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Current award winners

ECSA Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Ian Potter, Murdoch University, Western Australia, awarded at ECSA57, Perth, Australia

Professor Ian Potter, of the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research, Murdoch University was awarded the ECSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the ECSA56 biannual meeting in Perth, Australia, in September 2018. Prof Potter’s citation remarked on his generous warmth, and deep, affectionate admiration from closest colleagues.  This is no mean feat in academia!

Professor Potter, together with his many research students, colleagues and Australian and international collaborators, has made one of the largest contributions, if not the largest, to the scientific knowledge of the (i) biology and (ii) community ecology of fish and benthic invertebrates in marine and estuarine waters throughout Western Australia, and to the (iii) ecology, systematics and physiology of lampreys Australia-wide. 

Ian’s vast contribution to marine and estuarine science, which he started in the mid-1960s in the United Kingdom and continues to maintain as a Research Professor in the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research (CFFR) at Murdoch University (Australia), is reflected in part by the > 420 journal publications and various book chapters he has authored or co-authored in the above fields. Ian’s extraordinary drive and productivity is complemented by his extensive research impact at a world scale, which is demonstrated by his position on the Thomson Reuters ISI list of highly-cited researchers in the field of Plant and Animal Sciences, where he is one of only 20 Australians or those affiliated with an Australian university. 

Ian’s research has not only greatly expanded the knowledge base of marine and estuarine faunas, but has been vital in informing the strategies of fisheries and environmental managers. As stated by Professor Peter Rogers (CEO, WA Department of Fisheries, 1991-2006), “The work undertaken and led by Ian has been fundamental to the understanding of nearshore marine and estuarine species and their habitats and the interpretation of research for fisheries management…”. Professor Norm Hall (Principal Research Scientist, WA Department of Fisheries) further reiterates that “Ian has, without doubt, provided much of the drive, attention to detail and demand for quality that has been key to the publication of many top quality papers in this field. The information and data produced by those studies are invaluable for the ongoing assessment and management of targeted species.” 

Perhaps Ian’s most important legacy, however, is his tireless commitment to the training of younger scientists, demonstrated by the 60+ Honours and 40+ PhD students he has supervised to completion. This led to Murdoch University and the Australian Fisheries Research and Development Corporation supporting Ian to develop a Murdoch ‘Centre of Excellence’ in fish and fisheries research in 2000 to further assist with providing high quality training to the next generation of fisheries biologists and aquatic ecologists. His scientific rigour, drive for exploring the best contemporary approaches and extensive collaborations with many world-renowned scientists has rightly earned Ian and this Centre the reputation of being the premier provider of research training in fisheries biology in WA.