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SPP 2299 Heading to the Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium (APCRS 2023)

The 5th edi­tion of the Asia-Pa­cific Coral Reef Sym­posium (AP­CRS) was hos­ted by the Na­tional Uni­versity of Singa­pore (NUS) and the Na­tional Parks Board in Singa­pore from 19 to 23 June 2023. The theme of the con­fer­ence this year was ‘Coral reef sci­ence and man­age­ment in a rap­idly chan­ging world.’ The con­fer­ence is held once every four years after the pre­vi­ous ones were held in Hong Kong, Thai­l­and, Taiwan, and the Phil­ip­pines. The con­fer­ence aims to con­nect sci­ent­ists and vari­ous stake­hold­ers who work with Asia-Pa­cific coral reef eco­sys­tems. The con­fer­ence this year was at­ten­ded by more than 800 par­ti­cipants from 41 coun­tries, including three members of the DFG Pri­or­ity Pro­gramme “Trop­ical Cli­mate Vari­ab­il­ity & Coral Reefs” (SPP 2299). The coordinator of the programme, Thomas Felis (MARUM, University of Bremen), along with PhD students Hana Camelia (MARUM, University of Bremen) and Sahra Greve (Heidelberg University) all attended the APCRS.

Hana Camelia wrote a blog on the symposium, previously published here;

The con­fer­ence con­sisted of four days of sci­entific ses­sions with plen­ary talks, and oral and poster present­a­tions. We usu­ally had plen­ary talks in the morn­ing and af­ter­noon, with mul­tiple par­al­lel ses­sions between the plen­ary talks. On Wed­nes­day, however, the con­fer­ence had full or half-day tours and work­shops. The con­fer­ence also gave us free entry to Lee Kong Chian Nat­ural His­tory Mu­seum. On Thursday even­ing, there was also AP­CRS Ban­quet Night at the Gar­dens by the Bay, which al­lowed us to con­nect with other re­search­ers in a more re­lax­ing at­mo­sphere.

I was very ex­cited since this is my first con­fer­ence and also my first oral present­a­tion at an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence. I did a 15-minute oral present­a­tion (in­clud­ing Q&A) on the last day of the con­fer­ence (Fri­day) in the ‘Reef his­tor­ies: Cor­als as nat­ural archives of cli­mate and en­vir­on­mental changes’ ses­sion. I was very happy to share some of the pre­lim­in­ary res­ults that I have done for the last seven months at MARUM and got some ques­tions dur­ing my present­a­tion that I was able to an­swer.

Hana Camelia presenting her project during the APCRS conference.

Hana Camelia at St John’s Island National Marine Laboratory, Singapore’s offshore marine research facility.

Be­fore the con­fer­ence, my su­per­visor (Dr. Thomas Felis) and I were also able to meet Dr. Jani Tan­zil (NUS) and Dr. Jen­nie Lee (Uni­versiti Malay­sia Ter­eng­ganu) who were also on the or­gan­iz­ing com­mit­tee of the AP­CRS 2023. They have done pre­vi­ous work with cor­als of the An­da­man Sea which is also where my study area is loc­ated and there­fore, we man­aged to start a col­lab­or­a­tion with them as part of my PhD pro­ject. Dr. Jani Tan­zil also in­vited us to join tours to the S.E.A. Aquar­ium at Sen­tosa Is­land and the St. John’s Is­land Na­tional Mar­ine Labor­at­ory (SJINML), which is Singa­pore’s only off­shore mar­ine re­search fa­cil­ity. At the SJINML, Dr. Jani Tan­zil (who is also the head of the SJINML) showed us around, and ex­plained on­go­ing ex­per­i­ments and fa­cil­it­ies they have.

This con­fer­ence has quite broad top­ics and is not lim­ited to coral reef eco­logy only. The top­ics range from coral reef res­tor­a­tion and con­ser­va­tion, mon­it­or­ing, coral bio­logy and eco­logy, to man­age­ment and policies on coral reef eco­sys­tems. Al­though not many people did coral-based pa­leo­cli­mato­logy at this con­fer­ence, I was very happy to be able to meet so many people who have done work in my study area in Thai­l­and (south­ern An­da­man Sea). Over­all, the con­fer­ence gave me an over­view of dif­fer­ent kinds of stud­ies re­lated to my study area. I also met many fel­low In­done­sian re­search­ers and many talks and posters were also based on In­done­sian coral reefs. This al­lowed me to un­der­stand what stud­ies re­lated to coral reefs in In­done­sia are on­go­ing and to build con­nec­tions with In­done­sian re­search­ers. This will help me in con­sid­er­ing my fu­ture aca­demic ca­reer in my home coun­try.

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