Dr. John Randall, International Society for Reef Studies (ISRS) Darwin Medal Recipient

Sketch book notes from the 2016 Darwin Medal Award presentation by Dr. Jack Randall. For more information about him at the Bishop Museum visit

He's probably named more fish than you've eaten in your lifetime.

Dr. John (Jack) Randall (Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii) received the lifetime achievement award from ISRS this year at the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium. He invented the wet suit before Cousteau, he's described 815 new species of fish and started his career 70 years ago. We heard him speak about some of his experiences, some of which are captured forever in my sketchbook. I first glimpsed some of his holotype specimens at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum when I learned that rows upon rows of preserved fish had his name (as the scientist who discovered them). He is a legend in the fish world. In March 2016, Hakai Magazine published an article title Dr. Fish about his life. as a dive pioneer and dedicated taxonomist.

He is aptly named Dr. Fish. In the Bishop Museum collections, his name appears frequently on the holotype specimens of described fish species.

What Happened at the Most Important Session of the 13th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS2016)?

I took copious notes in my sketchbook.

Morning Opening Session: A Facilitated Discussion on Specific Actions for Addressing Climate Change and Its Impacts on Coral Reefs

Date: Friday, June 24th, 2016  
Time: 08:00 - 09:00
Location:  Hawaii Convention Center, Kalakaua Ballroom A/B/C, Honolulu, Hawaii

Moderator: Dr. Robert Richmond

Challenge: Developing a blueprint, road map and timeline for the Coral Reef Science and Policy Communities.

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Visual note taking is one way to remember the details of a presentation— mine are usually text heavy with doodles. If another person reviewed my scribbles, it might have a chance of making sense to them. Their primary purpose is to record moments I want to remember forever.

Dr. Richmond introduced this session as the most important session of ICRS because it five scientists were going to speak about the future of coral reef communities and conservation. Each person on the panel had five minutes for their presentation. They shared ideas, full of optimism and opportunity, about how humanity can make a difference. They then opened it up to the audience to contribute to the conversation. Dr. Peter Sale was captured on video (see below, he is visible standing up in the audience, and the panel is up on stage). The video is from the ICRS2016 Facebook page. Many of the amazing things that happened during the symposium are posted there. 


10 people from the audience got up and spoke (orange circles). I didn't catch all of their names but I did capture some of their words. [Dr. Peter Sale was #6, see video]

Communicating Science to Different Audiences

Poster presentations were an extremely important aspect of this year's International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2016). Hundreds were displayed each day of the symposium. The posters summarized scientific findings in a space measuring 44.5 inches high by 45.5 inches wide (113.03 cm by 115.57 cm) using photographs, illustrations, graphs and tables. Many are available to view online at ePosters. It's a website that's an open-access library for scientists to showcase their research.

Posters from ICRS 2016 can be viewed here.

Scientific posters communicate to a specific audience—scientists. If you aren't used to interpreting data, then scientific results can remain mysterious or confusing.

One of the posters presented at ICRS 2016 was FUNCTIONAL ROLE OF A COMMON HERBIVORE IN MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA and it can be viewed on ePosters here.

Below is an interpretation of the scientific poster for a less research-oriented audience but conveys the core content of the scientific poster. Being able to see both versions allows you access to the same information in two visually different ways.

Twenty-year old Penguin Tracks bring Holiday Greetings | Throwback Thursday

Being in the field, out in nature, whenever, wherever inspires creativity like nobody's business. Today's Throwback Thursday is back to the 1990s, when I created a holiday card inspired by my encounter with penguins in Antarctica. The card, called Snow Angels, is still available in my online store for the almost 1990s era price of $3.45.