Workshop Program

The ICRS 2022 program will include a series of specialised workshops covering a wide range of topics and disciplines. 

Please find their descriptions below.

Mentoring Events

At this year's ICRS we will also have two mentoring events during the lunch breaks on Wednesday and Thursday, July 6th and 7th. The goal of these events is to give participating students a chance to meet experienced scientists and ask questions, exchange thoughts, opinions, and experiences.

If you want to participate in either or both events please register using the link(s) below:

1. Mentoring event during the lunch break on Wednesday, July 6th

2. Mentoring event during the lunch break on Thursday, July 7th

Scientific Program Workshops (3 - 8 July 2022)

WS1 - How important are oceanic fisheries for a) coastal marine resource use and management, and b) food security of island populations?

Annette Breckwoldt 1, Elodie Fache2
1 Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (Bremen, Germany)
2 Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) (Montpellier, France)

Date: Monday, July 4th
Time: 14.50 – 18.15
Room: Salon Roselius

This workshop aims to highlight and critically discuss (1) the socio-cultural, socio-economic, ecological, policy and geopolitical connections between coastal and oceanic fisheries and fisheries management frameworks and (2) the existing and emerging strategies and measures designed to make oceanic fisheries contribute more significantly to both national and local sustainable marine resource use and food security efforts. The workshop will have two parallel groups discussing each of these topics in a 'World Café', followed by a short summary of the discussion highlights and a final open discussion round. The workshop's background is the research conducted in the frame of the Franco-German project "A Sea of Connections: Contextualizing Fisheries in the South Pacific Region" (SOCPacific, 2018-2021,, led by a team from IRD and ZMT. Despite this project's focus on the South Pacific, the panel will also welcome insights based on research conducted in other regions of the world, to generate fruitful comparative discussions and collaborations. The initial discussion spark will follow up from a panel at the MARE's 'People and the Sea' Conference in June 2019, where the first outcomes of SOCPacific will be presented. Hence, we expect the workshop to focus on inter- and transdisciplinary insights into various scales and dimensions of the two above-mentioned themes, for example on: - the local perceptions and practices in the face of global changes and drivers; - the (sometimes conflicting) values attributed to coastal and oceanic fisheries by different stakeholders and societal actors; - the tensions between fishing and conservation interests, in particular within marine protected and managed areas; and/or - the meaningful methodological approaches to generate and analyze locally, policy, and scientifically relevant inter/transdisciplinary data. The output of the workshop will be a joint publication with interested delegates, with a cross-regional focus.

WS2 - How do we best design, validate, and monitor test-beds for radical reef intervention?

Diane Thompson 1, Craig Humphrey2, Julia Cole3, Ty Roach1Raquel Peixoto4
1 Biosphere 2, University of Arizona (Oracle, AZ, USA)
2 Australian Institute of Marine Science (Cape Cleveland, Australia)
3 University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI, USA)
4 Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Date: Monday, July 4th
Time: 14.50 – 17.00
Room: Salon Bergen

Decades of coral reef research have improved our understanding of the building blocks of reef resilience - the critical processes and mechanisms; however, the coral reef community now recognizes the urgent need to apply this knowledge and move from processes to solutions. Innovative initiatives have yielded major advances in techniques for reef restoration and increasing resilience through interventions such as stress hardening, probiotic treatment, phage therapy, and assisted evolution. These approaches offer great potential for (re)building resilient reefs that can better withstand warming and acidification. We identify a growing need to test these solutions in controlled environments before they are applied in the wild. Mesocosms provide a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between observational and experimental studies to test these novel (even risky) solutions at reef scales. They mimic natural reefs while offering precise control of environmental conditions and an ability to simulate future climate variability and change. Such control facilitates research on the resistance and resilience of restored genotypes to future stress, and on the persistence of engineered resistance. By capturing many intrinsic processes, mesocosms allow these solutions to be "scaled up" to test novel interactions across levels of complexity, species, functional groups, and trophic levels. Given their potential impact on reef management and restoration, such experiments must be thoughtfully designed, validated, and monitored to address potential limitations and increase the applicability of the findings to natural reefs. Despite challenges, mesocosm experiments from the Biosphere 2 (University of Arizona) and SeaSim (Australian Institute of Marine Science) have contributed to significant advances in our understanding of reef resilience under climate change. This workshop will bring together international reef scientists interested in leveraging these and similar facilities to discuss lessons learned and identify the opportunities and challenges for the next generation of mesocosm experiments to test radical reef solutions.

