ECRS 2024 will adopt the following safer space policy and implement numerous diversity and inclusivity initiatives in the ongoing effort to improve diversity and inclusivity in this conference.

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Specific Diversity and Inclusivity Initiatives

  • ECRS 2024 aims to have gender and geographical balance: In the speaker, selection care will be exercised to guarantee a gender balance and a geographical representation.
  • Safer Space Policy: A safer space policy aims to foster an environment of respect, which makes all participants feel welcome – particularly those who are typically marginalized or excluded, whether by religion, ethnicity, sex, gender, or sexual orientation. Differing opinions and perspectives are crucial to effective discussion but all attendees ultimately take responsibility for their own speech and behaviour – in person and on social media – throughout the entire event and associated social gatherings.
  • Social sustainability: An event is considered socially sustainable when designed, planned and realized with a strategy that minimizes negative environmental impact and leaves a positive legacy to the host community.
    Over the years Symposia has been implementing a large number of operational best practices for the daily running of its structure and all its events, from the selection of materials according to eco-sustainability criteria and the energy efficiency of the equipment, to the procedures for possible work peaks and for the replacement of absent staff.

Attendees are encouraged to:

  • Ask respectful questions and avoid dominating a presenter’s question time to further any particular agenda. Question time after a talk is intended to give presenters the opportunity to expand on their talk in response to audience questions and is not a platform for the audience to individually reply.
  • Be mindful of and understand that intersectionality shapes our lived experiences.
  • Actively include all attendees in social gatherings (such as post-conference dinners and social events), particularly those for whom English is not a first language and junior students.

ECRS 2024 adheres to the

ICRS Diversity Statement & Code of Conduct


Coral reefs are diverse. ICRS should be, too.

The ICRS is devoted to studying the most biologically diverse ecosystem of the ocean, and our members recognize the resilience and stability that this diversity provides. Likewise, our Society recognizes the diversity of its membership, and the strength it provides to our organization. Coral reefs occur in many different nations around the globe, and it is important to ICRS that its membership and leadership reflect the many cultures, ages, genders, physical capabilities, and sexual identities of all of its members.


To continue to grow the strength and diversity of the ICRS community and ICRS elected positions, we encourage coral researchers and practitioners around the world to become an ICRS member, and our members to become more engaged in ICRS. Consider nominating a member or yourself for ICRS elections, volunteering for ICRS meetings, and recognizing your colleagues through nominations for ICRS awards. If we are to keep coral reefs around, we need a strong and diverse ICRS membership and leadership.


The ICRS Code of Conduct was approved by ICRS Officers and Councilors in October 2019.

An update to the ICRS Code of Conduct was approved by ICRS Officers and Councilors in May 2020.

All ICRS members and ICRS Chapters are required to abide by this Code of Conduct.

ICRS is an inclusive Society, which actively seeks equity and diversity so as to optimize our collective experiences, perspectives, and progress in building supportive and collaborative networks and opportunities. We strive for every Society member and attendee at Society-sponsored events to feel comfortable in attending, sharing their work, opinions, ideas, and perspectives.

We are dedicated to harassment-free experiences for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, country of origin, age, religion, spoken language, or idea proposed.

ICRS Member Guidelines

Becoming a member of ICRS, or attending an ICRS-sponsored event, aligns you with the ethos of the Society. Through this shared understanding and respect, we are confident that all members and participants will build a supportive and collaborative atmosphere as a Society and during Society events. The following bullet points explicitly set out ICRS Member guidelines that apply to interactions in person, over the phone, and online.  For anyone posting on any of the ICRS social media platforms, please see details under ICRS Social Media Ethics and Guidelines.

  • Be respectful to others. Do not engage in homophobic, racist, transphobic, xenophobic, ageist, ableist, sexist behaviour, religious discrimination, or otherwise exclusionary behaviour.
  • Use welcoming and inclusive language. Exclusionary comments, jokes that could be perceived as harmful, threats and violent language are not acceptable. Do not address others in an angry, intimidating, or demeaning manner. Be mindful of the ways the words you choose may impact others. Be patient and respectful of the fact that, although English is the official language of ICRS, English is not the native language for many ICRS members.
  • Do not harass others. Harassment includes unwanted physical contact, sexual attention, or repeated social contact, including online interactions. Know that consent must be obtained and it must be explicit, conscious, and continuous. If you are unsure whether your behaviour towards another person is welcome, ask them. If someone tells you to stop, do so. Be mindful that your method of greeting new people (e.g. hugging, shaking hands, bowing, fist-bumping, etc.) may be uncomfortable or unwelcome to them.
  • Do not bully others. Bullying is the intimidation, coercion, and/or harm of people perceived to be more vulnerable. Bullying can be subtle or overt, sporadic or continuous, and occur in person, via email, and/or online.
  • Respect the privacy and safety of others. Do not share other participant’s personal experiences without their express permission. Note that posting personal identifying information of others without their consent (“doxing”) is a form of harassment. With cell phones, taking photographs of others is inevitable, particularly at meetings such as those sponsored by ICRS. Sharing those photos with others or on social media requires ethical judgment to ensure that no one’s privacy or feelings are compromised. It is always best to request permission before posting photos.
  • Be considerate of others’ participation. Everyone should have an opportunity to be heard, regardless of age, career stage, or position. During conferences and workshops, keep questions succinct and limit comments to facilitate maximum engagement by all participants. Do not interrupt others based on disagreement; hold such comments until they have finished speaking.
  • Do not be a bystander. If you see something inappropriate happening, speak up. If you do not feel comfortable intervening but feel someone should, please ask Officers and Council members of the ICRS for support.
  • Be professional and ethical when publishing or presenting. The journal Coral Reefs, published by Springer, includes specific rules of conduct in its Guide for Publishing Ethics. These guidelines should be followed regardless of where you publish and present, and should always acknowledge contributors and others’ work in general. Acknowledge others’ ideas and intellectual property and obtain written consent to present their work. In addition, acknowledge all contributors to your research, including local people, agencies and scientists where field work is conducted. Critical evaluation of manuscripts and funding applications is an essential aspect of peer review, but constructive feedback expedites scientific advances.
  • Treat animals humanely. Follow ethics guidelines at all times when working with all animals (including invertebrates) and ensure correct permitting for the country you are working in. A good overall guide to the ethical treatment of animals was published by the Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees (2018), and follows the positions that:
    • Animals have an intrinsic value which must be respected
    • Animals are sentient creatures with the capacity to feel pain, and the interests of animals must therefore be taken into consideration.
    • Our treatment of animals, including the use of animals in research, is an expression of our attitudes and influences us as moral actors.
  • As an overriding general rule, please be intentional in your actions and humble in your mistakes.

