The Nature Conservancy Australia with The Thomas Foundation today launched a major new award designed to foster research by young scientists into important taxonomic works with significant implications for conservation in Australia.
The Australian Conservation Taxonomy Award is a $10,000 award that covers funding for a research project and costs associated with attending the Australasian Systematic Botany Society conference.
Professor Adrienne Clarke AC, a botanist and member of The Nature Conservancy’s Australian advisory board, says, “Science is an essential part of the way we operate to assist in identifying creative solutions to our most pressing conservation issues.”
“Taxonomy is fundamental to understanding biodiversity and so is incredibly important for conservation,” she adds.“This importance is increasing — as we measure the response and adaptation of biodiversity to climate change it is essential to have a good understanding of species and subspecies and their relationships to other taxa.”
Professor Clarke says there is a shortage of trained taxonomists and curators and so support for the profession is critical.
Announcing the award, Max Bourke AM, Executive Director of The Thomas Foundation, says, “For many years now The Thomas Foundation has been trying to assure the science and more importantly the future scientists underpinning the study and protection of biodiversity are available. We hope that this will be another step in that process building on the support for young ecologists of previous years.”
“The Australian Conservation Taxonomy Award was not just a useful financial contribution to a high quality research project but an opportunity to build stronger links with The Nature Conservancy and its partner organisations that have a lasting impact on conservation,” Bourke says.
The award was launched at the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne. The Australasian Systematic Botany Society will administer the award. Funding has been made available through The Thomas Foundation. Applications will open in early 2012.
The Thomas Foundation was established in 1998 by David Thomas and his wife, Barbara. The conservation of biodiversity has always been part of the Foundation’s focus. The Foundation adopts a strategic planning approach to its grant-making and considers its grants to be investments in forming social capital. The Foundation’s mission is: “Arresting the decline of biodiversity in Australia and encouraging others to do likewise.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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