The Governor-General of Australia, Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, presented the 2011 Australian Antarctic Medal at a ceremony on board the ice-breaker Aurora Australis in Hobart today.

Leading Antarctic Marine Biologist, Dr Stephen Nicol, and a Master of Australia’s Antarctic research and resupply vessel, Captain Murray Doyle, each received the Medal for service in the Antarctic region.

Dr Nicol is the world’s foremost Antarctic krill scientist, with more than 33 years experience studying the biology, conservation and management of krill and their role in the Southern Ocean food chain.

He has spent long periods in the Southern Ocean, leading and participating in nine marine science voyages between 1987 and 2006 and 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 sub-Antarctic 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 unpredictable tempestuous Southern Ocean and challenging ice conditions of the Antarctic.

Also today, the Antarctic community celebrated the 100th anniversary of the departure of Sir Douglas Mawson’s Australasian Antarctic Expedition from Hobart.

One hundred years to the day a large flotilla of Antarctic cruise ships, local yachts and the Aurora Australis, re-enacted the start of Mawson’s journey south, sailing down the Derwent River to a 19-gun salute.

The Aurora Australis continued heading south on Voyage 2 of the Antarctic season, with 53 expeditioners on board bound for Casey station.