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Scientists Honoured in National Ecology Awards

New Zealand Ecological Society

4 September 2006

Scientists Honoured in National Ecology Awards

South Island scientists Dr Matt McGlone and Dr Colin Meurk have received special recognition from the New Zealand Ecological Society for their professional contribution.

Colin Meurk receives the Ecology in Action Award, recognising excellence and best practice in the promotion of ecology at the grass roots level. A written nomination noted that the award described Dr Meurk’s life perfectly: “Colin Meurk is ecology in action,” it said.

A scientist at Landcare Research, Colin Meurk is well known for his informative public talks and involvement in the protection of native biodiversity, in particular in and around Christchurch. His activities include talking to garden clubs on ways to enhance biodiversity in backyards, showing rare plants to locals on a “Meurky” walk around the Port Hills, or advocating to councillors for the use of native plants in the city. The Ecological Society noted that Colin Meurk’s greatest success is the protection and restoration of Travis Swamp in Christchurch. “Without his enduring passion and commitment, Travis Swamp today would probably be an urban subdivision.” The award acknowledges his passion for ecology and his commitment to sharing his wealth of knowledge.

Dr Matt Mc Glone, also a scientist with Landcare Research, was awarded with the Te Tohu Taiao Award for Ecological Excellence, recognising his outstanding contribution to the study and application of ecological science in New Zealand.

Matt Mc Glone’s scientific interests are varied, ranging from the study of plant distribution and climatic adaptations of New Zealand plant species, over the impacts of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to early impacts of human settlement. His speciality is the ecological and climate change history of New Zealand since the last ice age.

He was honoured in particular for his contribution to current understanding of the origins of plant distributions and their responses to climate change. This work is becoming increasingly important for broader-scale conservation management decisions. Matt McGlone has published over 100 scientific articles in overseas and local journals.

ENDS

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