Andrew Halford a.halford at aims.gov.au
Thu Nov 16 20:33:37 EST 2000

Hi all,

I would like to offer my view as an ICRS participant in Bali. Firstly, the
conference was terrific, with plenty of variety to choose from each
day.....I add my thanks for the organisers. There were some aspects that
detracted from the overall effectiveness of the conference but these could
be addressed quite easily. What needs to be reiterated is that the ICRS is
the only general forum available for people who work in tropical reef
research and management. Participants from all levels and fields can
interact and gain exposure to all aspects of tropical reef research and
management. Many cannot afford the luxury of an international conference
more than once every four years and that is why this is such a good forum
the way it is.

The negatives from the conference as far as I was concerned were mainly to
do with the lack of a general meeting place where everyone would naturally
congregate during breaks and at the end of the day ie a large bar and cafe
area (a point already raised by others). As well, more "official" social
events such as a "meet and greet" on the night preceding the conference,
perhaps a happy hour one afternoon and of course the conference dinner
(which I feel is better placed at the end of the conference so everyone can
let their hair down at the same time). The other aspect which needs to be
looked at is the timing of the workshops. Perhaps it would be possible to
hold them during the day rather than late at night as often happened. An
earlier start to facilitate holding workshops would prove more productive
than holding them at the end of such long days. I think the workshops are
probably under-utilised as a result of being held at night.

My previous point brings me to my final comment about the size and quality
of the participants. The conference organisers need to set a cap on the
number of positions available and with that variable set in stone it will
be far easier to fine tune the conference to work out the most effective
way of holding it (my caveat to this is that there will obviously be some
hosts with far superior facilities to others and numbers could then
fluctuate up or down around an optimum size, depending on the facilities
available). If finances permit, a small team (one person maybe??) of
professional conference organisers could be hired to look at the facilities
at the incoming host country and advise on what is feasible.

As for the quality of papers/ posters etc as more people apply for a
limited number of positions quality should naturally go up (competition
brings out the best in some). Perhaps Symposia organisers could also vet
participants in their sessions a little more rigorously to ensure
presentations are of sufficient standard. It is impossible to please
everyone so I sincerely hope that the conference holds its basic format as
it is a wonderful week that most look forward to with relish.



Andrew Halford
Experimental Scientist,
Australian Institute of Marine Science,
Long Term Monitoring and Reef Fish Ecology.
PO Box 264,
Dampier,WA. 6713

Ph +61 8 9183 1122	
Fax +61 8 9183 1085

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