WS3 - How can we develop new tools and best practices to accurately delimit Symbiodiniaceae diversity in reef research?

John Parkinson 1, Adrienne Correa 2, Sarah Davies 3
1 University of South Florida (Tampa, FL, USA)
2 Rice University (Houston, TX, USA)
3 Boston University (Boston, MA, USA)

Date: Tuesday, July 5th
Time: 9.50 – 12.30
Room: Salon Roselius

Reef-building corals thrive thanks to nutritional mutualisms with symbiodiniaceaen micro-algae, and functional traits that vary across these endosymbionts can mediate coral survival during stress. As such, our understanding of how corals might respond to further climate change relies on the accurate resolution of diversity among Symbiodiniaceae at three levels: species, populations, and communities. However, the various methods for generating and interpreting Symbiodiniaceae molecular data have been debated for over a decade, arguably slowing progress and cooling entry into the field by newcomers. To push the field forward, over 70 researchers met virtually in the Summer of 2021 to: 1) take stock of the various analytical approaches and data interpretations that already have broad support among Symbiodiniaceae experts; 2) discuss differences of opinion regarding the generation and interpretation of Symbiodiniaceae molecular data; and 3) articulate outstanding questions to help guide current and future research efforts. To follow up on this endeavor, our 3-hour 2022 ICRS workshop will provide a forum to discuss research directions that could help build further consensus. The agenda will heavily emphasize opportunities for networking with potential collaborators, brainstorming funding proposals, and sharing novel tools. We particularly encourage participation from students, restoration practitioners, and anyone who may not have been able to attend the first event, as we hope for a diversity of experiences to be represented.

WS4 - Coral disease forecasting for the Pacific Ocean: demonstrating a new tool from NOAA Coral Reef Watch

Megan J. Donahue 1, Jamie M. Caldwell2, Scott Heron 3, Austin Greene1, Erick F. Geiger 4, 5, Gang Liu 4, 5, Jacqueline De La Cour 4, 5, C. Mark Eakin6, Derek Manzello 5
1 Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA
2 High Meadows Environmental Institute, Princeton University
3 James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
4 University of Maryland, USA
5 NOAA Coral Reef Watch, USA
6 Corals & Climate, Silver Spring MD

Date: Tuesday, July 5th
Time: 11.00 – 12.30
Room: Salon Bergen

This workshop will introduce a new experimental product for forecasting coral diseases in the Pacific region, developed by the University of Hawaii at Manoa and NOAA Coral Reef Watch, with contributions from James Cook University, University of Newcastle, and University of New South Wales. The interactive tool allows users to explore near-term to seasonal forecasts and scenarios at multiple spatial scales for growth anomalies and white syndromes, two widespread coral diseases in the Pacific Ocean. In this demonstration, we will provide an overview of the models underlying the tool, explain how model uncertainty is generated and visualized, and provide examples of how the tool can be used to provide coral disease risk forecasts, monitor environmental stresses related to coral health, and assess management interventions.

WS5 - Get your story heard! Using art to communicate coral reef science and conservation.

Scott Heron
James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)

Date: Tuesday, July 5th
Time: 16.15 – 18.15
Room: Salon Bergen

Communicating effectively and in a captivating way is one of the biggest challenges for science and management to engage the mainstream population. Breaking through via novel and innovative means and media is required to reach new audiences and go beyond traditional methods of scientific reporting. Artists, like scientists are important storytellers that help people to see in new ways and activate the attention of the general populace. The use of creative arts (e.g., performance, visual, multimedia) can create a new space for dialogue and understanding to provide new opportunities to educate and raise awareness across a broader community of stakeholders. Here we will share stories of how we, as reef scientists, managers and artists, creatively communicate our stories – what has worked, what could work better, strategies for engaging target audiences, and garnering the support (including funding) to enable these activities. Through examples and hands-on activities, we’ll consider best practices for a variety of creative outlets, such as cinematography, composition, choreography, graphic design, photography, music, fibre arts, painting and graphic arts. One opportunity for collaborations between artists and scientists is with the Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel Falkor – the Artist-at-Sea program provides berths for artists to work side-by-side with the scientists, immersing themselves in the research. Partnering of professional artists and creative communications experts is one way that scientists and managers can disseminate messages through innovative ways and can transform the work perspectives of both groups.

