July 1, 2016

Marine Biodiversity Hub researcher Barry Bruce of CSIRO has been awarded the 2016 Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA) Jubilee Award for outstanding contribution to marine research. He will receive his award and deliver a plenary address at the 2016 conference being held jointly by AMSA and the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society on 4─7 July at Wellington, New Zealand.

Barry leads a Hub project that is using cutting-edge technologies to develop a national assessment of white shark population size, and strategies for population monitoring. The project builds on decades of research led and coordinated by Barry to understand white shark movements, behaviour, environmental influences on distribution and local abundance, genetics, and population structure.

Innovative shark tagging and tracking tools pioneered by Barry's teams have become standard practice worldwide. He is a trusted advisor on white sharks, and his research underpins Australian Government planning, policy and decision making.

Shark tracking achievements envied in the US

Widespread respect for Barry and his research is reflected in the many letters of support provided for his AMSA nomination by his peers, both from Australia and overseas.  Assistant Professor Kevin Weng from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science wrote:

'Barry’s work has shown clear patterns in white shark migration in the South West Pacific, identifying major migratory routes as well as hotspots of activity. Barry’s team has been able to put together a more complete picture of white shark biology in Australia than we have in the United States, where we lack data for intermediate age classes.

'I have to say that in the United States we are a bit jealous of what you’ve put together for researching migratory fishes in Australia, with the high level of coordination between national, state and academic groups. Barry has been a key part of this success, which we are hoping to emulate in the US. A few years ago I was irritated that Barry kept looking at his cell phone during a meeting, but later learned that he was receiving messages about the movements of white sharks around the coast of Australia. This was a new technology that I was unaware of at the time, and I was quite impressed!  It has since become widely used in the telemetry field.'

Barry has also contributed to larval invertebrate ecology, larval fish taxonomy and ecology, finfish conservation and ecology, shark and finfish fisheries management, and shark ecology and conservation.


Marine Biodiversity Hub project leader and AMSA Jubilee award winner, Barry Bruce.

Barry Bruce (foreground) and Russell Bradford of CSIRO tag a juvenile white shark. Image: CSIRO