Inspirational scientist awarded Phillip Law Medal

Women sitting on a mountain with island and water behind
Dr Patricia Selkirk has been awarded the Phillip Law Medal. (Photo: Patricia Selkirk)
Women in orange with backpack on

A scientist with a passion for sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island has been awarded the Phillip Law Medal at a dinner marking the 70th anniversary of the research station.

Dr Patricia Selkirk AAM has undertaken 11 expeditions to Macquarie Island between 1979 and 2004 to study plant taxonomy, adaptations and genetics, landscape ecology and vegetation mapping.

“I have a great affection for Macquarie Island and to see the vegetation of the island recover after the eradication project, and the return of the bird life, is just fantastic,” Dr Selkirk said.

“It’s a real honour to be awarded the Philip Law Medal, especially having met Dr Law who established and led the Australian Antarctic Division for 17 years.”

Dr Selkirk has also undertaken five expeditions to the Antarctic continent, one to Heard Island and one to Îles Kerguelen as a member of Australian, New Zealand and French Antarctic expeditions.

Throughout her career, Dr Selkirk both led and participated in many multi-disciplinary research projects and was instrumental in developing an Antarctic research unit at Macquarie University.

“As a senior lecturer at Macquarie University I was teaching and interacting with students for many years and that’s been a rewarding career.”

Today, as an Honorary Fellow at Macquarie University Dr Selkirk continues her research work and remains interested in Macquarie Island, staying in touch with scientists who study the vegetation on the island.

Dr Selkirk has an extensive publication record, with over 80 refereed Antarctic and sub-Antarctic publications, which include the major reference work ‘Subantarctic Macquarie Island: Environment and Biology’ (Cambridge University Press 1990) – A definitive reference book on the physical and biological features of Macquarie Island and includes a comprehensive annotated bibliography.

The Phillip Law Medal was established by the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition Club in 2011, to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr Law, the Club's founder and patron.

The Award was presented earlier this week by the Lieutenant Governor of Tasmania, the Hon. Justice Alan Blow.