Science

Richard Kingsford wins Serventy Medal

Richard Kingsford
Wednesday, 22 August, 2012
Bob Beale

Professor Richard Kingsford has been honoured by BirdLife Australia with the award of the D.L.Serventy Medal. He was awarded the medal for his outstanding contribution in the science of ornithology in the Australasian region.

Professor Kingsford is Professor of Environmental Science in the UNSW School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences and Director of the Australian Wetlands, Rivers and Landscapes Centre

The citation for the medal, which is named after the late Dr Dominic Serventy - an eminent Perth based Australian ornithologist - reads as follows:

"Kingsford became a member of the Royal Australian Ornithological Union in 1987. At the University of Sydney the previous year, he completed his Ph.D. on the reproductive biology and habitat use of the maned duck. Since then, Richard has published profusely and, backed by the credibility of his science, he has been a fearless advocate for conservation. Richard’s early professional life (1986–2004) was with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service where he was a Principal Research Scientist. Since 2005, he has been Professor of Environmental Science at the University of NSW where he established the Australian Wetlands and Rivers Centre.

"Richard’s scientific publications, notes, book chapters, occasional papers, edited books etc, exceed 160 of which half are peer reviewed. This work began with papers on the biology and ecology of Australian waterbirds, including the effects of hunting on ducks. By the late 1990s, while retaining a strong focus on birds, his work was principally concerned with broadscale conservation of wetlands.

"Highlights of this work include 'Aerial surveys as a measure of river and landscape and floodplain health’ published in  Freshwater Biology (1999), leading author of ‘Imposed hydrological stability on lakes in arid Australia and effect on waterbirds’ published in Ecology (2004) and editing the book Ecology of Desert Rivers (2006).

"In the last decade, publications have resulted from all of Richard’s major research and conservation work: ecology and management of the Paroo Wetlands and the Lake Eyre Basin; environmental flows and the ‘River Bank’ program; biodiversity and threatened species in the Austral-Pacific Region; National Waterbird Survey of Australia; the effects of levee banks on river flows; effects of altered flow regimes on waterbird and shorebird populations and breeding; adaptive management in the Macquarie Marshes; managing ecosystem change and biodiversity in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area; river flows to Lower Lakes and the Coorong; WISE (Water Information Systems for the Environment); ecology of desert rivers; and the aerial surveys of waterbirds in eastern Australia (annually since 1983).

"Richard has a strong involvement with the promotion and reviewing of publications. He has published extensively with his many honours and post-graduate students and he currently serves on the editorial boards of three international journals: Rivers Research and Applications, Wildlife Research and Emu – Austral Ornithology.

"Over more than two decades, Richard has served on dozens of conservation committees from local, for instance as the Independent Scientifi c Member of the Cooper Creek Catchment Committee since 1998, to international, for instance as a Governor of WWF (2006–09).

Richard has developed a strong media presence and few Australians, policy-makers and politicians, will not have been influenced by the force of the evidence that he recites and his passion for wetland conservation.

Professor Richard Kingsford is a highly effective proponent for the conservation of Australian waterbirds and their habitats with an outstanding record of publication in ornithology in Australia and is a laudable recipient of the D. L. Serventy Medal."

Media contacts:

Richard Kingsford - richard.kingsford@unsw.edu.au

Bob Beale - 0411 705 435 bbeale@unsw.edu.au