Norberto Giannini (IFM sponsored)
University of Tucumán, Argentina
The International Federation of Mammalogists is proud to announce that its Board of Directors democratically selected Prof. Norberto Giannini from the University of Tucumán, Argentina, as the IFM sponsored Plenary Speaker for the upcoming IMC12. He was chosen from among five highly regarded mammalogists that were initially nominated for this prestigious award.
Professor Giannini’s broad and inter-disciplinary research interests encompass macroevolution of mammals and their ecological interactors (plants, birds), and marsupials. He teaches and mentors many postgraduate students in Biogeography and Evolution at the University of Tucumán. He is also an Independent Researcher affiliated to the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET) and leads a comparative research program on the evolution of phytophagy in New (phyllostomid) and Old World (pteropodid) bats using a phylogenetic approach. He is investigating the origin of bat flight by integrating data from fossils, phylogenies, functional anatomy and development and his long-standing interest in ecomorphology has led to participation in an extensive collaborative research program on the evolution of cranial allometry in mammals.
The tradition of selecting an IFM sponsored Plenary Speaker was first initiated at the IMC10 congress in Mendoza, Argentina (2009) where Prof. Eviator Nevo (University of Haifa, Israel) presented a fascinating lecture on his lifetime research on subterranean rodents. At the IMC11 held at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Prof. Paul Sherman (Cornell University, USA) delivered an enlightening lecture on his research on social and reproductive behaviours of animals, including humans. Prof. Norberto Giannini’s Plenary will uphold this young, but proud tradition of the IFM when he delivers at the IMC12 in Perth.
University of Sydney
Chris Dickman has long been fascinated by patterns in biological diversity and in the factors that affect it. His work focuses mostly on mammals and other biota in arid environments and on a range of other projects in applied conservation and management. Chris is a Professor in Ecology (personal chair) at the University of Sydney and holds a Discovery Outstanding Research Award from the Australian Research Council. He is a prolific trainer of postgraduates, supervising over 140 Honours and postgraduate research students over the last 25 years. He has written or edited 20 books and monographs and authored more than 400 journal articles and book chapters. He is the recipient of several national and international awards, including New South Wales Plant and Animal Scientist of the Year in 2010.
Head of Mammalogy
US National Museum of Natural History
Kristofer Helgen is head of mammalogy at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where he oversees the Smithsonian’s collections of mammals and the most-visited Hall of Mammals in the world. His work focuses on research in museum collections and expeditions to document biodiversity and to study environmental change. He has led expeditions to many parts of the world, and documented dozens of previously overlooked species of living mammals in both museum collections and fieldwork, including the Olinguito. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide. He holds honorary appointments at the Australian Museum in Sydney, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the National Geographic Society, where he was inducted as a National Geographic Explorer in 2009. In 2013 he was recognized among the “Most Innovative People Under 40” by Business Insider magazine.
Chief Executive Officer, Western Australian Zoological Parks Authority President, World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Susan Hunt was appointed Perth Zoo’s Chief Executive Officer in 2004, following a career in public policy, conservation and research. Perth Zoo is a statutory Government-owned zoo in Western Australia.
In addition to her leadership of the Zoo, Susan was the President of the Australasian Zoo and Aquarium Association (ZAA) from 2007-2011 and remains a Board member. From 2011-2015 she was the Chair of the ZAA Wildlife Conservation Committee and was active in developing an integrated conservation model for zoo based breed-for release programs and Australian species management programs.
Susan has been a member of the Council of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) since 2012. As Chair of WAZA’s Animal Welfare Committee, Susan was responsible for the development of the first world zoo and aquarium animal welfare strategy Caring for Wildlife. She was a co-author and editor. Susan was elected President of WAZA in 2015.
Susan was awarded a Public Service Medal by the Governor General of Australia in the 2010 Australia Day Honours list for her outstanding contribution to conservation and public service.
Wildlife Conservation Fellow: Lady Margaret Hall
David Macdonald holds a Research Fellowship in Wildlife Conservation at Lady Margaret Hall, and was deeply involved in creating the first Fellowship in any British university dedicated to biological conservation, just as the WildCRU was also the first such research unit.
His scientific background is in behavioural ecology, with an emphasis on carnivores, although his research has spanned published studies on organisms from moths to penguins and even, occasionally, plants. As both the WildCRU, and the whole field of conservation, have evolved, the work has become inter-disciplinary. More recently Dr Macdonald’s biological writings are increasingly enmeshed in issues of environmental policy, economics and research strategy.
