Marine conservation champion appointed Wen Family Chair

14/02/2023 | 2 mins

Professor Jessica Meeuwig, an esteemed researcher from The University of Western Australia and “resilient oceans” expert, has been appointed the inaugural Wen Family Chair in Conservation, a position dedicated to meeting environmental challenges with rigorous research and public engagement.

"A reset is needed to reflect a global population of nearly eight billion human beings."

Professor Jessica Meeuwig

The Wen family has for many years contributed to international and Australian conservation initiatives, most recently through Wen Giving supported by Hawaiian, which supports UWA’s Marine Futures Lab. Professor Meeuwig, from UWA’s School of Biological Sciences, is the Marine Futures Lab Director and lead researcher. 

Internationally recognised for her research on open-ocean “big blue” marine parks, Professor Meeuwig pioneered the use of video-based systems to identify, count and measure open-ocean wildlife.

Professor Jessica MeeuwigImage: Professor Jessica Meeuwig.

Through her work across WA marine parks and international collaborations, Professor Meeuwig and her team have amassed the world’s largest database of open-ocean wildlife collected via non-lethal sampling.

She has been a fellow of the Zoological Society of London since 2011 and sits on and chairs a number of international advisory boards with a focus on marine conservation.

Professor Meeuwig said the Wen Family Chair in Conservation position, which has been endowed in perpetuity at UWA, was a great honour that would help her research team continue its work in understanding marine environments and improving ocean resilience.

She said modern approaches to ocean management still reflected conventions established as far back as the 1600s and 1800s.

“A reset is needed to reflect a global population of nearly eight billion human beings,” Professor Meeuwig said.

“Hope is, in and of itself, not a strategy, however the ability to scale knowledge generation and embrace the art of the possible do provide hope for our planet’s largest ecosystem – the ocean.”

A public lecture to commemorate the new Chair, titled ‘Hope for an Exhausted Ocean, will be given by Professor Meeuwig on Wednesday 15 February at 6pm at the University Club of WA. More information and bookings are here.

Media references

Carrie Cox (UWA Media & PR Advisor)                                                                                      08 6488 6876

Professor Jessica Meeuwig                                                                                                      0400 024 999

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