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Previous 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.


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

Heidi was awarded for her paper resulting from her PhD work at 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 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. 


Dr. Donald McLusky, Awarded in 2015 at ECSA55, London, UK

Dr. Donald McLusky was awarded the ECSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the ECSA55 meeting in London in 2015.

Donald was a Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology at the University of Stirling, Scotland, where he also served as the Head of Department and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Science. His Ph.D. was on the physiology of the estuarine amphipod Corophium in which he did pioneering work to look at its responses to salinity changes. The PhD resulted in several important papers and has been cited many times, and formed the basis for his later work in the UK and Denmark on the salinity tolerances of other species. Subsequently Donald focussed on the ecology of estuaries in eastern Scotland, with studies of the intertidal fauna and links between these and their predators. He became the main focus for any enquiries about the Forth Estuary. Following studies on environmental impacts of various large industrial complexes, he moved on to studies on the toxicological effects of various pollutants to estuarine and marine invertebrates. 

Donald supervised many post-graduate students in Scotland and also in Sri Lanka, Bahrain and Portugal as well as advising students in Denmark and Sweden – former students are now in laboratories around the world. He was a Visiting fellow at the University of Copenhagen's marine laboratory at Helsingor, as well as a Visiting Professor at the University of Paris, and Rivers State University, Nigeria. 

Donald started researching and teaching about estuaries at a time when they were regarded as the ends of rivers or complicated inlets of the sea rather than ecosystems in their own right. He can rightly claim to have established estuaries as coherent ecosystems which needed studying. He was a founding member in 1972 of the then EBBA, the Estuarine and Brackish-Water Biology Association, which then morphed into EBSA (Estuarine & Brackish-water Sciences Association) and eventually ECSA (the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association). For many years he edited the ECSA Bulletin and then became the Honorary Secretary of ECSA and now serves as a Trustee of the Association. He was a member of the Council of the Scottish Marine Biological Association, a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Scottish Natural Heritage and was instrumental in starting the long-running Scottish Marine Group and Scottish Freshwater Group as well as other local study groups. He has provided advice to many bodies including, for example, arbitrating on legal decisions regarding the geographic limits of estuaries. Donald has authored over 60 scientific papers, many chapters and conference papers and a huge number of reports on marine, estuarine and freshwater biology. Based on his PhD thesis, in 1971 Donald wrote ‘The Ecology of Estuaries’ – one of the first books on estuarine ecology aimed at students. He is especially well known for his established textbook “The Estuarine Ecosystem”, now in its 3rd edition. He is the editor of several volumes as proceedings of symposia contributions including “The Freshwaters of Scotland”, “North Sea - Estuarine Interactions” and “The Environment of the Estuary” and “Firth of Forth”. He was the editor of the Elsevier journal Estuarine and Coastal Shelf Science for 10 years and with Eric Wolanski was a Co-editor in Chief of the major Elsevier 12-volume publication “Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science”.


Professor Jiyu CHEN, Awarded in 2013 at ECSA53, Shanghai, China

Professor Jiyu Chen was awarded the ECSA Lifetime Achievement Award at the ECSA53 meeting in Shanghai, China in 2013. He 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, Awarded in 2012 at ECSA50, Venice, Italy

James Cook University’s Professor Eric Wolanski has been awarded the first Estuarine & Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA) Lifetime Achievement Award. This took place at the ECSA50 meeting in Venice, Italy in 2012.

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”.