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People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.

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Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution

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Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au

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Research leader wins top science honour

23
May 2016

One of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies‘ top researchers has received Australia’s most prestigious science honour – fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science.

The Academy today announced the election of Distinguished Professor David Bellwood as Fellow for his sustained and significant contributions to Australian science.

Professor Bellwood is a Chief Investigator with the Centre and the fifth JCU Professor to be elected to the Academy. He said it’s an honour to join the elite, 500-strong Fellowship.

“It’s a wonderful feeling. I’m delighted to be part of a fellowship that includes so many people that I admire and respect – it’s an absolute treat!”

Professor Bellwood is a leading expert on the evolution and ecology of reef fishes. The central theme of his research is to understand the functional role that fishes play on coral reefs, and how reefs have changed through evolutionary time.

David Bellwood said he has always been fascinated by marine life.

“Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems in the world. In Australia they’re worth billions of dollars to our economy, and around the world millions of people rely on coral reefs for a source of nutrition and income.

“For me, I like to look at fishes as machines. I like to see the way they operate and this gives us a new understanding of how reefs are working.”

He said one of the best parts of his job is to teach the next generation of scientists.

“The world is changing and we’ve got a lot of environmental problems and coral reefs are particularly vulnerable. What we need to be able to do is to give the next generation the tools that they’re going to need to be able to cope with these changes.

“One of my main goals is to give future students, future researchers, the confidence to question and to think for themselves because we’re going to need to be innovative, imaginative and bold if we’re going to address the problems that we currently face,” Professor Bellwood said.

Raw videos, edited short videos and photos of Prof Bellwood are available at:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ftej1m0e64rm0xy/AABAEz9VZafIEkl0afHj14D2a?dl=0

Award information:

  • 21 new Fellows have elected for significant contributions to science.
  • The Academy now has a total of 511 Fellows and corresponding (foreign) members.
  • The biggest single state grouping of new Fellows is from Queensland, with eight new Fellows.
  • Fellows will be admitted during a formal ceremony in Canberra on the afternoon of Monday 23rd of May, during which they will sign the Academy’s Charter Book (alongside names such as Douglas Mawson, Mark Oliphant, Elizabeth Blackwell, Frank Fenner, Suzanne Cory, Brian Schmidt, Peter Doherty, and Ian Frazer).
  • Fellows will make presentations of their work at ‘Science at the Shine Dome’ on Tuesday 24 May.
  • Election to the Fellowship of the Academy is a lengthy and rigorous process, and Fellows are chosen because they are found to be eminent for their scientific attainments and research in natural science, which has advanced the sum of knowledge.
  • The Australian Academy of Science is a not-for-profit organisation of individuals elected for their outstanding contributions to science and research.

For further information contact

Kylie Simmonds
Communications Manager
ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies James Cook University
+61 (0)7 4781 6067, +61 (0)428 785 895 or kylie.simmonds1@jcu.edu.au

Professor David Bellwood has been admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Credit: Richard Davis/ JCU
Professor David Bellwood has been admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. Credit: Richard Davis/ JCU

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au