Congratulations to Dr Pat Hutchings for the 2010 Silver Jubilee Award of the Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA).

This annual Award - inaugurated in 1988, the ‘Silver Jubilee’ year of AMSA – is presented to a scientist for their outstanding contribution to marine research in Australia

Dr Hutchings, Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum, is recognised for her work researching polychaete seaworms and increasing awareness of their significant role in marine and estuarine ecosystems, her local and international research collaborations, her involvement in marine conservation, and for her mentoring and supervision of students.

In 1970, while still finishing her PhD in the UK, she was recruited by the Australian Museum to an Assistant Curator position. Little was then known about the diversity of Australian polychaetes and she has continued her studies of these amazing animals which occur throughout the marine and estuarine environments.

In her distinguished research career at the Australian Museum she has:

  • described a large number of species predominantly of the Terebellida
  • confirmed that polychaetes are far more closely related to molluscs than to arthropods as previously thought
  • undertaken extensive studies on rates and agents of bioerosion on coral reefs in Australia and in French Polynesia
  • been heavily involved in marine conservation, summarising the conservation status of Australian marine
  • worked with local community groups for the conservation of estuarine wetlands in the Sydney region
  • highlighted the introduction of non-native species into Australian marine coastal waters via ballast water and as hull fouling organisms
  • published prolifically - more than 220 refereed scientific papers, 20 technical reports and numerous popular articles
  • organised the 1st International Polychaete Conference in 1983

Dr Hutchings will co-convene the 11th International Polychaete Conference in Sydney 2013.