Honorary Professional Research Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Adjunct Professor, University of Western Australia
Emeritus Professor Duncan Mitchell’s 50-year research career in thermal physiology began in the South African gold mines, helping to ensure the welfare of miners working at high wet-bulb temperatures more than 3km underground. After three years at the National Institute for Medical Research in the UK, working on somatosensory physiology and on fever, he joined the University of the Witwatersrand in 1975. When he “retired” in 2006, he was Director of the University’s Brain Function Research Group, with research programmes in conservation physiology, fever physiology, pathophysiology of HIV-related pain and in sleep physiology. His research in conservation physiology started in the 1980s, when it focussed on lizards and beetles in the Namib Desert. More recently its main focus has been on the large terrestrial mammals of the arid zones. He and his research colleagues in South Africa, Australia and Germany have employed biologgers implanted in mammals living free in their natural habitats, to investigate the latent physiological talents that may help long-lived mammals, including vervet monkeys, Angora goats, Arabian oryx, aardvark and elephants, cope phenotypically with the now-inevitable consequences of climate change. He was awarded the 2010 Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship, Africa’s most-prestigious award for an individual researcher.
University Laureate Professor
The University of Melbourne
Marilyn Renfree is a reproductive and developmental biologist whose research has focussed almost entirely on marsupials because of their intrinsic interest and for the opportunities they provide as biomedical models for understanding mammalian reproduction and development Her laboratory is known internationally for its study of marsupials that have resulted in a number of discoveries that challenged the accepted dogma in several areas including early mammalian development, physiological and molecular control of embryonic diapause, placentation, sex determination, sexual differentiation, virilisation ,genomic imprinting, conservation and evolution, and bringing a gene from the extinct Tasmanian Tiger back to life. She is the Ian Potter Chair of Zoology and was Head of Department at The University of Melbourne from 1991 -2003, an ARC Federation Fellow 2003-8, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics from 2008-10 and was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) on Australia Day 2013. She is a currently Laureate Professor of the University of Melbourne and was Secretary, Biological Sciences and Vice President of the Australian Academy of Science until June last year.
Comparative Wildlife Physiologist
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Terrie M. Williams is a Comparative Wildlife Physiologist with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California- Santa Cruz, and Director of the Marine Mammal Physiology Project. For 30 years she has been investigating the energetics, mechanics and thermoregulation of large terrestrial and marine mammals including pumas, African lions, elephants, Antarctic seals and Arctic narwhals. Key to these studies has been the development of custom instrumentation to monitor the physiological responses of wild animals. This has included a submersible ECG cardiac monitor for deep diving whales and seals, and a SMART (Species Movement, Acceleration and Research Tracking) wildlife collar for measuring movements, behaviour and energetics of free-ranging mammalian carnivores. By examining the functional relationships between these apex predators and the environments in which they live, Williams and her colleagues are assessing the ecological significance of mammalian species and the physiological adaptive changes necessary for their survival.
Senior Honorary Research Fellow
The University of Western Australia
Emeritus Professor S D (Don) Bradshaw, BSc (Hons) PhD FAIBiol, is an ecophysiologist who held the Foundation Chair of Zoology at UWA from 1976 until his retirement in 2005. His major research interest has been the study of field populations of vertebrate animals that live in environments where extreme heat, drought, dehydration and electrolyte loading are common. This has led him to work in some of the major desert regions of the world, including the Sahara, comparing the ways in which Australian animals cope with aridity. He has supervised over 30 postgraduate students working on a wide range of native animals, including fish, frogs, reptiles, birds and many marsupials. A deep knowledge of the many adaptations of the native fauna serves to underpin his efforts over the last decade to translate this basic research into management options needed to preserve the unique plant and animal species that have evolved in Australia’s only threatened biodiversity hotspot in the southwest of WA. He was elected Membre Correspondant du Muséum D’Histoire Naturelle in Paris in 1975, a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London in 1985 and awarded the Kelvin Medal of the Royal Society of WA in 2010. His third book, Vertebrate Ecophysiology (CUP), was voted an Outstanding Academic Title by The New York Review of Books in 2004, translated into Portuguese and released in Brazil by Santos Editore in 2007. In 2015 he was awarded a Special Commendation by the Royal Society of NSW in Sydney for promoting the fauna of Australia.