A prominent shark researcher was tonight awarded one of Queensland’s top science prizes—the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year award.
A/Prof Jodie Rummer from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU) was named the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year. Another Coral CoE researcher, Dr Andrew Hoey, was also recognised as a Young Tall Poppy.
A/Prof Rummer studies the athletic performance in fish—including sharks and rays—and their environmental stressors. She says it’s an honour to be recognised.
“I feel like my work is critical, today perhaps more than ever, in helping to identify issues that Australia and the rest of the world are facing with the effects of climate change on marine ecosystems,” she said.
“My team and I use similar technologies to those used for assessing performance in human athletes. But our goal is to determine how human-induced stressors, especially climate change, are affecting fish performance and therefore their health and the health of the oceans, as a whole.”
“This award acknowledges that we must go beyond the great science that is being done, beyond the laboratory and lecture halls, and communicate our findings and the significance of our research to the next generation, to our communities, to those who can vote, to our politicians and decision makers, and to the rest of the world so that change can happen.”
Dr Hoey’s research focuses on understanding how coral reefs respond to, and recover from, major disturbances, such as coral bleaching and cyclones, and the roles different fish species play in maintaining a healthy reef system.
“By identifying fish that are critical to maintaining reef health, my research helps managers and reef users make informed decisions around how people use the reef and what fish are needed to maximise reef recovery,” he said.
Dr Hoey says the Tall Poppies are a great way of inspiring the next generation of scientists.
“Being named a Queensland Tall Poppy is a huge honour, not only for the recognition of my research but also to join such an outstanding group of previous recipients,” he said.
“It provides a platform to celebrate science and inspire younger Australians to pursue a career in science.”
Coral CoE Assistant Director Dr Alana Grech won the 2018 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year, and Coral CoE researcher Dr Sue-Ann Watson won in 2014.
The annual Queensland Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are hosted by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science in partnership with the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist.