University of St Andrews
 
 
Sea Mammal Research Unit

SMRU News Centre

item 744
[27-11-2011 to 31-01-2012]


News Item:
SMRU Awarded Queen's Anniversary Prize

The University of St Andrews has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of the work of a world-leading research unit which is helping to further understanding and protection of the oceans.

The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at the University of St Andrews is among the winners in the Diamond Jubilee Round of The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education.

The Anniversary Prizes, which recognise excellence in higher education and research, were announced at a reception at St James Palace, London, on Thursday 24 November 2011.

The Sea Mammal Research Unit has become a world leader in applied research promoting best practice in the health and governance of the ocean environment.  Based at the East Sands, St Andrews, the Unit is part of the University’s School of Biology and Scottish Oceans Institute. It operates from the tropics to the poles and maintains a particular focus on the UK’s seas.  Its academic staff and graduate team specialise in research on marine mammals - primarily seals, whales and dolphins – using innovative monitoring techniques.

The sea mammals which SMRU monitor provide a unique and sensitive early warning system to track and measure a range of factors concerned with the sustainability of human exploitation of the seas. 

With the scale and nature of industrial exploitation of the oceans rapidly developing, there is increasing demand for and impact of SMRU’s services, and its contribution to national policies.

Professor Ian Boyd, Director of the Unit, and University Chancellor Sir Menzies Campbell, were at St James Palace to hear the announcement. Professor Boyd said:

“Marine mammals are a bit like the canary in the cage. If we know how to read their behaviour and populations we can minimise the effect of our resource exploitation on the ocean. Although we need to exploit the ocean we also need to find ways of doing this sustainably. Marine mammals have a capacity to tell us when we are reaching the limits.

“My colleagues and I are delighted that our institution has been recognised in this way. It is truly a privilege to work with such magnificent animals and to have the job of translating their importance into information that the public can use. We also recognise that the institute is a hub in a global network of scientists and collaborators who share our passion for understanding these enigmatic creatures.”

Full Press Release

More about the Queen's Anniversary Prizes

contact: Prof Ian Boyd


 

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  • “Biodiversity lessons from the Amazon River Basin: A two-part fish story”
    speaker: Prof Carlos E. C. Freitas and Prof Lawrence E. Hurd (Federal University of Amazonas and Washington & Lee University)

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    Carlos E. C. Freitas is a full professor at the Federal University of Amazonas and a visiting professor at Washington & Lee University.  He is a freshwater biologist and his main research area includes fish ecology, population dynamics and inland fisheries.  He is the head of several research projects supported by Brazilian agencies and has published papers in journals such as Ecological Modeling, Hydrobiologia, Ecology of Freshwater Fish, Ecological Engineering, and Fisheries Management and Ecology

     

    Lawrence E. Hurd is the Herwick Professor of Biology at Washington & Lee University.  He is an ecologist, with primary research interests in the role of apex predators in arthropod assemblages of terrestrial ecosystems, and in the structure and dynamics of tropical fish assemblages in the Amazon River Basin of Brazil.  He has published in journals such as Science, Ecology, J. Animal Ecology, Oecologia, and Environmental Entomology.

     

    Also visiting with Profs Reitas and Hurd is Flavia K. Siqueira-Souza who is an associate professor at the Federal University of Amazonas.  She is a freshwater biologist and her primary research field is fish ecology aiming to understand the key factors structuring fish assemblages in Amazonian aquatic environments.  She has published papers on this subject in journals such as Hydrobiologia and Ecology of Freshwater Fish.

     

    There will be an opportunity after the lecture for anyone interested in an interactive discussion with Prof Hurd and his colleagues.  Depending on numbers, this will take place in either the Laverack or Seminar Room.


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