WS8 - How do you accelerate coral reef science and conservation through better data management workflows?

Brian Beck, Sarah Hile, Sarah O'Connor, Rebecca Wenker
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (Silver Spring, MD, USA)

Date: Wednesday, July 6th
Time: 14.50 – 18.15
Room: Salon Roselius

Advances in data collection technology and increased utilization of existing data is outpacing our capacity to manage, process, and report on coral reef data. Vast amounts of data are stored in offline databases, spreadsheets, and other disconnected systems. This slows down collaborative processes that seek to share data across projects and geographies, limiting our understanding of the trends and statuses of coral reefs globally. Data management is not always the most exciting part of any project, and has subsequently lacked appropriate investment, but if we can develop improved practices, then the potential for data to be used to influence better management decisions grows exponentially. This workshop aims to provide guidance on managing data throughout its lifecycle, from field collection to long term archiving, to ensure its usefulness. This will be done in a targeted approach appropriate to the audience's level of experience and resources available, highlighting a range of planning practices, tools, data sharing options and archival platforms. Along with brief presentations on data management tools and strategies, breakout groups based on experience, interests, and levels of capacity will discuss the challenges with data management planning, documentation, and integrating legacy data that are unique to their situations. The strategy of this workshop is to approach data management from a variety of perspectives, appealing to a broad audience from resource managers to scientists. The workshop will address strategies for implementing best practices for projects with varying levels of resources, funding, and different ultimate goals. It will also provide data management guidance for various stages in the process from field collection, to backups, to ensuring preservation and access. The overall goal of the workshop is to increase the attendee's knowledge of data management workflows, available tools and how to manage their data with the resources available to them.

WS9 - What alterations, new roles and perspectives can we foresee for Octocorals under climate change conditions?

Götz B. Reinicke 1, Lorenzo Bramanti2, Federica Costantini3, Iris Sampaio4
1 German Oceanographic Museum (Stralsund, Germany)
2 CNRS-Sorbonne Université (Banyuls sur mer, France)
3 University of Bologna (Ravenna, Italy)
4 Tel Aviv University (Tel Aviv, Israel)

Date: Wednesday, July 6th
Time: 14.50 – 18.15
Room: Salon Bergen

Octocorals (Cnidaria, Anthozoa) can be prominent elements of benthic coral reef communities, often significantly competing with scleractinian corals, thus influencing reef development. Recent observations indicate that benthic faunas react to changes in various environmental conditions, like shifts in community structures and composition. Further to tropical reefs, also cold-water and deep-sea habitats carry diverse octocoral fauna in temperate and cold ocean regions. The complicated taxonomy of octocorals is under intense study with ongoing progress from the interaction of morphological and molecular analysis; however, it often complicates research consideration of diverse octocoral populations – which requires active exchange and cooperation of the specialists with the coral reef researching networks. Moreover, aspects of the octocorals functional ecology needs more context observations. While reef-building corals are on the retreat, octocoral dominated reefs could be an alternative, but the mechanisms underlying this possible shift are still unknown.
In particular, the following questions should be addressed:
1) Are octocorals more resilient due to faster demography?
2) Are octocorals more resistant to bleaching and ocean acidification?
The workshop intends to provide an active forum for octocoral researchers and interested scholars in the conference, who handle subjects of taxonomy, phylogenetics, physiology, biology and ecology. The format further includes targeted discussions on the effects of climate change on octocorals both in temperate and tropical habitats. The workshop will identify gaps where future research should focus to conserve and manage vulnerable species and the ecosystem services. Further, the workshop will explore options for a platform to strengthen the link of ongoing field observations with taxonomic expertise. The intended final product would be a review on the response of octocorals to climate change related disturbances.

WS10 - Student and Early Career Chapter networking and skill share

Meet and Greet with the ICRS Student and Early Career Chapter

Date: Thursday, July 7th
Time: 11.00 – 12.30
Room: Salon Roselius

This event will be a collaborative and welcoming space for students and early career researchers to meet with peers in an informal setting. Through icebreakers and coral reef themed games, the SECC event / workshop will facilitate networking and discussion between researchers who might otherwise not have the chance to meet. We will have an open discussion about equity, diversity and inclusion in coral reef science, and participants can share suggestions and comments in person or anonymously through our virtual questionnaire. The results of this workshop will be written up and incorporated into our Chapter aims and plans.

