Invasion biologist to be honoured by Royal Society of South Africa

Prof Dave Richardson

Professor Dave Richardson, the Deputy-Director: Science Strategy at the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (C·I·B) at Stellenbosch University, is the recipient of the prestigious John F.W. Herschel Medal for 2012. The award, the senior medal of the Royal Society of South Africa, honours his “multidisciplinary contribution to science in South Africa through [his] exceptional work on the ecology of biological invasions and management strategies for invasive species”.

The Herschel Medal is awarded to a scientist who is outstanding in either a field of research that straddles disciplines or in more than one unrelated field. The medal is named in honour of Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1791-1871), an Englishman who lived in Cape Town between 1834 to 1838 and who made notable contributions in astronomy, botany, mathematics, and several other fields. Prof. Richardson will receive the medal at the Societyís annual awards dinner in Durban in September 2012.

Prof. Richardson studies the dynamics of plant invasions, and is an international authority on trees and shrubs as invasive species. Much of his work aims to provide practical guidelines to improving the management of invasive species, but he is also interested in contributing to a theoretical framework and general models for understanding biological invasions. Prof. Richardson has published, lectured and consulted widely on issues such as invasive species in commercial forestry and agroforestry, the risks associated with using introduced plants in the production of biofuels, and on a range of other issues relating to biodiversity conservation. He is author or co-author of more than 200 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters.

Richardsonís other awards include the international Hans Sigrist Prize (2006), a National Science and Technology Forum award (2008), and the Stellenbosch University Rectorís Award for Excellence in Research (2007). He received an A1 rating from the National Research Foundation in 2007 which recognises his international stature as a scientist. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa in 2008 and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa in 2009. He serves on several international committees, including three IUCN (World Conservation Union) Species Survival Commission specialists groups, and has been Editor-in-Chief of the journal Diversity and Distributions since 1998. He is editor of the widely acclaimed book Fifty years of Invasion Ecology (Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford; 2011).