About the ICRS 2020

"The ICRS 2020 is so important because we are in a deep coral reef crisis, probably the deepest coral reef crisis in Earth's history. We are experiencing a rapid change. This makes the dialogue between scientists, the public and decision-makers all the more important. The World Coral Reef Conference is the largest platform for this dialogue and in addition this ICRS 2020 will be the first World Coral Reef Conference to take place in Europe. It is time for Europe to take responsibility for contributing to the damage and degradation of coral reefs through greenhouse gas emissions. Especially as Europe benefits from the services that coral reefs offer us all. For example, through high biodiversity, which is important for the production of new medicines and other industrial products".

Prof. Dr. Christian Wild, Conference Chairman ICRS 2020, University of Bremen

 

"These symposia are by far the most important world conferences dealing with the ecosystems of coral reefs. They have a 50-year history. The first international coral reef symposium took place in 1967. Like the Olympic Games, they take place every four years and are awarded by the International Coral Reef Society. We expect 2500 to 3000 participants from more than 90 countries. Most of them are scientists, but also representatives of institutions, coastal managers, journalists and political decision-makers".

Prof. Dr. Christian Wild, Conference Chairman ICRS 2020, University of Bremen

 

"The ICRS 2020 in Bremen is the opportunity to bring together international research and internationally renowned scientists on the subject of coral reefs to exchange ideas and experiences."

Gertraud Schmidt-Grieb, Ph, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholz Center for Polar and Marine Research

 

"The coral reef conference 2020 in Germany is so important because for the German population it is about a topic that is not so common in their everyday lives. I think that this conference will generate interest and attention for the coral reefs, especially among young people who can learn, who can experience what happens to the coral reefs in front of our eyes."

Dr. Götz B. Reinicke, Curator of Marine Ecology - Coelenterata, Molluscs and Echinoderms, German Marine Museum Stralsund

 

"The importance of the reef conference is that every few years it gives us scientists the opportunity to interact with society. For us scientists, who are charged by society to do research and are paid for it, it is important to communicate our results and not to remain among ourselves. Such a meeting every few years is of course an ideal opportunity to exchange ideas, but also to present the latest research of the society and to discuss with the public. "

Dr. Sebastian Ferse, Reef Ecologist and Executive Director of Future Earth Coasts

 

"We have the big goal of trying at all levels to offset the carbon dioxide emissions that will inevitably result from the event.  We are trying to realize a concept that reduces CO2 emissions from the conference. One possibility is for example dishes made from locally produced food, avoiding ingredients such as beef, which release a lot of CO2. Co2 emissions, which we cannot avoid, we would like to compensate by renaturating wetlands with the help of the Bremen Climate Fund and regional partners such as Energy Consensus. In addition, we would also like to offset the emissions caused by the participants' travels and are working with eco-energy providers to this end."

Prof. Dr. Christian Wild, Conference Chairman ICRS 2020, University of Bremen

 

The importance of coral reefs

"The coastal management of 109 countries is made of coral."

Prof. Dr. Helmut Schuhmacher, former Director of the Institute for Ecology, University of Essen

 

"Intact stone corals reduce 97% of wave energy and 84% of wave height. This is a critical ecosystem service that disappears when corals are destroyed or die... There are new calculations that suggest that intact reefs can reduce storm surge damage by over 50%."

Dr. Sebastian Ferse, Reef Ecologist and Executive Director of Future Earth Coasts

 

"There are currently 13 approved drugs with active ingredients from reefs. The rainforest is sometimes portrayed as nature's pharmacy, but the active ingredients from the sea are much more efficient. From them it creates a much higher share on the market and into the application, e.g. in the cancer therapy. We will lose these active ingredients if we lose biodiversity in the reefs."

Dr. Sebastian Ferse, Reef Ecologist and Executive Director of Future Earth Coasts

 

"The diversity of niches is the cause of high biodiversity."

Prof. Dr. Helmut Schuhmacher, former Director of the Institute for Ecology, University of Essen

 

"According to estimates, a total of about half a billion people depend directly or indirectly on the various services that reefs provide for us."

Dr. Sebastian Ferse, Reef Ecologist and Executive Director of Future Earth Coasts

The coral reef crisis

"In the Caribbean, 80% of coral stocks have been lost in the last 40 years."

Dr. Götz B. Reinicke, Curator of Marine Ecology - Coelenterata, Molluscs and Echinoderms, German Marine Museum Stralsund

 

"The first time was in 1983 published about a local coral bleach. It was observed 1982-1983 on the Galapagos Islands. The first global coral bleaching in 1997/98 was the trigger for an Australian colleague to prepare a report with the available data and tried to predict the future of these bleaching events. He predicted that by 2050 we would have global bleaching events that would affect all tropical regions annually."

Dr. Götz B. Reinicke, Curator of Marine Ecology - Coelenterata, Molluscs and Echinoderms, German Marine Museum Stralsund

 

"Officially, bleaching at Great Barrier Reef 2016 was the biggest dramatic event observed. 30% were lost at that time. In 2017, a year later, it was another 20%, so that in the last three years in the Great Barrier Reef about 50% of the coral stocks have been lost...The corals can regenerate. The potential is there... But if you want to restore original reef communities, some of which have colonies decades old, you have to wait several decades until such an original reef community regenerates. Unfortunately, this time is rarely available for the slowly growing corals today, because too many external disturbing factors play a role".

