Coral reefs are at a critical junction due to a variety of stressors, casting doubts on the future of reef health globally. It is becoming increasingly clear that by the end of this century the structure, function, and services of most coral reef ecosystems will be drastically altered from their current state. Research over the past decades has been dedicated to developing predictive models of reefs and their environments. This involves responses of coral reefs, from the microbial to the ecosystem level, to projected changes and interactions with human societies. It is therefore timely to systematically take stock of the accumulated knowledge on coral reef composition and function with an eye towards the future. This outlook has to consider the socio‐economic and governance aspects in decisions that need to be taken for effective reef management.
The ICRS 2020 scientific program will therefore cover a wide range of subject areas and disciplines concerning coral reefs of the past, the present, and the future. ICRS 2020 will feature contributions ranging from geological, palaeontological, and geobiological subjects to contemporary descriptions of reef status, processes and changes including mechanisms of coral bleaching and diseases. Predictive models of reef functions, emerging technologies, conservation, restoration, and management of novel reef ecosystems are also in the thematic focus of ICRS 2020.
The overarching theme of ICRS 2020 is “Tackling the Challenging Future of Coral Reefs”.
Under this umbrella, ICRS 2020 aims to address key scientific questions, such as: