About Us

About | Mission | ValuesVisions III | Constitution & By-Laws | Code of Ethics

About the Federation

The similarity and diversity of estuaries is also characteristic of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, a multidisciplinary organization of individuals who study and manage the structure and functions of estuaries and the effects of human activities on these fragile environments.

The Federation's members are dedicated to advancing human understanding and appreciation of the Earth's estuaries and coasts, to the wise use and management of these environments and to making the results of their research and management actions available to their colleagues and to the public. Members of the Federation include academic researchers, public sector managers, teachers, consultants, students and others who are interested in estuaries.

The Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation is a private, nonprofit non-partisan organization. The Federation was created in 1971, when the members of two older, regionally-based estuarine research societies (AERS and NEERS) decided that a national organization was needed to address estuarine and coastal issues more broadly. The regionally based Affiliate Societies now number seven and encompass all of the coastal regions that border the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Mission of The Federation 

The Federation 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 the Federation 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.

The Federation 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.

Take time to listen to CERF's Estuaries song!

CERF Values

CERF has carefully chosen seven values to guide the priorities, communications and standards of its strategic plans and activities. CERF highly values and pursues:

Knowledge/Research - the quest for knowledge that will advance our understanding of coasts and estuaries based on research of the highest caliber.

Collaboration - the power of scientific collaboration to accelerate and advance our knowledge, methods and models in science.

Integrity/Ethics - integrity beyond reproach and highest ethical standards as fundamental to both science and the Federation’s activities.

Relevance/Impact – relevance and impact of member’s work and activities of the Federation as integral to providing for the future of the planet.

Education - the education of its members, the whole scientific community, students at all levels in their educational pursuits, the general public, decision-makers and the media.

Synthesis/Integration – the synthesis of the best available science and the integration of this understanding into the broader knowledge of the world around us.

Outreach – engagement with the broader scientific community to foster deeper scientific understanding and communication of scientific knowledge to the general public, the media, public officials, and other decision-makers.

VISIONS III: What lies ahead for CERF?

The Federation has had two previous Strategic Plans, the first spanning the period 1993 – 2004 and the second spanning the period 2005-2011. The goals of these plans have largely been accomplished. At the start of the Williams Administration (2009) the CERF Board agreed to develop a revised strategic plan (Visions III) for the period 2012 - 2016.

Visions III : Goals, Visions, Objectives, Actions and Metrics


(Download Visions III)
(Download Visions III - short version)

Federation Constitution & By-Laws

The Federation revised its Constitution & By-Laws in November 2007. The current version may be found here: Constitution and By-Laws.

Code of Ethics

This Code of Ethics was created in 1991. It is presented here for members' consideration and information.


This Code provides guiding principles of conduct for all members of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Recognition of professional status by the public depends not only on skill and dedication but also on adherence to a code of professional conduct.

  1. A CERF member shall act at all times with integrity.
    • Will offer professional advice only on those subjects in which they are informed and qualified through training and experience.
    • Will avoid and discourage the dissemination of false, erroneous, biased, unwarranted or exaggerated statements.
    • Shall clearly differentiate opinions, theories, hypotheses, and ideas.
    • Will support and promote equal opportunities in all professional activities
    • Will not engage in any activity that might result in a conflict of interest (and will be conscious of the appearance of a conflict of interest).
  2. A CERF member should strive to increase his/her competence and the competence and prestige of the profession.
    • In any communication will give full and proper credit to and will avoid misrepresentation of the work and ideas of others.
    • Shall exercise utmost care in laboratory and field research.
    • Within reasonable limits of time and finance will volunteer their special knowledge, skill and training to the public.
    • Will keep informed of advances in his/her field of expertise, including methodologies of data acquisition and analysis.
    • Will fulfill acknowledged commitments in a timely manner.
  3. A CERF member will accept responsibility for his/her work.
    • Shall report accurately, truthfully and clearly the information pertinent to a given project and will convey findings objectively.
    • As an author, should have made a substantial contribution to the manuscript in at least two of the following ways:
      • 3.2.1 Conceiving the ideas and design of the experiment;
      • 3.2.2 Participating in the active execution of the study;
      • 3.2.3 Analyzing and interpreting the data;
      • 3.2.4 Writing the manuscript.
    • The principal investigator(s) of a research project should establish a clear understanding with everyone working on the project as to the right of any person to publish a paper using data collected in that project.
    • An author should not submit a manuscript to a journal while it is already under review by another journal.
    • Original records of research methods, conditions, equipment, personnel, results, analyses, and statistical tests should be retained for several years after publication of results.

 "COASTAL & ESTUARINE RESEARCH FEDERATION is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a service mark of Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation."