Emeritus Professor Richard Frankham, an influential biologist, researcher and long-standing Research Associate of the Australian Museum, has recently been awarded the prestigious 2023 Ulysses S. Seal Award for Innovation in Conservation. This award honours the legacy of the IUCN Conservation Planning Specialist Group’s founder and first Chair, Dr Ulysses S. Seal.
Emeritus Professor Richard (Dick) Frankham has been awarded the 2023 Ulysses S. Seal Award for Innovation in Conservation, an award given biennially to an individual who exemplifies innovation and the application of science to conservation. And Professor Frankham certainly fits the bill – as a leading researcher, thinker and innovator in conservation and evolutionary genetics for over 50 years, holding positions around the world and publishing significant, foundational works, Dick has been honoured with this award in San Diego, California USA at the Conservation Planning Specialist Group’s annual meeting.
The award honours the legacy of Dr Ulysses S. Seal, an influential scientist, who was passionate about how novel science could be most effectively applied to solving problems in wildlife conservation. An integral part of Ulie's work was to emphasise the importance of recognising and championing those who are making innovative contributions. Past recipients of the award include Dame Georgina Mace (the driving force behind the establishment of the Red List Categorization System for endangered species), Bengt Holst, Susie Ellis, Jeremy Mallison, and many more.
Professor Frankham was nominated and awarded the honour recently, for his significant contributions to conservation biology and genetics, including laboratory animal modelling, computer modelling, meta analyses, and Darwinian syntheses. As a highly influential and internationally renowned expert and researcher, Dick has held positions at the University of Chicago, Macquarie University and Harvard University and most recently was awarded a MJD White Medal of the Genetics Society of Australasia in 2017 in Dunedin, New Zealand for his career contributions to conservation and evolutionary genetics and a Whitley Book Award by the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales in 2019. Dick has published nearly 200 research papers which have been heavily cited, and has led international teams, writing the first ever textbooks on conservation genetics and on genetically managing fragmented animal and plant populations. This substantial body of novel and highly impactful scientific research have wide applications and have been pivotal for educating and training future generation of scientists.
Professor Frankham and his collaborators have made, and continue to make, pioneering, innovative, and highly influential contributions to the relatively young discipline of conservation genetics, a field that contributes to saving the planet’s biodiversity. Dick uses his platform to showcase Australia’s unique fauna, wildlife management challenges and solutions to an international audience.
Congratulations to Emeritus Professor Richard Frankham, a truly deserving recipient of this award!
Meagan Warwick, AMRI and External Partnerships Coordinator, Australian Museum.
Dr Mark Eldridge, Principal Research Scientist, Terrestrial Vertebrates, Australian Museum.
- Conservation Planning Specialist Group.
- Warwick, M. and Eldridge, M. 2019. Honouring Professor Richard Frankham: Winner of the 2019 Whitley Special Commendation Certificate. Australian Museum blog.
- Briscoe, D.A., Malpica, J.M., Robertson, A., Smith, G.J., Frankham, R., Banks, R.G. and Barker, J.S.F. (1992) Rapid Loss of Genetic Variation in Large Captive Populations of Drosophila Flies: Implications for the Genetic Management of Captive Populations. Conservation Biology, 6:416-425.
- Frankham, R., Ballou, J.D. and Briscoe, D.A. (2002) Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Frankham, R., Ballou, J.D. and Briscoe, D.A (2004) A Primer of Conservation Genetics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Frankham, R., Ballou, J.D. and Briscoe, D.A. (2010) Introduction to Conservation Genetics. Second eds. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
- Frankham, R., Ballou, J.D., Ralls, K., Eldridge, M.D.B., Dudash, M.R., Fenster, C.B., Lacy, R.C. and Sunnucks, P. (2017) Genetic Management of Fragmented Animal and Plant Populations. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
- Frankham, R., Ballou, J.D., Ralls, K., Eldridge, M.D.B., Dudash, M.R., Fenster, C.B., Lacy, R.C. and Sunnucks, P. (2019) A Practical Guide for the Genetic Management of Fragmented Animal and Plant Populations. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.