New Australian Antarctic Division Director

Dr Nick Gales took up the position of Director of the Australian Antarctic Division in August.

Dr Gales was the former Chief Scientist of both the Antarctic Division and the Department of the Environment. He has worked in a scientific role at the Division since 2001 and as a member of the Executive since 2012.

Prior to joining the Antarctic Division in 2001, Dr Gales worked as a vet, completed a PhD on Australian sea lions, and ran marine mammal research programs for the Western Australian and New Zealand governments (Australian Antarctic Magazine 23: 1–3, 2012). In the late 1980s he spent two and a half years working as a biologist on elephant seals and penguins at Heard Island and Davis station.

As a senior research scientist at the Antarctic Division, Dr Gales developed a marine mammal program for the Southern Ocean, which provided scientific data and advice to inform the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. He developed a similar science delivery model for the International Whaling Commission, through its Scientific Committee; a role that culminated in him acting as a witness for Australia in the successful International Court of Justice finding against Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program in 2014. Dr Gales was also responsible for developing the Australian Marine Mammal Centre at the Antarctic Division in 2006, which acts as a central point for researchers in the Australasian region to seek funding and collaborate on marine mammal research that informs policy.

In 2011 Dr Gales was appointed Chief Scientist and focused his attention on shaping and delivering a high impact and efficient Antarctic science program. He sits on several Boards and a wide range of international science committees.

As Director, Dr Gales will support Government in its delivery of a 20 year strategic plan for Antarctica, and finalise the acquisition of a new icebreaking research vessel, scheduled for completion in 2019.