A marine researcher at The University of Western Australia has been appointed a Conservation Fellow of the Zoological Society of London - a society that appointed Charles Darwin* a Fellow in 1837.
Professor Jessica Meeuwig, of UWA's Centre for Marine Futures, Oceans Institute and School of Animal Biology, joins one of the world's oldest scientific societies. Established by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1826, the Zoological Society of London is renowned for its breeding programs for endangered species and work in field conservation programs in more than 50 countries.
Professor Meeuwig's main expertise is in marine and fisheries conservation and quantitative modelling. Her research group works across a range of animals and includes projects such as investigating the displacement of humpback whales as a result of coastal development; researching how large sharks and fish use underwater banks and canyons; and how marine sanctuaries generate ecological and economic benefits.
She has worked around the world in places as diverse as the Baltic to the South China Sea and Western Australia. She is a keen science communicator and believes in the important role scientists can play in public debate.
Only a small number of Conservation Fellows are appointed to the Society each year. They are people who have made exceptional contributions to conservation.
Professor Meeuwig said she was delighted to accept the appointment, given the society's global contributions to conservation, both terrestrially and in marine environment.
"It is somewhat daunting to be part of such a distinguished society with its deep and early roots in the conservation sector and reputation for scientific integrity, but I am delighted to have access to the facilities and be part of the Society's scientific community and strengthen international collaborations," she said.
The Society has had a long involvement in the marine environment with sites such as the Indian Ocean's Chagos Archipelago, about 500 km south of the Maldives. The archipelago is the world's largest, fully protected marine sanctuary and Professor Meeuwig and her team, with researchers from the Society, will join an international expedition there later this year.
* Darwin's appointment was made after his five-year expedition on HMS Beagle, during which, as a 22-year-old, he circumnavigated the globe, collecting samples and observations which would enable him to write On the Origin of Species, published in 1859.