Species on the Move team wins $20 000 national Peer Prize for Women in Science

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Tasmania and a range of organisations and interstate universities has won the national 2017 Peer Prize for Women in the category Earth, Environment & Space.

Awarded by the science and innovation website and sponsored by The Sun Foundation Australia, the prize was voted on-line by researchers from around the world.

The $20 000 annual prize is designed to accelerate open knowledge exchange and cross-disciplinary innovation among women in science.

The Species on the Move team brought together the University of Tasmania’s Gretta Pecl, Julia Blanchard, Sarah Jennings, Jan McDonald, Phillipa McCormack and Cecilia Villanueva with Lorena Falconi (JCU), Charlene Janion-Scheepers (Monash), Vicki Martin (SCU), Nicola Mitchell (UWA), Sharon Robinson (UOW), Justine Shaw (UQ), Jan Strugnell (JCU), and Adrianna Verges (UNSW).

The University of Tasmania’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said the prize was a well-deserved reward for a highly talented team of researchers and would help to highlight the contribution of women in science.

“Women are under-represented in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) so the University strongly supports initiatives such as this aimed at achieving greater equity,” Professor Heywood said.

“I congratulate this impressive group of women, who are making a significant contribution in a critical field of research which has profound implications for industries, communities and ecosystems worldwide.”

Associate Professor Gretta Pecl from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the Centre for Marine Socioecology, who in 2016 instigated and co-convened a major international Species on the Move conference in Hobart, said the team would use the prizemoney to support research and preparations for a follow-up conference in South Africa in 2019.

“On behalf of our team I thank Thinkable and The Sun Foundation Australia for helping to highlight the role of women in science, and I thank and congratulate my colleagues on the Species on the Move team,” Associate Professor Pecl said.

“This prize will help us to further research and highlight the ways that species around the world are responding to climate change, and how these changes will impact on humans now and into the future.

“As their local environments change many plants and animals are responding by moving to higher altitudes, greater depths in the oceans, or towards the poles.

“These changes are already affecting humans and in future we will see an increasing range of challenges emerge, from health risks to economic threats, and from conflict over resources to impacts on the food we eat,” Associate Professor Pecl said.

The entry for the prize was based on this publication:

Pecl GT, Araújo MB, Bell JD, Blanchard J, Bonebrake TC, Chen IC, Clark TD, Colwell RK, Danielsen F, Evengård B, Falconi L, Ferrier S, Frusher S, Garcia RA, Griffis R, Hobday AJ, Janion-Scheepers C, Jarzyna MA, Jennings S, Lenoir J, Linnetved HI, Martin VY, McCormack PC, McDonald J, Mitchell NJ, Mustonen T, Pandolfi JM, Pettorelli N, Popova E, Robinson SA, Scheffers BR, Shaw JD, Sorte CJB, Strugnell JM, Sunday JM, Tuanmu MN, Vergés A, Villanueva C, Wernberg T, Wapstra E, Williams SE, Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: impacts on ecosystems and human well-being, (2017), Science, Vol 355, issue 6332, eaai9214.

A video summarizing the study can be viewed at:

Authorised by the Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
May 1, 2018