change and the development of refugia.

1G - CoralHydro2k Session - Can large-scale ocean and climate reconstructions from corals improve our understanding of past, present, and future extremes?
Chairs: Kristine DeLong, Diane Thompson, Thomas Felis, Hali Kilbourne

The tropical oceans are uniquely positioned to serve as the pulse of climate change and climate variability since they contain warm pools that feed vast amounts of evaporation to the atmosphere driving the climate system. The lack of instrumental observations in the tropical oceans, both spatially and temporally, is a major hindrance to understanding climate variability and resolving climate model biases in the tropics. Long-lived massive corals contain records of past ocean conditions in their skeletons that can be used to understand climate variability in the recent past and in other warm periods, such as the Last Interglacial (125 ka) and Mid-Holocene (5-6 ka). One of the largest sources of climate variability is El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) that occurs in the Tropical Pacific Ocean and impacts far flung regions. El Niño events during past 30 years have also driven higher reef temperatures leading to coral bleaching for large number of coral reefs. The Inter-American Seas (Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea) is another prominent HotSpot for future climate change impacts including more intense tropical cyclones and droughts. Therefore, it is of foremost importance to expand our observational record, using corals as climate archives, to understand climate variability and extreme events so we can better predict future impacts of climate extremes on coral reefs. There is a strong need for a more comprehensive, end-to-end approach for climate assessments at a basin scale including better integration of paleoclimatic evidence, atmospheric and oceanic observations, physical understanding, model evaluation, and future projections. This session seeks contributions to increase our understanding of tropical climate variability in the past, present, and future using observations, coral and other marine paleoclimate proxies, and model simulations.

Abstract submissions

For the 15th ICRS, 3-8 July 2022 in Bremen, Germany, we invite submission of new abstracts in order to include very fresh research in the scientific program. This is an addition to the already evaluated abstracts that keep their status, but can be updated after registration.

Abstract submission will start in January 2022.
So, best already start preparing your new abstract since you need to submit it by February 23, 2022. There will be no deadline extension!

We have to be very strict with this deadline, because your abstract needs to be rapidly evaluated afterwards in order to combine new and previous evaluations that together are the basis of the scientific program of the 15th ICRS 2022.

To submit your abstract, you only pay an abstract processing fee, but not the full registration fees. You will get the evaluation result of your abstract by March 24, so that you can afterwards register by April 7, 2022 the latest.

More information about new abstract submissions for the 15th ICRS, remote virtual participation opportunities, and registration procedures are available here:

Please note: 

All previously accepted abstracts will keep their status as oral or poster presentation, but can be updated at the beginning of 2022 during re-submission. 

We have to link registration with abstract (re-) submission. That means that you need to register before you (re-) submit your abstract.

At the point of registration, you decide whether you participate in-person in Bremen or remotely via the virtual conference platform.

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Further detailed information about what is included in each type of registration and the registration fees will be announced when registration opens. The fees for in-person and virtual attendance will be similar to what we already had announced for the planned 2020 in-person event and the completed 14th ICRS 2021 Virtual, respectively. Active participants of the 14th ICRS 2021 will be offered a discount in the registration fees for the 15th ICRS 2022.

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Important dates

Registration will be opened by mid January 2022.

Deadlines (no extensions possible):

23 February: all in-person and virtual participants submitting new abstracts that need to be evaluated
16 March: all in-person and virtual participants that re-submit abstracts that have already been evaluated
24 March: announcement of the evaluation results
7 April: end of registration for all in-person and virtual participants that submitted new abstracts
15 June: end of registration for all non-presenting in-person and virtual participants

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