To whom and where the Code of Conduct applies

This Code of Conduct applies to all members of the Society and its Chapters participating in ICRS events and activities, including after-hours, working, and social events.

This Code of Conduct applies in all digital (e.g., group chat channels, mailing lists, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and collaborative documents) and physical spaces associated with the Society.

Consequences of a violation of this Code of Conduct

ICRS is built on the volunteer efforts of its members, for the betterment of the Society as a whole. Our members must therefore maintain the highest ethical standards and professional integrity. Society members in breach of this Code of Conduct could be dismissed from the Society and/or sponsored/affiliated event, and at the discretion of ICRS Officers. Likewise, members who are found guilty of sexual misconduct or similar violations of conduct committed outside
of Society events could also be dismissed from the Society.

How to report an issue related to the Code of Conduct

To report a serious assault at a Society-sponsored event, please immediately call the local emergency number/police, as well as the local safety officer.

To report a Code of Conduct violation at Society events and conferences, please refer to the event-specific Code of Conduct (for example, the Code of Conduct for the ICRS2020 meeting). If a safety officer is available, then please contact that officer. For after-hours, and for ICRS-related activities outside Society events and conferences, please contact any ICRS officer.

If you are unsure whether an incident is a violation of the Code of Conduct, or whether the space where it happened is covered by this Code of Conduct, we encourage you to report it. You are welcome to ask that your identity not be revealed in any records or any subsequent discussions.

Provide an Issue Summary:  If reporting an issue by email, please describe:

  • The nature of the issue, complaint, or concern.
  • A description of the incident(s) that occurred (please be as specific as possible).
  • The individual(s) involved in and (if applicable) witnesses to the incident(s).
  • Whether you believe the incident(s) is ongoing.
  • The kind of resolution, information or support you are seeking.
  • Whether you believe any ICRS Officers might have a conflict of interest by responding to your issue.

If reporting an issue in person, an ICRS Officer will request a brief issue summary (or permission to take notes) that includes the information listed above. The person reporting the issue is welcome (but not obligated) to participate in this process.

The Response Process

The ICRS Officers will consider all reports seriously. If the issue is reported by email, an initial response is to confirm receipt of the report without delay. If the report involves an ICRS Officer, that person will be removed from the process and will not have access to documentation related to the issue.

The ICRS does not have a Human Resources Department nor are the Officers or Council members qualified or trained to conduct investigations. In sharp contrast, universities and larger institutions are qualified to conduct investigations through their Human Resources Departments and have other resources and mechanisms in place to conduct investigations regarding numerous issues covered in the ICRS Code of Conduct. Therefore, the ICRS has adopted a process as outlined in the Code of Conduct that calls for the ICRS to act as a mandatory reporter to the home university or institution of the accused whenever a report of a violation of the Code of Conduct is filed with ICRS. During the investigation period by the home university or institution, the ICRS may temporarily suspend the membership of the accused. Should a claim be validated through this process, ICRS will act accordingly and reserves the right to revoke membership and/or award status.  However, in the absence of validation of a claim, ICRS will not take punitive action and any temporary membership suspension will be restored. These procedures are similar to those used by other scientific societies.

The ICRS retains the right to deny admission to, or exercise dismissal from, the Society membership or any Society-sponsored or affiliated event to any individual.


  • Information shared with ICRS Officers will be kept confidential to the fullest extent possible.
  • Information cannot be kept confidential where the safety of other Society members is at risk, or where there is a legal obligation to report.

References and Attribution

This code is adapted (lightly) from the Alan Turing Institute Data Study Group Code of Conduct, which in turn states that it “was heavily adapted from the Citizen Lab Summer Institute 2017 Code of Conduct and used under a CC BY 2.5 CA license. Citizen Lab based their Code of Conduct on the xvzf Code of Conduct, the Contributor Covenant, the Django Code of Conduct and Reporting Guide and we are also grateful for this guidance from Ada Initiative.”  The Turing Code of Conduct is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0 CA) license, and provides permission to adapt the work, with attribution to Kirstie Whitaker and the Gamechangers for Diversity in STEM organizing committee.


Any member interested in learning more about the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s work is encouraged to contact the Committee Chair: Tracy AinsworthICRS Officers who are committee members:  Ilsa Kuffner, Edwin Hernandez-Delgado, Nikki Traylor-Knowles and Vikash Mundohdhe. The ICRS Student Chapter is also very committed to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

This document was reviewed and approved by all ICRS Officers and Councilors.

ICRS endeavours to make accessible to everyone; for more information please refer to our website accessibility statement and contact us if you have issues accessing our content.