Professor Frank Fenner's outstanding contributions to science have been recognised in many ways, among them the Frank Fenner Medal, established by the Australian Academy of Science to recognise the achievements of younger researchers in the plant and animal sciences. Professor Fenner's work on the Myxoma virus literally changed the Australian landscape in the nineteen fifties, when myxomatosis all but eradicated the European rabbit, recognised as the country's worst vertebrate pest.
The inaugural winner of the Fenner Medal is Prof Hugh Possingham of Adelaide University's Department of Applied and Molecular Ecology, another scientist who has done much in the field of wildlife conservation. Professor Possingham's extensive citation lists his many achievements in the field of applied and pure theoretical ecology; work which won him (with Dr David Lindenmayer) the 1999 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research.
Much of Professor Possingham's work has been done in collaborative teams within Australia and overseas, and he is heavily involved in developing links between the scientific community and society, through science communication, advising government and non-government organisations, and membership of many committees and boards.
Professor Possingham is recognised as a world authority on using mathematical and computational tools to gain a deeper understanding of ecological systems, combining this with a great enthusiasm and skill for solving applied problems in ecological and conservation management. He is also a skilled naturalist who plays an active role in the work of voluntary naturalist and conservation societies.
The Fenner Medal will be presented to Professor Possingham at the Academy's Annual General Meeting on 5th May.