The event is open to all, and will have a hybrid format with in-person and virtual activities running simultaneously. We particularly encourage sign up from early career researchers.

Come along to meet the ICRS Student and Early Career cohort of ICRS and learn about the activities of the Student and Early Career Chapter!

To join the virtual workshop/networking, please click here:

WS11 - The Allen Coral Atlas: How can global mapping of coral reefs enhance monitoring, management, and policy?

Brianna Bambic1, Andrea Rivera-Sosa2, Helen Fox2
1 National Geographic Society (NGS)
2 Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)

Date: Thursday, July 7th
Time: 11.00 – 12.30
Room: Salon Bergen

Coral reef managers and decision makers at multiple scales need information, in near real time, to react to the increasing threats facing reefs. However, more than three quarters of the world’s coral reefs have never been mapped and lack monitoring. To address this knowledge gap and to support, inform, and inspire critical actions to manage and protect coral reefs, the Allen Coral Atlas combines high resolution satellite imagery, machine learning, and field data to produce globally consistent benthic and geomorphic maps of the world's coral reefs. By providing timely maps and monitoring technology, the initiative’s goal is to help stakeholders ranging from local communities to regional and national governments reach their conservation targets and improve management and monitoring of coral reefs. The multi-disciplinary partnership includes Vulcan Inc., in collaboration with Planet, University of Queensland, Arizona State University, the Nature Conservancy, and the National Geographic Society. Baseline maps have multiple uses, including: site selection of marine protected areas, planning of restoration activities, sustainable coastal development, and reef fisheries management. In this workshop, we aim to reach a diverse audience to demonstrate how the Allen Coral Atlas can support data-driven management, conservation, and restoration for coral reefs at local, national, regional, and global scales. We have developed online courses to facilitate increased use and impact of the Atlas, and are collaborating with networks of individuals and institutions who can be alerted when changes are detected (e.g., large-scale bleaching or sedimentation events; these change detection components of the Atlas are in development). These information products aim to feed into global monitoring of coral status (e.g., GCRMN) and policy targets (e.g., CBD), supporting efforts to preserve and protect vulnerable reefs.

WS12 - Coral reef conservation with climate change: Introducing HighResCoralStress, a new 1 km resolution thermal stress dataset

Adele Dixon1, Maria Beger 1
University of Leeds (UK)

Date: Thursday, July 7th
Time: 14.50 – 17.00
Room: Salon Bergen

Climate datasets are necessary in marine spatial planning to design conservation strategies that safeguard coral reefs in a changing climate—we need to consider past and future environmental conditions in decision making. Rising ocean temperatures and increasing frequency of thermal stress events that lead to coral bleaching and mortality threaten coral reefs globally, no matter how remote or well protected. Reef management must therefore consider climate data alongside biodiversity, ecological and socioeconomic information.

This workshop introduces a new dataset for coral reef conservation; HighResCoralStress is a high resolution (1 km) thermal stress dataset for the global coral reef area. We used the highest resolution remote sensing data available to increase the resolution of the latest climate model projections of sea surface temperature (SST) and calculated thermal stress on coral reefs in the past and future climates. First published in PLOS Climate in February 2022, the full daily SST dataset and a range of thermal stress metrics are now available to download through an interactive data portal. HighResCoralStress has applications in climate vulnerability assessments, ecological modelling, spatial planning and conservation decision making.

In this workshop, we will introduce the dataset and its use in conservation planning. We will also demonstrate how to use the data portal to visualise and download thermal stress data. The metrics available include the probability of degree heating weeks > 4 and 8°C-weeks, seasonal and inter-annual SST variability and the trend in annual SST. These metrics are available for past and future time periods as well as future global warming scenarios. The session is interactive, where users will have the opportunity to explore the data portal and use the datasets to answer research questions.

Finally, we will show how HighResCoralStress compares to other available similar climate datasets in a conservation decision context and give an example of how the dataset has been used in tropicalisation research in Japan.

If possible, we would like to ask all participants of this workshop to bring their own laptop.

WS13 - Which characteristics define coral reefs in the Anthropocene?

