5th APCRS 2023


Yu Hai Ping, Bsc Biotechnology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)


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Yu Hai Ping, Bsc Biotechnology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)


The fifth edition of the Asia-Pacific Coral Reef Symposium
(APCRS) took place from 19th to 23rd June 2023 and was hosted by the National University of Singapore, NUS with the support from National Parks Board. Held every four years, the symposium seeks to gather aspiring scientists and relevant stakeholders to work together towards practical solutions for conserving coral reefs and marine resources in the region.

Owing to the generous donors and sponsors, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the symposium as one of the Regional Travel Grant recipients. The five days symposium were well organized into plenary speaker sessions, participant presentations (oral and poster), workshops and fieldtrips. Perhaps what captured my impression the most was the Wall Street-like scenario during the oral presentation sessions. 822 participants haste between neighbouring rooms between the 15-minutes presentation timeslots to catch up with their topics of interests, nothing but enthusiasm! 

Among the 462 oral presentations, I shared the current work and progress of my study on Symbiodiniaceae diversity hosted by a single host species and how environmental variations can affect the phylogenetic composition of the symbiotic algae within Peninsular Malaysia. The presentation was allocated in the session – “Plasticity and adaptation of reef organisms to environmental change” under the theme – “Responses to environmental change”. Representing diverse backgrounds and fields of study, the presenters all converged with a shared mission: to unravel the fate of coral reefs amid an ever-changing climate and comprehend their responses to rapid environmental shifts. Echoing the symposium’s theme, ‘Coral Reef Science and Management in a Rapidly Changing World,’ it became evident that a science-informed management is the key to safeguarding our delicate coral reef ecosystem in the Anthropocene era.

Of course, marine biologists are fun people. We had the best gala dinner at the prestigious flower dome inside Gardens by the Bay, one of the most iconic destination in Singapore where wonders bloom! As the symposium enter its final day, there was a collective sense of determination to act. The closing ceremony featured prominent coral reef conservation figure – Professor Leo Tan, Singapore’s very own ASEAN Biodiversity Hero and a special appearance by the one and only, Dr Sylvia Earle. As all good things must come to an end, Professor Leo Tan emphasizes that it is merely a pause. 

Indeed, the symposium concluded with a renewed spirit and a fostered bonds among attendees. The collective efforts in the coming years will come together again at the sixth edition of APCRS which will be hosted in the wonderful Sabah, Malaysia where symphony of pristine coral reefs thrive.  Selamat Datang and see you all there!

-Yu Hai Ping-

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