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Professor Rick Shine wins Walter Burfitt Prize



14 March 2011

Professor Rick Shine receives his Walter Burfitt medal for research of the highest scientific merit, presented by Professor Marie Bashir on February 18 on behalf of the Royal Society of NSW. Image credit: Don Hector.
Professor Rick Shine receives his Walter Burfitt medal for research of the highest scientific merit, presented by Professor Marie Bashir on February 18 on behalf of the Royal Society of NSW. Image credit: Don Hector.

Professor Rick Shine has been awarded the Walter Burfitt Prize, for scientific research of the "highest merit", by the Royal Society of NSW.

The Walter Burfitt Prize is awarded at intervals of three years to the worker in pure or applied science whose papers and other contributions published during the past six years are deemed of the highest scientific merit.

Professor Marie Bashir, AC CVO Governor of NSW and Patron of the Royal Society of NSW, presented the prize to Professor Shine at the Royal Society's Annual Dinner held on 18 February in the University of Sydney's St Paul's college.

Also presented prizes by Professor Bashir at the Annual Dinner were the two other Royal Society Award Winners for 2010 - Kenton Campbell, Emeritus Professor of Geology at the ANU, who won the Clarke Medal and Angela Moles, Associate Professor in the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre at the UNSW, who won the Edgeworth David Medal.

The Royal Society of New South Wales is a learned society whose main function is the promotion and furtherance of science through publication of the Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, organising meetings and awarding prizes.

Professor Shine recently completed a Federation Fellow from the Australian Research Council and is the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in research, including the E. O. Wilson Award by the American Society of Naturalists, the Mueller Medal by the Australian & New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science, the Eureka Prize for biodiversity research, and the Macfarlane Burnet Medal by the Australian Academy of Science. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2003, and received an Order of Australia (AM) in 2005.

A world leader in the ecology and evolution of frogs and reptiles - he is among the world's most highly cited authors in his field - Professor Shine's work in recent years has focused on the biology, impact and control of the cane toad in Australia. In particular, his work explores the way in which ecological research can be used to develop innovative approaches to conservation challenges, especially those faced by native predators affected by cane toads. For example, work by Professor Shine and colleagues has shown that native fauna can be taught to avoid eating cane toads through "conditioned taste aversion", native meat ants can be employed to control cane toads at the juvenile stage and the cane toad's own alarm pheromone can be used to stunt the growth of larval toads.

His research in this area has featured in many media stories in both national and international outlets, and led to him being named as one of Sydney's 100 most influential people, by the Sydney Morning Herald's the(sydney)magazine.


Contact: Carla Avolio

Phone: 02 9351 4543

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