Non-Student Talk Winners:
"Reefs in a Time of Change"
The 87th Annual ACRS Conference was held from 28th to 30th August in Sydney at the Menzies Hotel and was the first to be run in conjunction with the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS). Over the three day conference, delegates participated in a number of social activities, including the welcome function at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and the conference dinner at the Star Room. Delegates also had the opportunity to showcase their own research across a series of thematic sessions. In total, there were 112 oral presentations spread over two days in three concurrent sessions, and 20 posters presentations.
Delegates also heard from four keynote speakers:
Prof David Booth – ACRS Vice President and Director of the Centre for Environmental Sustainability, UTS
Prof Peter Ralph – Executive Director of The Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster, UTS
Dr Andrew Baird – ARC Future Fellow, JCU
Dr David Wachenfeld – Director, Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Use, GBRMPA
A number of workshops were run for delegates including the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies National Student Mentoring Day, and the coral identification workshop. An excursion was also run to the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) where delegates were given a short presentation and tour of the research facilities, including laboratories, aquaria and teaching spaces.
Vicki Harriott Award
Sediments suppress the functional roles of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs
Bench fees awarded
A novel analysis of functional niche overlap applied to a herbivorous coral reef fish community
Effects of fishing and environment on protogynous sex change dynamics at multiple scales
Plastic lateralization in parasitised coral reef fish
Dominique G Roche
Physiological responses to thermal stress of free-living Symbiodinium cultured in reef sediment
Predicting changes to Australia’s scleractinian coral ranges using traits
Parental effects improve escape performance of juvenile reef fish in a high CO2 world
Hybridization in coral symbionts
Dynamics of fish-coral associations across latitudes from the Southern Great Barrier Reef to Sydney
Finding the best estimates of metabolic rates in a coral reef fish
Tropicalisation of temperate marine ecosystems: Herbivore-mediated phase-shifts from kelp to coral?
Mechanical vulnerability explains size-dependent mortality of reef coral growth forms
Cumulative impacts, risks and informed decision-making on the Great Barrier Reef
A Public Forum on Port Developments on the Great Barrier Reef was held from on the evening of Thursday 29th August in the Sydney Room at The Menzies Hotel. The panel discussed the ramifications of the proposed developments for the region from a number of perspectives. The panel included:
Dr Jamie Oliver – Australian Institute for Marine Science
Jon Brodie – James Cook University
Dr Michael Gardner – Queensland Seafood Industry Association
Larissa Waters – Queensland Senator and Greens spokesperson for the GBR
Tom Coughlin – Fitzroy Basin Association
Felicity Wishart – Fight for the Reef Campaign
The public forum discussion can be viewed here:
The 86th Annual ACRS Conference, held 26-29 August on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort, was a smashing success. There were several highlights to the conference: the wonderful plenary talks by Katherina Fabricius, Terry Hughes, Hugh Possingham, and Morgan Pratchett; the ARC Centre of Excellence student mentoring day; the Coral Finder workshop; and the Public Forum on Saturday night with a mix of scientists, managers, and industry leaders discussing how best to spend $100 M to improve reef resilience. Answers ranged from don’t spend any of it, to spending the funds on education and outreach, to industry support to community engagement, and more. The conference banquet was also fun, with a live band, the presentation of student prizes, and the auction of the inaugural perpetual ACRS membership. Through our annual conference, ACRS continues to expand its influence on the science and management of coral reefs and its support for the next generation of coral reef scientists.
Oral presentation prizes:
Fantasea Foundation field excursions: Melanie Trapon
Vicky Harriott prize: Rebecca Lawton
Quicksilver Cruises Outer Barrier Reef trip: Yui Sato
Research Station bench space - Heron Island: Andrew Chin
Research Station bench space - Lizard Island: Tom Hawkins
Research Station bench space - Orpheus Island: Stefanie Pontasch
Research Station bench space - One Tree Island: Joanne Bayes
CSIRO GBR Book: Nicola Browne
Coral Finder kit: Alyssa Marshell
Qld Museum - Moreton Bay Wild: Andrew Olds
Fantasea book donation: Tom Bridge
Fantasea book donation: Ai Nguyen
The 85th Annual ACRS conference was held this year for the first time at Coffs Harbour. It once again brought together Australia’s coral reef community to exchange ideas and the latest research findings and to encourage and reward postgraduate students in their endeavours. Hosted by Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre, the conference involved more than 130 leading national and international coral reef researchers.
Friday evening saw the conference officially opened by Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee as the National Marine Science Centre showcased their excellent research and educational facilities.
Coral bleaching, the impact of warming waters on coral reefs, marine debris and the management of marine parks were just some of the topics covered as the conference continued on Saturday and Sunday at the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort. The next generation of reef scientists, represented by our students provided some engaging presentations, alongside veteran researchers and keynote speakers.
