An Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) scientist has received this year’s Royal Society of Tasmania Medal.

Professor Harvey Marchant was awarded the prestigious medal for his prolific contribution to science and scientific publications over many years.

He has been widely published in science journals around the world with a well-deserved reputation as an innovator.

Professor Marchant is head of the AAD’s Biology Program and has a long and proven record in the promotion of science within the Antarctic and general science communities and to the broader public. He was senior editor of the book Australian Antarctic Science: the first 50 years of ANARE.

His program studies the microscopic life of the Southern Ocean such as single-celled plants and animals phytoplankton and protozoa, bacteria and viruses.

Phytoplankton are the foundation of the marine web and can influence Earth’s climate. These minute plants draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce about 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe.

As well as his work with the entire plankton community around Antarctica he has also contributed to detailed taxonomy — the description of species.

Professor Marchant’s expertise extends beyond his science to management where he has considerable experience and to teaching with the supervision of many post-graduate students.

He has played an active role in several major international committees and working groups including the SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research) Group of Specialists on Southern Ocean Ecology and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) established by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Background — Royal Society of Tasmania

The aim of the Society is the Advancement of Knowledge. The original Royal Society was founded in London in 1660. The Royal Society of Tasmania was started in 1843, receiving Royal Charter in 1844 and is the oldest scientific society in the world outside the United Kingdom.