Australia’s Antarctic science program has a new Chief Scientist.

Dr Nick Gales has been working with the Australian Antarctic Division for more than 10 years and acting in the Chief Scientist role for the last four months.

Dr Gales started his career as a veterinarian/curator at a zoological marine park in Western Australia and has been involved in marine mammal research and management since 1980.

He has also led the New Zealand Department of Conservation’s marine mammal research program and more recently the Australian Marine Mammal Centre.

The Director of the Australian Antarctic Division, Dr Tony Fleming, said Dr Gales will be overseeing the implementation of the Division’s new 10-year Australian Antarctic science strategic plan released last year.

“Australia is a leader in scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and I’m very confident that Australia’s scientific program will flourish under Dr Gales’ guidance,” Dr Fleming said.

“Dr Gales has extensive research and management experience, as well as familiarity with the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environment, he has wintered at Davis station and studied Antarctic seals on Heard Island.

“Internationally Dr Gales is very well regarded, heading up the Australian science delegation at the International Whaling Commission and sitting on the board of the international Society of Marine Mammalogy.”

Dr Gales said he’s honoured to be the new Chief Scientist and lead Australia’s Antarctic science program.

“I am really excited about working with such a skilled and committed group of researchers to help implement the new science strategic plan for the next decade.

“The research we undertake through the Australian Antarctic program is helping to improve the world’s understanding of the global climate system and inform the government’s approach to conserving Antarctic marine living resources.”

Dr Gales has published more than 100 scientific papers. He takes over the role from John Gunn.