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News no tags 30 Jul 2019

Tony Roach Prize Winner

Dr Dominic McAfee wins the Tony Roach Prize

The Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) and the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) are pleased to announce the winner of the Tony Roach Prize in Marine Environmental Science. The prize is in memory of Dr. Tony Roach and his long career and contributions to marine science in New South Wales. The prize is given to the best paper by a young scientist on any aspect of marine or estuarine environmental science, for research done in NSW. The winner receives a cash award of $1500.

This year’s winner is Dr. Dominic McAfee, from Macquarie University, now at Univesity of Adelaide for his paper in the Journal of Animal Ecology entitled:

 

"Fast-growing oysters show reduced capacity to provide a thermal refuge to intertidal biodiversity at high temperatures"

Dom's research shows that oysters dampen the extremities of the changing climate on marine communities by buffering heat and dehydration stress marine animals experience during low-tide. For the dense communities of animals that live among oysters, the research showed that oysters reduce their physiological stress during heat events, and how this can buffer the impacts of climate on marine communities over thousands of kilometres. This work is being used to advocate for the conservation of oyster habitat as a strategy for assisting the climate adaptation of marine communities.

Currently Dom is working on the largest oyster reef restoration project in the southern hemisphere, restoring 20 hectares of native oyster reef in South Australia. Just 200 years ago, thousands of kilometres of oyster reef encrusted the seafloor along Australia’s southern coast, but today no reefs remain and the native oyster is functionally extinct. Excitingly, early signs from Windara Reef hold real promise for reviving this lost ecosystem, which can build ecological resilience for the broader coastal environment.