Speakers at the conference included:
• Professor Peter Mumby, The University of Queensland
• Dr Mark Meekan, Australian Institute of Marine Science, WA
• Dr Alan Jordan, NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water
• Dr Maoz Fine, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
• Professor Maria Byrne, University of Sydney
• Dr David Wachenfeld, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Coral identification and sub-tropical reefs workshops were on offer to attendees in addition to the annual student mentoring day hosted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.
Huge thanks goes to local conference organiser Anna Scott, and again to Selina Ward for another brilliantly organised event. Other special mentions here include Uli Siebeck, Zena Dinesen, Naomi Gardiner, Emily Howells, Andy Hoey, Ross Hill, Chris Goatley, Rebecca Lawton, and Brigitte Sommer. Thanks also to our speakers and all who came and contributed their expertise and enthusiasm to a most memorable event. Congratulations to all students who won prizes. Thank you especially to event sponsors The SCU Marine Ecology Research Centre (MERC), GBRMPA, SCU, and UQ. Thanks also to the National Marine Science Centre for hosting the event, SCU Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee for opening the conference and Mark Flanders for his warm ‘Welcome to Country’.
Sundowners, the live band and the awards presentation were highlights of the closing dinner at the Park Beach Surf Club which was a time to celebrate those few great days of collaboration and fun.
Subtropical reef workshop
The local residents of the Solitary Islands Marine Park put on a show for conference goers who enjoyed the excitement of shark encounters with scuba diving company Dive Quest and a perfect day of whale watching aboard the Spirit of Coffs Harbour guided by Dr. Daniel Burns.
For the 2010 Conference, ACRS awarded travel awards to assist students with their fares to the national conference. While many of these students were from James Cook University, travel awards were also given to students from UTS in Sydney and the University of Queensland. This time applications were also open to New Zealand students, and travel assistance was provided to two students from the Victoria University of Wellington. ACRS is really pleased to able to support so many students to travel to the annual conference and present their research. The society awarded travel grants between $250 and $770 to 27 students.
The annual ACRS scientific conference always provides a great opportunity for postgraduate students to showcase their research, and this year in Coffs Harbour there were, again, many high quality student presentations.
A panel of judges assessed the presentations according to an agreed set of criteria, with at least two judges allocated per student paper. The panel consisted of Zena Dinesen, John Pandolfi, Peter Mumby, Ross Hill, and Dave Wachenfeld. (Please note this year there were very few posters entered by student members, and no awards were given in this category.)
The most prestigious student award is the Vicki Harriott Memorial Student Prize, established by the ACRS Council in 2005 in memory of the late Vicki Harriott, in recognition of Vicki’s great contributions to coral reef research and marine science education. The Vicki Harriott Prize for 2010 (a cheque for $500.00) for the best student presentation was awarded to Sebastian Schmidt-Roach of AIMS/University of Tasmania, for his paper (Schmidt-Roach et al.) entitled ‘Challenging morphological plasticity in a keystone coral species’. This was a very interesting paper on phenotypic plasticity and genetics of Pocillopora damicornis that challenges, inter alia, some of the established taxonomic ideas about the range of growth forms encompassed within this species. Congratulations to Sebastian!
Vicki Harriott Memorial Prize
Second major prize
The second major prize, a trip for two people on a Quicksilver outer barrier reef cruise, was awarded to Rebecca Lawton, of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, at James Cook University, for her presentation of ‘High population connectivity across large geographic scales in two widespread coral reef butterflyfishes’. Well done, Rebecca.
There were also four prizes involving 4-7 days’ bench fees at the various Great Barrier Reef research stations. These were awarded to Jessica Stella of JCU (Lizard Island RS); Andrew Olds of Griffith University, Gold Coast (Orpheus Island RS); Hugo Harrison of JCU (One Tree Island RS); and Adrian Lutz of JCU (Heron Island RS).
A copy of the book ‘The Great Barrier Reef – Biology, Environment and Management’ edited by Pat Hutchings, Mike Kingsford and Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and published by the CSIRO, was presented to Deborah Cleland of the Australian National University for her presentation on SimReef and ReefGame, tools to support integrated reef research and management. Our congratulations to these prize winners, and thanks to all the students for their excellent and interesting presentations. The ACRS Council is very grateful to Quicksilver, the Research Stations and CSIRO for generously donating these prizes. Thanks also to Pat Hutchings and Selina Ward for liaising with these institutions and helping to arrange for the donations of prizes.
2009 - Darwin
2007 - Fremantle
2006 - Mission Beach
2005 - Heron Island
2003 - Townsville