Coral Reefs in the 21st Century, Townsville

Introduction  |   Symposium Program   |    Presenters   |   Public Forum

The need for coral reef research has never been greater. Here in Australia, the World Heritage Status of the Great Barrier Reef is under review by UNESCO, and there is a very real risk that this iconic reef system could be listed soon as “in danger”. Globally, more than 200 million people depend on the ecosystem services that coral reefs provide for their livelihoods and food security. In Australia, the Great Barrier Reef alone generates $6 billion per annum in income from tourism and fisheries. Consequently, the challenges associated with sustainable use of the world’s coral reefs provide a stark example of the need to build bridges between the natural and social sciences, to strengthen capacity and communication, and to inform and support actions for changes in reef governance and management in order to enhance human wellbeing.

Who should attend

Two events are scheduled:

  • A 2-day symposium on Thursday 10th and Friday 11th October 2013 with over 30 presentations by leading scientists, managers and policy makers. The symposium is aimed at a general audience of scientists in related fields, natural resource managers, conservationists, and policy makers. The symposium will be held at the Rydges Southbank, Townsville.
  • A public forum also being held at Rydges Southbank, at 5.30pm for a 6.00pm start, Thursday 10 October 2013. Hosted by Paul McDermott, this event is for everyone: the general public, teachers and school children (older than about 10) as well as scientists, resource managers and policy-makers.


Our objectives are to:

  • present the latest science which supports the sustainable management of coral reefs, in Australia, our region and globally
  • focus on the research, management and policy developments for coral reefs
  • present research on understanding the effects of the changing environment on marine ecosystems.


Key issues will include:

  • coral reef ecosystem dynamics
  • environmental change and adaptation
  • coral reef connectivity and dispersal
  • planning governance and management of the world’s coral reefs


The symposium will feature presentations from leading coral reef scientists and policy makers including:

  • Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, FAA, Australian Laureate Fellow
  • Professor Terry Hughes FAA, Australian Laureate Fellow
  • Professor Geoff Jones
  • Professor Malcolm McCulloch FAA, FRS, Australian Laureate Fellow
  • Professor Bob Pressey, FAA


register here2


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