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.