Seagrass scientist is Queensland’s 2018 Tall Poppy

Published Friday, 21 September, 2018 at 09:12 AM

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

The Palaszczuk Government has congratulated an environmental scientist from James Cook University who has won the 2018 Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year Award.

Dr Alana Grech, an assistant director at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, received the prestigious honour during a ceremony at Queensland Museum last night (20 September).

Minister for Environment and Science Leeanne Enoch commended Dr Grech on her work, which leverages the power of spatial technology to inform the conservation of Australia's diverse coastal environment.

“Dr Grech uses geographic information systems (GIS) to predict and map coastal wildlife and habitats, with a particular focus on seagrass meadows in the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Enoch said.

“Seagrass meadows play a vital role in the reef’s ecosystem, with many fish, crustaceans, and other marine animals like turtles and dugongs relying on these underwater environments for food, protection and breeding.

“GIS modelling allows Dr Grech to study things like water movement, to measure how various seagrass meadows are connected to each other throughout the reef.

“This visualisation of information is incredibly powerful, as it delivers almost tangible answers to the questions being asked – which will help better inform government policy and conservation efforts in the future.”

The annual Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are hosted by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) in partnership with the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist.

The awards recognise and celebrate individuals who demonstrate scientific excellence and a unique passion for science communication.

In addition to Dr Grech, another 13 young scientists and researchers were recognised as finalists at the Queensland Tall Poppy Awards, including:

  • Dr Michelle Langley (Griffith University) Archaeological science
  • Dr Roisin McMahon (Griffith University) Biochemistry and structural biology
  • Dr Michael Simmonds (Griffith University) Physiology and blood rheology
  • Dr Qilin Wang (Griffith University) Sewage treatment and environmental engineering
  • Dr Georgina Gurney (James Cook University) Environmental social science
  • Dr Sean Coakley (The University of Queensland) Neuroscience
  • Dr Jacinda Ginges (The University of Queensland) Atomic tests of the standard model/physics
  • Dr Amirali Popat (The University of Queensland) Nanomedicine
  • Dr Jacquiline Romero (The University of Queensland) Quantum photonics and quantum information
  • Dr Teresa Ubide (The University of Queensland) Volcanology and geochemistry
  • Dr Hosam Zowawi (The University of Queensland) Infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance
  • Dr James Blinco (QUT) Polymer and organic chemistry
  • Dr Rajib Rana (University of Southern Queensland) Computer science and chronic disease

AIPS created the Tall Poppy Campaign in 1998 to celebrate scientific excellence and achievement, and to inspire young Australians to pursue careers in STEM, while also raising the profile of science in the broader community.


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