Coral Reef Symposium

Steve Coles slcoles at
Thu Nov 9 15:08:29 EST 2000

To Reef Symposium Organizers and Participants, past and future:

I wonder how many out there would agree that it would be a distinct loss 
for Reef Symposium attendees to no longer have the opportunity to make and 
view oral presentations?  To those who attended Bali, I would ask the 
following rhetorical questions re: proposals of going totally to poster 

1. How many of the approx. 400 posters did you study in detail?

2. For those which you did, how much information did you derive vs. the the 
typical oral presentation?

3. For those who made a poster presentation, how many questions and how 
much interest were/was generated.?

We now know that it is possible to have about 1000 oral presentations 
within a week, with time left for two plenarys a day, and have an excellent 
symposium.  I was astounded at how smoothly this went and how much 
information I was able to gain, though of course there were inevitable 
simultaneous papers I wanted to see.  We all owe David Hopely and the 
organizers a large thank you for making the conference work so well.  The 
turnout for Bali may have been higher than normal, simply because of the 
place itself, and only time will tell if attendance continues to go up.  If 
we continue to increase exponentially, we might consider the approach that 
my geologist friends tell me has been used effectively for their large 
meetings.  Each presenter prepares a poster and has 5-10 minutes in 
mini-symposium sessions to present high points and generate interest in his 
subject, and poster sessions are spaced throughout the week.  These provide 
good opportunity for interaction and discussion.  Otherwise, an alternative 
could be to limit the oral presentations to the first 1000 paid 
registrants, a rather arbitrary approach.

Re: proceedings, the CD_ROM alternative offers distinct advantages in terms 
of cost, portability, and convenience in searchability.  Hard copy volumes 
could still be made available for libraries and individuals who want them, 
but the cost of these would probably increase with a decreasing economy of 
scale as people went for the CD option. I have proceedings for five 
symposia, and the pending proceedings volumes will exceed my bookshelf 
space, with only 400 papers to be included.  I would welcome it being 
available on CD and being able to computer search topics of interest.  I 
believe web-based distribution of the proceedings is highly problematical, 
for the many reasons already expressed by others on this list.

Finally, for those of you seeking another venue for orally presenting your 
work between symposia, I draw your attention to the Pacific Science 
Association, which has congresses and inter-congresses every two 
years.  The next will be in Guam in June 2001 and the following in Bangkok, 
March  2003.  Each will have sessions on coral reefs and biodiversity, and 
these were well worth attending at the last congresses held in Fiji and 
Sydney.  There are also opportunities to interact with scientists working 
outside of your immediate field.  Starting in January, a US$40 annual 
membership for PSA will include a subscription to Pacific Science journal, 
and PSA also periodically produces a Coral Reef Newsletter on the Web.  For 
further information see and to join contact Lu 
Eldredge at psa at
S. L. Coles, Ph. D.
Research Zoologist
Bishop Museum
1525 Bernice St.
Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
Ph. (808) 847-8256
Fax (808) 847-8252

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