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For love, not money

22 June 2011

Professor Steve OrmerodProfessor Steve Ormerod

A Cardiff ecologist has been honoured with an award that recognises "those who do it out of love, not for money."

Professor Steve Ormerod, Cardiff School of Biosciences, has been awarded the 2010 Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Sponsored by the Marsh Christian Trust, this award recognises those who dedicate their lives to ensuring a future for the world’s species and their habitats; those who deserve but don’t expect recognition.

Described by the ZSL as "one of the foremost applied freshwater ecologists and conservationists of his generation", Professor Ormerod was recognised for his contributions to the application of fundamental science to conservation in freshwater ecosystems.

ZSL Secretary, Professor Geoff Boxshall FRS, said: "Steve is a deserving recipient of this award. His work is unusual in that he has made significant contributions in different fields that are rarely brought together in the work of a single ecologist. He has made seminal contributions to the field of freshwater acidification, including important work on the fate and status of river birds living on acidifying streams.

"He has also developed models of what stream biology might look like under different scenarios and his work has informed policy on land-use, such as the effect of coniferous afforestation and catchment liming to combat stream acidification."

Professor Ormerod has published more than 200 scientific papers during his 26 year research career. Most recently, he has been working on the effects on stream communities of increased sedimentation and, using long-term data, his group have been among the first in the world to appraise biological changes in rivers associated with climate warming.

The ZSL, a charity dedicated to the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, recognises outstanding achievements in zoological research and conservation through its annual presentation of awards.

Professor Ormerod was presented with the Award by Brian Marsh, Chairman of the Marsh Christian Trust, and Professor Sir Pat Bateson, President of ZSL, at a ceremony in London on June 21st.

"More than anything" said Professor Ormerod, "this is recognition that conservation problems in freshwaters are large and important: extinction rates are faster here than in other habitats, and pollution and other impairments are widespread. Yet these are critical and increasingly pressurised ecosystem on which our lives depend. We need to find ways to balance our uses of fresh waters with their conservation, and I’m just very grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to contribute".