A passion for fish and sharks, and a desire to better understand how climate change will impact marine species has seen Townsville based scientist Dr Jodie Rummer win one the prestigious Australia L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowships for 2015.
Dr Rummer, a marine biologist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, is one of four scientists from Australia and New Zealand to be recognised with the highly competitive award.
The Fellowship provides $25 000 to support recipients with their research and foster the careers of women scientists.
Dr Rummer says she is honoured to receive the award, which will help support her work on predicting how sharks and other fish will cope with rapidly changing oceans.
“Fish have been evolutionary winners, but we don’t know how they will adapt with the rapid changes taking place in the oceans now,” Dr Rummer says.
“Some will be winners, some will be losers as the climate changes and that’s a problem not just for the oceans, but also for the communities that depend on fish for protein.”
“Fish have been on the planet for hundreds of millions of years. It’s up to us to ensure they’re here for the next 100 million years,” she says.
Dr Rummer’s research examines how oxygen transport works in fish and how it is affected by stress and their ability to adapt to their habitats.
To get a better understanding of the capacity of fish to adapt, Dr Rummer is working with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, in Papua New Guinea, and in French Polynesia.
Her L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship will help expand her work in the world’s largest shark sanctuary in Moorea, French Polynesia.
There she will study sicklefin lemon and black-tip reef sharks, which may be less able to adapt to future ocean conditions.
“In the long term, understanding how sharks will respond to future ocean conditions will help us make wise decisions needed to protect and conserve the world’s fish populations in general,” Dr Rummer says.
Dr Rummer’s work has attracted global scientific and media attention. She is also a strong advocate for improving the status of women in science.
Jodie Rummer is a Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, where she holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (ARC DECRA).
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