NIWA scientist is the recipient of a leading science award


The 2010 winner of the prestigious New Zealand Marine Science Award is NIWA principal scientist, Dr Simon Thrush, in recognition of his enormous contribution to estuarine and coastal studies not only in New Zealand but internationally.

The award recognises a person’s outstanding contribution to marine science in New Zealand. “He is at the very top of his profession worldwide,” says Colin McLay, President of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society. Dr Thrush has published over 170 papers reporting the results of his research, which is characteriSed by carefully designed field experiments, many of which are designed to detect the effects of human impact. “His expertise is in demand worldwide, but he still has the time to mentor and foster the work of young New Zealand scientists who are our future,” says McLay.

The objective of the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Council is to advance knowledge and understanding of marine science in New Zealand. The New Zealand Marine Science Award is presented to individuals who have been instrumental in achieving this. The award was presented at Te Papa on 8 July as part of 2010 Marine Sciences conference dinner.

The recipient is presented with a bronze sculpture, in the form of the internal spire of a gastropod shell, and will give a series of public lectures around New Zealand. Wellington artist, Nick Dryden, designed the sculpture.

Dr Thrush received a BSc Honours from Otago University and then went on to do his doctoral work at the University of East Anglia, UK. He returned to New Zealand as a postdoctoral Fellow before taking up positions at the Water Quality Centre in Hamilton, and at NIWA in Hamilton, where he currently works as a principal scientist and science leader in coastal ecosystems.

He works on many facets of coastal ecology with an outstanding team of highly committed and competent scientists and technicians at NIWA Hamilton. The publicity of his work and ideas, such as in the international journal Frontiers in Ecology, has brought considerable attention to New Zealand’s environmental science.

Dr Thrush also co-leads NIWA’s Coasts and Oceans OBI (a Foundation for Research, Science and Technology funded Outcome-Based Investment). This Foundation for Research, Science and Technology long-term programme works across the wide range of issues that face our marine ecosystems. The work on coastal and estuarine ecosystems focuses on the research need to improve the implementation of ecosystems-based management approaches, it incorporates work on soft-sediment and rocky reef habitats around New Zealand.It involves collaboration between NIWA and the Universities of Auckland, Waikato, Victoria and Canterbury as well as key resource management and conservation agencies in New Zealand. It is the principal coastal science programme in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Marine Sciences Society is a non-profit organisation, established in 1960, to foster an understanding and appreciation of our marine environment. The New Zealand Marine Science Award is now in its 26th year.

Dr Simon Thrush in the Baltic Sea

Credit photographer: Alf Norkko

For further comment please call:

Colin McLay
New Zealand Marine Sciences Society
Christchurch, NZ