Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation

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The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) is a private, nonprofit organization that was created in 1971. At that time, the members of two regionally based organizations, the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society (AERS) and the New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS) recognized the need for a third estuarine organization that would address national (now worldwide) estuarine and coastal issues. Today, CERF is a multidisciplinary federation of members and seven regionally based affiliate societies dedicated to studying and managing the structure and functions of estuaries and the effects of human activities on these fragile environments.[1][2]

Abbreviation CERF
Formation 1971
Robert R. Twilley


CERF advances understanding and wise stewardship of estuarine and coastal ecosystems worldwide. Its mission is to:

  • Promote research in estuarine and coastal ecosystems
  • Support education of scientists, decision-makers and the public
  • Facilitate communication among these groups

Membership in CERF is open to all who support these goals. The Federation currently has approximately 1,650 members, and approximately 1,000 more who are members of the Affiliate Societies.

CERF addresses the purposes listed above by convening conferences in odd-numbered years (see Meetings), through the more frequent meetings of its Affiliate Societies in their regions and through regular publication of the scholarly journal Estuaries and Coasts and the Newsletter. In addition, the Federation serves as a source of advice on estuarine and coastal matters by responding to requests for information from legislative and management organizations.[2]


In the mid 1960s estuarine scientists around the globe were beginning to recognize that wide dissemination of information concerning estuarine water circulation patterns, rates of exchange of materials within coastal and marine waters and the ecology of estuarine organisms was essential to the realistic management of estuaries in the future. This wide recognition of the intertwined interest between knowledge of estuarine systems and eutrophication characterizes the task oriented nature of the study of estuaries.

In the Fall of 1969, a special committee was assembled to explore the formation of a new society not dedicated to any particular geographic region in order to accommodate a larger domestic and international membership. The new group known as the Estuarine Research Federation (ERF) was created.

In an effort to identify the true scope of ERF interests to ALL people who may be interested in participating in the Federation's activities, ERF members voted by mail, in the summer of 2007, to approve a name change to Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF).[2]


CERF (formerly ERF) has hosted 22 international conferences during the 46 years since the Federation's inception:[1][3]

1971 – Long Island, NY 1973 – Myrtle Beach, SC 1975 – Galveston, TX 1977 – Mt. Pocono, PA 1979 – Jekyll Island, GA
1981 – Gleneden Beach, OR 1983 – Virginia Beach, VA 1985 – Durham, NH 1987 – New Orleans, LA 1989 – Baltimore, MD
1991 – San Francisco, CA 1993 – Hilton Head, SC 1995 – Corpus Christi, TX 1997 – Providence RI 1999 – New Orleans, LA
2001 – St Petersburg Beach, FL 2003 – Seattle, WA 2005 – Norfolk, VA 2007 - Providence, RI 2009 – Portland, OR
2011 – Daytona Beach, FL 2012 — Mar del Plata, Argentina 2013 - San Diego, CA 2015 - Portland, OR


CERF has endured and evolved during its short history under the leadership of the individuals listed below. Those who have led the society are important members of the estuarine and coastal science communities. The list provide below includes the name of each president and the most significant scientific contribution made by each individual prior to their Presidencies.[1]

  • L. Eugene Cronin, 1971–1973
    "Anatomy and histology of the male reproductive system of Callinectes sapidus rathbun." J. Morphology 1947
  • H. Perry Jeffries, 1973–1975
    "Stress syndrome in hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria." J. Invertebrate Pathology 1972
  • F. John Vernberg, 1975–1977
    "Studies on the physiological variation between tropical and temperate zone fiddler crabs of the genus UCA.2. Oxygen Consumption of whole organisms." Biological Bulletin 1959
  • Michael Castagna 1977-1979
    "Culture of bay scallop, Argopecten irradians, in Virginia." Marine Fisheries Review 1975
  • Robert J. Reimold, 1979–1981
    "Movement of phosphorus through salt marsh cord grass, Spartina alterniflora loisel." Limnology and Oceanography 1972
  • Barbara L. Welsh, 1981–1983
    "Role of grass shrimp, Palaemonetes pugio, in a tidal marsh ecosystem." Ecology 1975
  • Austin Beatty Williams, 1983–1985
    "Swimming crabs of the genus Callinectes (decapoda portunidae)." Fishery Bulletin 1974
  • Jerry R. Schubel, 1985–1987
    "Turbidity maximum of northern Chesapeake Bay" Science 1968
  • Donald F. Boesch, 1987–1989
    "Classification and community structure of macrobenthos in Hampton Roads area, Virginia." Marine Biology 1973
  • Robert J. Orth, 1989–1991
    "Chesapeake Bay- An unprecedented decline in submerged aquatic vegetation." Science 1983
  • Christopher F. D’Elia, 1991–1993
    "Determination of total nitrogen in aqueous samples using persulfate digestion." Limnology and Oceanography 1977
  • Frederic H. Nichols, 1993–1995
    "The modification of an estuary." Science 1986
  • Candace A. Oviatt, 1995–1997
    "Patterns of productivity during eutrophication – A mesocosm experiment." Marine Ecology Progress Series 1986
  • Nancy N. Rabalais, 1997–1999
    "Comparison of continuous records of near-bottom dissolved oxygen from the hypoxia zone along the Louisiana Coast." Estuaries 1994
  • Anne E. Giblin, 1999–2001
    "Biogeochemical diversity along a riverside toposequence in Arctic Alaska." Ecological Monographs. 1991
  • Dennis M. Allen, 2001–2003
    "Interannual variation in larval fish recruitment to estuarine epibenthic habitats." Marine Ecology Progress Series 1990
  • Linda C. Schaffner, 2003–2005
    "Small-scale organism distributions and patterns of species diversity – Evidence for positive interactions in an estuarine benthic community." Marine Ecology Progress Series 1990
  • Robert R. Christian, 2005–2007
    "Multiyear distribution patterns of nutrients within the Neuse River estuary, North Carolina." Marine Ecology Progress Series 1991
  • Robert W. Howarth, 2007–2009
    "Nutrient limitation of net primary production in marine ecosystems." Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 1998
  • Susan L. Williams, 2009–2011
    "Experimental studies of Caribbean seagrass bed development." Ecological Monographs 1990
  • Walter R. Boynton 2011-2013
    "Inputs, transformations and transport of nitrogen and phosphorus in Chesapeake Bay and selected tributaries." Estuaries 1995
  • Kenneth L. Heck, Jr. 2013-2015
    "Explicit calculation of the rarefaction diversity measurement and the determination of sufficient sample size." Ecology 1975
  • Robert R. Twilley, 2015-2017
    "The exchange of organic carbon in basin mangrove forests in a southwest Florida estuary." Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 1985
  • Hilary A. Neckles (President Elect) 2017-2019
    "Relative effects of nutrient enrichment and grazing on epiphyte-macrophyte (Zosteramarina L.) dynamics." Oecologia 1993


CERF publishes the journal Estuaries and Coasts. Prior to 2006 Estuaries and Coasts was known as Estuaries. Prior to the formation of CERF, the journal Estuaries was known as Chesapeake Science (1960–1978).

Most-referenced works published by CERF
  1. Orth RJ, Heck KL, Vanimontfrans J. 1984. "Faunal communities in seagrass beds – A review of the influence of plant structure and prey characteristic on predator prey relationships." 7: 339-350 Times Cited: 487
  2. Valiela I, Foreman K, Lamontagne M, Hersh D, Costa J, Peckol P, Demeoandreson B, Davanzo C, Babione M, Sham CH, Brawley J, Lajtha K. 1992. "Couplings of watersheds and coastal waters – Sources and consequences of nutrient enrichment in Waquoit Bay, Massachusetts." 15: 443-457 Times Cited: 231
  3. Boesch DF, Turner RE. 1984. "Dependence of fishery species on salt marshes – The role of food and refuge." 7:460-468. Times Cited: 188
  4. Rabalais NN, Wiseman WJ, Turner RE, SenGupta BK, Dortch Q. 1996. "Nutrient changes in the Mississippi River and system responses on the adjacent continental shelf." 19: 386-407 Times Cited: 183
  5. Boynton WR, Garber JH, Summers R, Kemp WM. 1995. "Inputs, transformations and transport of nitrogen and phosphorus in Chesapeake Bay and selected tributaries." 18: 285-314 Times Cited: 163

Affiliate societies[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Smithsonian Institution Archives of CERF Records". Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "About Cerf". Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "Meetings". Retrieved 5 November 2010.