Due to the corona crisis, the International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS) has been postponed. The new conference dates are July 18 to 23, 2021. The dynamic spreading of the virus, the protection of all participants, and the travel restrictions were the factors that led to this decision.
Also the photo competition and all related activities have to be postponed for one year. The planned photo exhibition at the Haus der Wissenschaft in Bremen, where the best photos of the photo competition will be shown, will now take place in July 2022.
The review of the submitted photos by the jury will take place in March 2022. With the postponement, we want to enable all photographers to use the additional year to submit more and new up-to-date images. New images can therefore be sent in from now until February 28, 2022. All images sent in so far will of course still take part in the competition. The motto of our photo competition will not change:
Healthy coral reefs delight us with an incredible variety of species, colours and shapes. Sick and dead, on the other hand, are colourless and empty. "Colourful diversity, white death - what colours tell us about coral reefs" therefore remains the theme of the photo competition of the 14th ICRS 2021 VIRTUAL and 15th ICRS 2022 IN-PERSON.
Not only research results can give us a picture of the current situation, but also impressive photographs. For this reason, the ICRS 2021 invites everyone to help us make a visual inventory of the world's coral reefs accessible to the general public. The best works will be shown from July 2 to August 22, 2021 in an exhibition at the House of Science (Haus der Wissenschaft) in Bremen. The winners of the following three categories will receive an attractive prize in addition to their participation in the exhibition.
Colourful diversity - the world of colours
Coral reefs are the most species-rich ecosystem in the oceans. They cover only 0.2% of the ocean surface, but they are home to more than a third of all fish and invertebrates in the oceans. This great diversity of species finds its aesthetic expression in an incredible variety of shapes and colours. The images and films from this unique ecosystem fascinate us again and again. Biodiversity becomes visible and experienceable in this ecosystem and makes coral reefs unique among all ecosystems on earth.
World without colors
But the colourful coral reefs full of life are becoming increasingly rare. Colourless grey and greenish brown boulders are becoming more common. Global causes such as the rise in sea temperatures caused by climate change are forcing corals to release their symbiotic algae. The corals bleach. If the heat period lasts too long, the corals will die. The white will change to grey and when the algae take over, the colour spectrum turns brown-green. Also the large number of colorful reef fish will now disappeared.
Local threats like overfishing and pollution also lead to the death of the coral reefs. The colourful fish land in the stomachs of the people. Sediments and poisons lay a colourless, suffocating veil over the reef. Nutrients from agriculture shift the balance to the algae. The diversity of species in the coral reefs is directly related to the diversity of coral species. When the corals die, all animals that depend on them suffer the same fate.
How does the daily work of a marine biologists looks like?
Many processes in coral reefs still need to be researched. Neither do we know all species and their behaviour, nor do we know all active substances that might be of interest for drugs. And what are the best solutions for protecting coral reefs? Research can help us to recognise the importance of reefs and preserve their colour and diversity. New imaging techniques, such as hyperspectral photography, show us the inhabitants of reefs in ways that our eyes could never see. Fluorescence shows us corals in a completely different light. The theme of this category is the everyday research in coral reefs or laboratories.
Each participant can submit a maximum of three pictures. Image size at least 3000 x 4000 pixels and the image format should be JEPG. Please send the pictures (maximum total size per e-mail 10 MB) to:
The deadline for submission was extended to February 28, 2021.
Hedda Hoepfner deputy editor-in-chief of TAUCHEN magazine, Klaus-Peter Wolf from the photo agency imageBROKER and Heinz Krimmer from the ICRS 2021 conference office.