SHINING STAR OF SCIENCE: Dr Damien Maher will be presented with the prestigious CERF Scientific Cronin Award for his coastal and estuarine research.
SHINING STAR OF SCIENCE: Dr Damien Maher will be presented with the prestigious CERF Scientific Cronin Award for his coastal and estuarine research. Marc Stapelberg

CSG research leads to prestigious international award

SOUTHERN Cross University lecturer Dr Damien Maher will be awarded a prestigious prize in Rhode Island, USA after doing high impact research on coastal areas.

The CERF Scientific Cronin Award for early achievement recognises the significant accomplishments of an estuarine scientist who is in the early stages of his/her career development.

Dr Maher will be the third Australian recipient of the award in the award's 20 year history.

 

Dr Maher said the broad swathe of research he did saw him travel all over the world including Australia, Asia, America, and Europe.

He said it had appeal to the selection committee because of its engagement with the community, and the broader implications of the research.

His work on carbon cycling and how climate change was influencing the carbon cycle in rivers, estuaries, and the coastal systems; research on coral reefs, sea grass systems, and mangroves; looking at the ground water/surface water connection and how utilising those ground water resources can influence the biology and ecology of rivers and estuaries all took place in the first five years since graduating from his PHD.

"I have been doing a broad sweep of research across a bunch of really important and relevant areas," he said.

"I was really ecstatic when I heard I had won, it is such an honour to win this award."

It was the first time Dr Maher had entered the award and it was his research on how coal seam gas development may influence downstream rivers that was highlighted by the selection committee.

"Anything that influences ground water flow or the supply of ground water to surface water and how that flows from mountains to the coast has implications for the coastal systems," Dr Maher said.

"You have to look at these things much more broadly because what happens up stream affects downstream."

But it has not all been smooth sailing with often difficult conditions involved in obtaining the research.

"I have done a lot of work in mangroves for example which is hot and steamy with lots of mosquitoes and midges.

"And you are sitting out there on a boat for a couple of weeks taking samples very regularly and not sleeping so much and getting eaten."

Dr Maher will travel to the USA to receive his award.



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