Dr. Götz B. Reinicke, Curator of Marine Ecology - Coelenterata, Molluscs and Echinoderms, German Marine Museum Stralsund

 

"The emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the sea leads to warming and acidification. Stony corals, which form reefs, react very sensitively to this. The warming often triggers the dreaded coral bleaching, while the acidification makes the formation of reef structures from lime by corals very difficult. The high CO2 emissions therefore pose two threats to tropical coral reefs.

Prof. Dr. Christian Wild, Conference Chairman ICRS 2020, University of Bremen

 

"I imagine that at the end of this century a reef looks like this: Just a pile of limestone sand and rubble. Why? By the acidification of the sea water by CO2. The CO2, which will be absorbed by the oceans in the next 10 or 20 years, is already present in the atmosphere. "

Prof. Dr. Helmut Schuhmacher, former Director of the Institute of Ecology, University of Essen

 

"We have had five reef crises in Earth's history, which we can recognize by the fact that we have no skeletal deposits for several hundred thousand years. The corals survived these crises as so-called naked corals without skeletons. But now the sixth reef crisis is imminent and my great concern is to point out the creeping acidification of the oceans, which is not perceived as coral bleaching."

Prof. Dr. Helmut Schuhmacher, former Director of the Institute of Ecology, University of Essen

 

"The emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the sea leads to warming and acidification. Stony corals, which form reefs, react very sensitively to this. The warming often triggers the dreaded coral bleaching, while the acidification makes the formation of reef structures from lime by corals very difficult. The high CO2 emissions therefore pose two threats to tropical coral reefs. This could even lead to the loss of these ecosystems in the future."

Prof. Dr. Christian Wild, Conference Chairman ICRS 2020, University of Bremen

Approaches to the conservation of coral reefs

"Solitons (solitons are wave packages that do not exchange energy with other wave packages - they bring cooler deep water to the coral) are widespread worldwide and offer possible retreats for coral reefs - especially in the Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity. A lot of research is going in this direction at the moment to see if these areas might to some extent be refuges where even more sensitive corals have a chance to withstand the heat."

Gertraud Schmidt-Grieb, Ph, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholz Center for Polar and Marine Research

 

"What we see today is that 2/3 of all reefs are threatened by local threats such as coastal development, nutrient discharges and massive overfishing. That sounds bad at first, but the good thing is that you can manage this kind of human impact well on the ground, unlike climate change. That's an important message, because if you focus only on climate change and throw in the towel, as it were, a shotgun, according to the motto we can't do anything more anyway, that would be fatal. Local and global stress factors work together, and both need to be addressed."

Dr. Sebastian Ferse, Reef Ecologist and Executive Director of Future Earth Coasts

Classic

"When the ocean throws its water onto the wide reef, it seems an invincible, omnipotent enemy, and yet we see that it is resisted and defeated by means that at first sight seem weak and ineffective. The ocean by no means spares the coral rock; the large debris scattered over the reef and piled up on the shore, between which the large coconut trees grow, clearly prove the incessant violence of its waves. There is also no period of rest. The long swell, caused by the quiet but constant effect of the trade wind constantly blowing in one direction over an enormous area, causes surging waves which surpass even those of our temperate zone and which never stop rolling. It is impossible to see these waves without getting the conviction that every island, even if it consists of the hardest rock, porphyry, granite or quartz, must eventually give way and be destroyed by such irresistible forces. And yet these low, insignificant coral islands stand and emerge victorious from the battle; for here another force, as opposed to the former, participates in the quarrel. The organic forces successively separate the atoms of the carbonic acid lime from the foaming crushing waves and unite them to form a symmetrical structure. May the storm break the mass into a thousand great ruins, what does that mean against the united work of myriads of architects who work day and night, year after year. A soft and gelatinous body of a polyp defeats by the effect of the laws of life the great mechanical force of the waves of an ocean, which neither the art of man nor the inanimate works of nature could successfully resist."

Charles Darwin, from his book the "The Voyage of the Beagle", original edition of 1839.

 

"For if any organ legitimizes the animal body as such and in doubtful cases provides evidence as to whether a living being is an animal, it is the stomach. There are no real plants with a stomach...

The German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1834 - 1919) on the question of whether corals are animals or plants. Quote from: "Arab Corals, A Trip to the Coral Edges of the Red Sea and a View into the Life of Corals", Popular Lecture with Scientific Explanations, Berlin, Georg Reimer 1876, page 5

 

"Coral reefs, like rainforests, are ecosystems - not just a collection of species fighting each other for survival - but groups of species working together for common survival. Certainly, individuals compete, but for coral reefs and rainforests alike, a level of selection exists that is more important than the selection of species."

J.E.N. Veron, "A Reef in Time," The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2008, page 29

 

"All in all, we can learn a lot from the coral reefs, about recycling and the art of surviving well in a world with scarce resources - an indication of entering into a better symbiosis with the plants and animals on which we depend."

The American ecologist Eugene P. Odum about his work and experiences in the coral reefs of the Bikini Atoll