future ICRS ideas

Erich Mueller emueller at mote.org
Wed Nov 8 10:54:23 EST 2000

To all:

Although some of you may be tiring of the discussion regarding the future
direction of the ICRS, I think this discussion is essential to help guide
the format of future meetings. In past "lives",  I have attended much
larger meetings in several other scientific areas - biomedical, chemical
and engineering. None of these large meetings adopted an innovative
format - they merely ran many concurrent sessions. But I think that coral
reef scientists are generally different from attendees in those meetings
in that we have very diverse interests under the umbrella of "reef
science". Indeed we must in order to understand these complex systems. So
the old format works for some areas of science because research directions
are often highly focused and only a few sessions are of interest to a
given scientist (this is, of course, a generalization with many

Many good ideas have been circulated and there are more to come. Here are
my thoughts:

1) Because we all have something to learn from each other, I think we need
   a meeting format that maximizes synthesis, demonstrating consensus
   where present  and vigorous discussion of controversial and emerging
   issues.With this in mind, here are some format ideas (similar to some
   already suggested but I lost the relevant email references in my over
   zealous expunging of the inbox!).

   a) Invited plenaries in perhaps 12-20 key sub-fields (i.e. geologic
      processes, reef fish ecology, coral physiology, etc., etc.) with
      specific instructions to the speakers to discuss areas of consensus
      and controversy. 45 minute talk with at least 45 minutes for
      discussion. There must be multiple microphones and judicious
      oversight by a moderator to maximize audience participation.
      Students and others that may not wish to comment will have the
      opportunity to hear diverse opinions. Suggest two sessions in AM and
      2-3 in the afternoon. Such a format requires a large hall but
      reduces the need for many medium-sized rooms in addition, perhaps
      reducing conference cost.

   b) Another way that consensus and controversy can be presented would
      be via panel discussions with audience participation. Similar
      topical and time format as above. 

   c) Poster presentations would be essential unlimited so that anyone may
      present their results. A large room would be required and two
      sessions would likely be necessary (but posters should be up at
      least 2 days). 

2) In addition to the plenaries and (perhaps) transcripts of the ensuing
   discussions, all poster authors would be invited to submit a
   manuscript. I do not agree that all should be published but limitation
   should be based on peer-review and not financial or arbitrary page

3) The idea of electronic publishing is excellent for the many reasons
   that others have cited. The final abstracts and manuscripts should be
   distributed via CD but searchable Web publishing of abstracts would be
   particularly valuable prior to the meeting.

4) Finally, I would like to encourage participation in regional meetings.
   Hopefully, these can be kept manageable in size and give more authors,
   particularly students,  opportunities for oral presentations. 


Erich Mueller, Ph.D., Director      Phone: (305) 745-2729
Mote Marine Laboratory              FAX:   (305) 745-2730
Center for Tropical Research        Email: emueller at mote.org
24244 Overseas Highway (US 1)        
Summerland Key, FL   33042 

Center Website-> http://www.mote.org/~emueller/CTRHome.phtml

Mote Marine Laboratory Website-> http://www.mote.org

Remarks are personal opinion and do not reflect institutional
policy unless so indicated.


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