Premier's Fellow and research leader at The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute and School of Earth and Environment, Winthrop Professor Malcolm McCulloch, has been awarded Australia's most prestigious research fellowship.
Professor McCulloch was the only recipient from a Western Australian university to receive an Australian Laureate Fellowship, worth $3.2 million over five years. He is a distinguished isotope geochemist who has made highly original contributions to the geosciences, from our understanding of the Earth and early solar system to environmental geochemistry.
He has been a trailblazer in developing innovative new techniques, including indicators of climate change preserved in coral skeletons. He has demonstrated a direct link between the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef and the build-up of human activity in Australia following colonisation, examining the effects of river runoff on inshore reefs and the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on coral reefs.
Professor McCulloch's Fellowship will help him investigate the future of coral reefs and other marine calcifiers in response to rising carbon dioxide and ocean acidification. His research will enable best-practice adaptive management at local and regional levels, while providing new hope for preserving coral reefs.
He was responsible in 2009 for establishing a new state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and geochemistry facility at UWA, as well as a new node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at UWA, where he is Deputy Director and heads the Centre's research program on evolutionary and environmental change.
Professor McCulloch has received a number of prestigious awards, having been elected Fellow of The Royal Society (London) - the world's oldest scientific academy in continuous existence; the Australian Academy of Science; the American Geophysical Union; the Geochemical Society; and the Geological Society of Australia. He has also been awarded the Jaeger Medal for career excellence in earth sciences from the Australian Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Doctorate from Curtin University.
The Australian Laureate Fellowships scheme supports excellence in research at Australian universities by attracting world-class researchers and research leaders to key positions and creating rewards and incentives for their talents. This year, 17 fellowships valued at $46.6 million over five years were awarded Australia-wide. The fellowships are administered by the ARC.