ECSA link to front page

ECSA Award Winners

ECSA Peter Jones Memorial Award Winners

This annual award is given for the best paper by a current PhD student or an individual who has recently been awarded a PhD.

This year ECSA is proud to annouce that the award has been given to two winners:


Dr Rebecca Morris

Morris et al., 2017. Increasing habitat complexity on seawalls: Investigating large- and small-scale effects on fish assemblages. Ecology and Evolution. 7(22):9567-9579.

Rebecca obtained her PhD in September 2016 from The University of Sydney focussing on evaluating the effectiveness of ecological engineering to manage biodiversity in urbanised marine systems.

Rebecca is now a research fellow in the National Centre for Coasts and Climate at the University of Melbourne.


Dr Jonathan Dale

Dale et al., 2017. Sedimentation rhythms and hydrodynamics in two engineered environments in an open coast managed realignment site, Marine Geology, 383:120-131.

Jonathan defended his PhD in December 2017, which investigated the evolution of the sediment regime in a large open coast managed realignment site. 

Jonathan is currently a Research Officer in the School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton.


Dr Peter Mueller

Peter's winning paper published following his PhD on Blue Carbon in the Wadden Sea at the University of Hamburg:

Peter Mueller, Kai Jensen and James Patrick Megonigal. 'Plants mediate soil organic matter decomposition in response to sea level rise’ published in Global Change Biology (2016) 22, 404–414, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13082 .

The published study assessed the impact of accelerated sea-level rise (SLR) on the decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM) in tidal wetlands. Tidal wetlands such as mangroves and salt marshes are increasingly recognized as important long-term carbon sinks, sequestering organic matter and thus carbon dioxide at rates exceeding those of most other ecosystem types. The organic carbon sequestered in these ecosystems has been termed 'blue carbon'. Knowledge on the plant and microbial processes that create blue carbon stocks and dynamics has important implications for management policies and may ultimately help to protect these ecosystems. Furthermore, organic matter sequestration is a primary process by which tidal wetlands gain elevation over time, decreasing their vulnerability to accelerated SLR.


Dr Heidi Burdett

Paper from Heidi's PhD from the University of Glasgow:

Her paper is entitled “Spatiotemporal variability of dimethylsulphoniopropionate on a fringing coral reef: the role of reefal carbonate chemistry and environmental variability”. May 2013. PLOS One, Volume 8, Issue 5, e64651.



ECSA Lifetime Achievement Award

Professor Jiyu CHEN

Professor Jiyu Chen is recognized as a great pioneer of Chinese estuarine and coastal science.

He proposed and established the first Estuarine and Coastal Research Institute in China by the end of the 1940’s. He not only developed estuarine and coastal theory but also converted this into engineering practice, integrating hydro-dynamics, sedimentation and geomorphology. As such, he made great achievements and contributed formidably to the work related to the mitigation of impacts in estuary, coastal engineering, port development, flood disaster prevention and water resources utilization.

Prof. Chen’s scientific achievements were used to solve problems encountered in coastal development of China, especially many large coastal engineering works. As a representative example, he took charge of the development of “Pudong International Airport Relocated Eastwards and Ecological Engineering on Jiuduanshan Shoals” project, and successfully kept the balance between a large engineering construction and the local ecological environment. Also, he was responsible for a project on “The Impact of the Three Gorges Project on the ecological environment of the Yangtze River Estuary”.

He has published many influential books, such as “Dynamic Processes and Geomorphologic Evolution of Yangtze Estuary”, “Chinese Coastal Development Process and Evolution”, “Development principle mode of Yangtze in the last 2000 years”, “Processes of Dynamic Sedimentation in the Yangtze Estuary” and “Development of Yangtze Estuary and its Submerged Delta”.



Professor Eric Wolanski

James Cook University’s Professor Eric Wolanski has been awarded the first Estuarine & Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Professor Wolanski is an Adjunct Professor in JCU’s School of Marine and Tropical Biology and Principal Research Officer in the Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research.

Professor Wolanski was presented with the award in front of almost 600 scientists from 54 countries at a gala dinner in Mestre, near Venice, during ECSA’s 50th international conference in the Italian city.

The award reflects Professor Wolanski’s achievements in marine science over his lifetime, including seven books, his 12-volume Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, and 350 publications in estuarine and coastal science with co-workers in 13 countries.

The volumes took about four years to complete. Professor Wolanski also officially launched The Treatise at the conference.

Professor Wolanksi said it was a “complete surprise” to receive the award and described the accolade as a “wonderful thing”.