Central to the purpose of the Australian Academy of Science, is the recognition and support of outstanding contributions to the advancement of science. Dr Ceridwen Fraser has won the prestigious Fenner Medal. The Fenner Medal recognises outstanding contributions to science by the late Professor FJ Fenner, AC, CMG, MBE, MD, FAA, FRS. Its purpose is to recognise distinguished research in biology (excluding the biomedical sciences) by researchers up to 10 years post-PhD in the calendar year of nomination, except in the case of significant interruptions to a research career.
Dr Ceridwen Fraser’s research combines genetic with environmental and ecological data to discover the processes that drive biodiversity patterns. She has contributed extensively to our understanding of how plants and animals can travel long distances to colonise new lands, and to our knowledge of how species responded to past climate change. For example, her work has revealed evidence that, during past ice ages, many shallow-water marine species were scoured from sub-Antarctic shores by sea ice, while land-based Antarctic species sheltered near warm volcanoes. Her research has also helped us to understand how established populations can block immigrants, and how large-scale disturbances (such as earthquakes) that wipe out communities can thus create opportunities for immigration and change. Her research is grounded in assessment of how past processes have influenced contemporary biodiversity patterns, but has important implications for management of biodiversity into the future, particularly in the face of rapid environmental change.
To see the full list of 2018 awardees with outstanding contributions to science visit the Australian Adaemcy of Science website.