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

26 Jun 2017
Dr Shaw

University of Queensland researcher Dr Justine Shaw is on a roll this week, winning a national award and having two pieces published in the prestigious scientific journal, Nature.

She is one of 14 Australian women researchers to win the national 2017 Peer Prize for Women in the category Earth, Environment & Space for research on climate change and species.

Dr Shaw is a Research Fellow in UQ’s School of Biological Sciences examining conservation decision-making in the terrestrial Antarctica and sub-Antarctic, with a particular focus on non-native species.

Her position is collaborative between the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), UQ and the National Science Environmental Programme.

CEED Director Professor Kerrie Wilson congratulated Dr Shaw on the high calibre of her work, reflected in her award and on her Nature publications.

The first is a study predicting expansion of ice-free areas of Antarctica due to climate change, and in the second, Dr Shaw is a co-signatory of a comment piece ahead of the G20 in Hamburg, outlining the urgent action the world needs to see by the year 2020.

“The comment piece led by Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres calls for bending the emissions curve by 2020 which is a monumental challenge, but it is necessary, desirable, and most of all, it’s achievable,” Dr Shaw said.

“We explain why and how.”

Dr Shaw is currently examining the risks posed by non-native species to Antarctic protected areas, examining the interactions between indigenous and non-native species, and investigating how invasive species influence ecosystem function.

She is researching the role of invasive vertebrates as drivers of invasive plant distribution and abundance, and how these change over time, space and management regimes.

She is interested in ways of dealing with uncertainty in large scale eradication attempts.

Dr Shaw said the team published their research in Science earlier this year demonstrating the serious consequences of this species redistribution due to climate change.

The Species on the Move Thinkable submission, based on this publication, was led by Associate Professor Gretta Pecl of the University of Tasmania. It included researchers from James Cook University, Monash, Southern Cross University, University of Western Australia, University of Wollongong and University of New South Wales.

Awarded by the science and innovation website Thinkable.org 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 multidisciplinary team will use the prize money to support research and preparations for a follow-up Species on the Move conference to be held in South Africa in 2019. They aim to be able to support women scientists.

View the video summarising the study.

Media: Dr Justine Shaw, j.shaw6@uq.edu.au+61 429 422 921