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15th June 17

BSAC technical diver scoops top scientific accolade

Marine biologist and BSAC member Dr Sonia Rowley has won a top international award for her research work to preserve some of the planet’s most ancient Dr Sonia Rowleycorals.

Dr Rowley, daughter of BSAC Technical group leader Mike Rowley, uses rebreather technology to enable her to dive to depths of more than 150 metres to explore the “twilight reefs’ of Micronesia. The marine biologist has made it her life’s work to research ancient corals such as the pink Anella, which has survived for more than 750 million years due to its incredible ability to adapt to environmental change.

Now Sonia has been awarded the prestigious Sir David Attenborough Award by the world’s oldest biological society, the Linnean Society of London, and the Systematic Association which also champions international biological research.

She is only the second person to receive the prestigious accolade.

Dr Mark Wilkinson, President of The Systematics Association said: “The David Attenborough Award is made to a recipient of the Systematics Research Fund who has conducted pioneering and inspirational scientific research through fieldwork. Sonia Rowley’s work epitomises the spirit of the award.”

On accepting the award Sonia said it came as a complete surprise. “It was an absolute pleasure to receive it, especially if some good can come of it. One of the most valuable things is showing natural history and beauty off and these awards tell everyone about it.”