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Newsroom Releases 2014 November Coral reef scientists win QLD Young Tall Poppy science awards

25/11/2014
Coral reef scientists win QLD Young Tall Poppy science awards
Townsville-based marine biologist, Dr Sue-Ann Watson has been named Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year. The prestigious award recognises Dr Watson’s work at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University on the effects of rising carbon dioxide on coral reef organisms.

Coral reef scientists win QLD Young Tall Poppy science awards

Townsville-based marine biologist, Dr Sue-Ann Watson has been named Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.

The prestigious award recognises Dr Watson’s work at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University on the effects of rising carbon dioxide on coral reef organisms.

Dr Watson has recently shown that ocean acidification not only harms invertebrate shell production, but also impairs the behaviour of marine animals.

“These altered response interactions, due to rising carbon dioxide, can affect an animal’s response to its predators, and could have far-reaching implications for marine food webs,” she says.

Dr Watson says it’s an honour to be recognised for her research.

“I am delighted, it is such an honour to be part of the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) Young Tall Poppy program,” she says.

“I’m looking forward to participating in the science communication and community outreach activities that the Young Tall Poppy scheme provides to help promote science among school students and the broader community.”

Dr Pip Cohen, a scientist with the international research organisation WorldFish and a graduate and Adjunct Research Fellow in the Coral CoE, has also received one of Queensland’s Young Tall Poppy Awards for her work on small-scale fisheries governance among the least developed nations in the Pacific.

Dr Cohen uses interdisciplinary research to address the urgent need to improve environmental sustainability and food security in developing countries.

She has worked with economists, ecologists and anthropologists to produce a framework to guide integrated conservation policies.

“My research is conducted in developing countries, and as much as possible, by working alongside local fishing communities and national governments,” says Dr Cohen.

“This means I regularly need to communicate my science and make sure it can help answer questions of concern to those communities and countries.”

“The Tall Poppies award recognises the importance of communicating science for the benefit of the community, whether that is talking to school children or holding discussions with fishing communities on Pacific Islands,” Dr Cohen says.

The Australian Institute of Policy and Science established the Young Tall Poppy awards in 1998 to recognise and celebrate Australian intellectual and scientific excellence.

The award aims to encourage young Australians to follow in the footsteps of Australia’s outstanding achievers and to help raise the profile of science in the broader community.

Recipients are encouraged to give their time to outreach programs, working with teachers and students to promote the study of science and careers in the field.

Contacts:

Dr Sue-Ann Watson, +61 (0) 7 4781 5672, sueann.watson@jcu.edu.au

Dr Pip Cohen, +61 (0) 400 468 255, p.cohen@cgiar.org

Eleanor Gregory, Coral CoE Communications, +61 (0) 428 785 895, eleanor.gregory@jcu.edu.au