Student conservation award for fisheries research

A student from the University of NSW has taken out the John Holliday Student Conservation Award, Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald said today.

Katherine Dafforn was the successful entrant with her project titled ‘Shallow moving structures promote invader dominance.’

Minister Macdonald will tonight present the 27-year-old student with her award at NSW Parliament House, which includes a cash prize of $2,000 and a certificate of achievement.

“Katherine’s interesting project demonstrates the importance of assessing the role of artificial structures in the invasion of marine ecosystems by alien species,” Mr Macdonald said.

“Her experimental work was well designed and she provided a very concise, well written report, demonstrating her clear potential to become an excellent marine scientist.

“She compared the recruitment of invertebrate invaders on fixed and moving structures at various depths.

“Her work highlighted the importance of using fixed structures, because they reduce opportunities for invaders.”

The award was first introduced in 1999 in memory of the late Dr John Holliday, a senior conservation manager with the department who pioneered involvement in aquatic habitat and fish conservation issues.

Dr Holliday died after a long illness with cancer, after devoting 26 years of his life to fisheries conservation.

NSW Department of Primary Industries Chief Scientist, Professor Steve Kennelly, says the award encourages post-graduate students to share their research findings on topics with the department.

“This award is a good opportunity to encourage students to tell us what they’re working on in the areas of fish conservation and aquatic habitats,” he said.