Jens Zinke1, Nicolas Duprey2, Reinhold Leinfelder3, Georg A. Heiss3
1 University of Leicester (Leicester, UK)
2 Max Planck Institute for Chemistry (Mainz, Germany)
3 Freie Universität Berlin (Berlin, Germany)

Date: Wednesday, July 6th
Time: 10.00 – 13.00
Room: Salon Bergen

Goal: The goal of the workshop is to brainstorm about ideas for a joint review article about what can be learned from the geological record about the future of coral reefs given current trajectories agreed at COP26 by 2100 and beyond. It could be a warning shot for humanity that coral reefs may become functionally extinct in the coming century. While there have been regional attempts to use the geological reef record to infer future reef trajectories, here we aim for a near global analysis, or a region-by-region analysis. For a review paper, we could select those regions where we have identified best suited fossil analogues. 

There are several papers already published on predicted habitat changes for coral reefs under RCP8.5, frequency of bleaching, changes in coral assemblages, migration of species under warming, calcification potential to keep up with sea level rise etc. But from a geological perspective, we could add novel perspectives around the fossil record to be expected should warming exceed 2°C or even overshoot it. Learning from past reef demises to warming and acidification must rely on a proper identification of past reef locations with excellent preservation of reef communities, presence of extant species or equivalent traits to facilitate optimal comparison to present and near future conditions. Certainly, we also have to define what a good fossil analogue would be for the present reef crisis.

The workshop would discuss a number of ideas and questions (see below) and define datasets and methodologies to be used for analysis. We like to invite experts in coral reef hydrodynamics, sea-level change, reef morphology, reef complexity and rugosity, reef biotic assemblages, climate change impacts on coral reefs (warming, acidification), climate model studies including seawater chemistry, coral reef evolution, island evolution and coral reef modelling. We also encourage highly skilled statisticians to join the discussion in order to identify the most suitable methodologies for data analysis and interpretation, especially from the sparse fossil reef network. We encourage on site or online participation of the workshop by a diversity of coral reef geologists and biologists from all continents and gender interested in unravelling the consequences of anthropogenic climate change on future coral reef evolution.

Questions to address may include: What changes in climate and ocean chemistry have and will influence coral reefs systems in the major reef provinces and what sets certain regions apart? Can we use CMIP6 climate model simulations to map changes in SST, salinity and seawater carbonate chemistry to infer the likely future state of corals in each reef province? Can coral multi-proxy records from well preserved fossil corals shed new light on changing relationships between SST, ocean acidification and eutrophication in present-day corals? Can we diversify that portfolio of proxy archives to capture varying species responses? What is the likely impact from sea level rise on flooding of coastal areas and subsequent discharge of sediments and contaminants in the coastal zone? Would sea level rise lead to the demise of fringing coral reefs under enhanced sedimentation stress as observed during the last deglaciation? What can we learn from turbid reef systems that existed in the past and are dominant in certain present reefs? Which reef provinces would be most affected by the latter? We could use examples from the deglaciation where sea level rise has led to a lag between reef initiation and catch up after rapid flooding. Yet, that deglacial flooding occurred over centuries while current rates are much faster. Would atavistic reefs (such as mesotrophic, mesophotic and heat-tolerant reefs) dominate future reef assemblages and their function? Are there analogues for atavistic reefs from ancient reefs? What will happen to atolls once drowned and depopulated from humans, for instance the Pacific island nations under severe stress from sea level rise? Will certain coral species become extinct at 2°C warming or will evolutionary adaptation succeed in particular species with certain traits? Which corals might dominate surviving reefs? Is there evidence of latitudinal variation in coral calcification rates or extent and how will that change under future climate scenarios? Are tropical corals more porous and vulnerable to acidification? Can new technologies in CT scanning or microstructural work paired with machine learning shed new light on coral growth trajectories under stress? 

WS15 - The Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform (CORDAP)

Prof Carlos Duarte, CORDAP Executive Director

Date: Tuesday, July 5th
Time: 12.05 – 12.45
Room: Borgward Saal

CORDAP’s Executive Director, Prof Carlos Duarte, will give an introduction to CORDAP, a G20 initiative and the only international organization fully dedicated to funding global research and development for coral restoration and conservation. The presentation will outline CORDAP’s recently launched inaugural strategic plan, which sets the direction and activities of the organization for the next three years. The talk will also cover CORDAP’s first upcoming coral R&D funding program, followed by a question and answer session.