Antarctic Medal awards

Captain Murray Doyle at the controls of the Aurora Australis.
Captain Murray Doyle at the controls of the Aurora Australis. (Photo: Karen Barlow)
Dr Steve Nicol with a jar of krill

Leading Antarctic marine biologist, Dr Steve Nicol, and a Master of Australia's Antarctic research and resupply vessel, Captain Murray Doyle, have been awarded the 2011 Antarctic Medal.

The awards were announced on 21 June 2011 by the Governor General, Her Excellency, Ms Quentin Bryce AC.

Environment Minister Tony Burke congratulated Dr Nicol and Captain Doyle for their outstanding contributions to Australia's Antarctic program.

‘Dr Nicol is the world's foremost Antarctic krill scientist, who has worked in the field for 33 years, transforming the world's understanding of the biology, conservation and management of krill and their role as a food source for other Southern Ocean animals,’ Mr Burke said.

Dr Nicol has been a member of Australia's scientific delegation to the international Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the body responsible for the conservation of the marine ecosystems of the Southern Ocean where his research helped set precautionary catch limits for the krill fishery off most of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Dr Nicol has also spent long periods in the Southern Ocean, leading and participating in nine marine science voyages between 1987 and 2006. His scientific research has appeared in over 100 peer-reviewed publications, including the prestigious journal Nature.

Captain Murray Doyle has been Master of the RSV Aurora Australis for 16 years, supporting the scientific and logistical operations of Australia in the Antarctic and subantarctic regions.

‘During his time as Master, Captain Doyle has developed an exceptional level of experience and skill to safely guide the vessel, crew and expeditioners through the stormy Southern Ocean and challenging ice conditions of the Antarctic,’ Mr Burke said.

‘The ongoing success of Australia's activities in Antarctica is testament to Captain Doyle’s efforts.’

Captain Doyle has also been a Master of the MV Oceanic Viking for two years, playing a pivotal role in protecting the Southern Ocean from Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported fishing.

The Australian Antarctic Medal was established in 1987 and is an award in the Meritorious Service Awards category of the Australian Honours System.

It replaced the (British) Imperial Polar Medal and its variations which date back to 1857 for service in the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

NISHA HARRIS

Corporate Communications, Australian Antarctic Division