Professor appointed president of the International Coral Reef Society

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Robert H. Richmond, (808) 539-7331,
Researcher, Kewalo Marine Lab, Pacific Biosciences Research Center
Posted: Feb 4, 2011

Dr. Bob Richmond, a research professor at  UH Mānoa's Pacific Biosciences Research Center's Kewalo Marine Laboratory, began a four-year term as the president of the International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) this month. 
The ISRS, founded in 1980, has over 800 members representing 55 nations, focuses on coral reef research. Members of this multidisciplinary society represent a variety of coral reef disciplines, including ecology, geology, fisheries biology, physiology, genetics, management, conservation, policy and education. 
"While our knowledge about coral reefs is continuing to grow on a daily basis, their state is declining globally," said Richmond. "There is a great need to improve how science is bridged to management and policy, and this means we need to become better communicators and engage more with stakeholders, policy makers and educators." 
The ISRS publishes a well-respected scientific journal, Coral Reefs, which contains peer-reviewed scientific studies about coral reefs throughout the world. Members are at the cutting edge of coral reef science, and there has been a notable expansion from the bio-physical sciences to include socio-economics.
"Coral reefs are clearly being damaged by a variety of human activities, including runoff and sedimentation from poor land-use practices, over-fishing, pollution and climate change," said Richmond. The results are the loss of economically, culturally and ecologically valuable resources. Indeed, a recent study estimated Hawaiʻi's coral reefs to provide over $360 million annually to the state's economy, with a value of $10 billion when considering ecological services such as shoreline protection. 
Modern coral reefs have been around for about 65 million years, yet the past century has seen dramatic declines in reef health due to human activities. "The inclusion of the social sciences is a critical step forward for the ISRS, as we can't change coral or fish behavior, but we can certainly work to change those human behaviors responsible for coral reef decline," said Richmond. "In order for this to work through the development and implementation of effective policies, the science has to be more available and clearly communicated to a variety of stakeholders and decision makers."
Richmond plans to work proactively with his fellow society officers, councilors and members to ensure the best science is used to guide policy and management activities and to insure a legacy of vital and beautiful coral reefs is left for future generations. "This is important to me not only as a coral reef scientist, but also as a dad," said Richmond.
For more information, visit the International Society for Reef Studies at or Richmond's website at

For more information, visit: