Possibile topics for student research -- a bad thing?

Gregor Hodgson gregorh at pacific.net.hk
Thu Feb 17 10:10:06 EST 2000

Dear colleagues,

Many of you probably get frequent requests for help similar to the one
below that I often receive:

"Dear Dr. Hodgson,

I am a grad student at (XYZ) university very interested in doing my
thesis on coral reefs.  My problem is that I do not know what to focus

At a recent council meeting of the International Society for Reef
Studies (ISRS), it was suggested that ISRS Council choose a list of 
priority research areas that might be helpful to students searching for
research topics. While some supported this proposal, others felt
strongly that this was properly the role of the student's advisor and
that ISRS should not get involved.

While perhaps in theory, every student who wants to do a thesis on coral
reefs has access to expert advice, in practice coral reef biologists are
spread fairly thinly around the world, and the "system" clearly is not
working well based on the number of "lost" students -- in both
developing and developed countries that contact us for help. By
providing a list of what coral reef scientists see as critical research
questions, ISRS would not be forcing anyone to take them up, but perhaps
could help direct students to important topics that they may not be
aware of. Is this a role that ISRS could/should help with?

I would be interested to know others' views on the subject.

Gregor Hodgson, PhD
Council Member ISRS
Coordinator, Reef Check Global Survey Program
GPO Box 12375, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2802-6937
Fax: (852) 2887-5454
Email: gregorh at pacific.net.hk
Web: www.ReefCheck.org

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