Dr Patricia Mather AO



Mr Chancellor, 

One of the outstanding natural wonders of the world is the Great Barrier Reef, situated off our own Queensland coast. The need to preserve and enhance this part of our heritage is frequently the subject of current debate and discussion. However, long before environmental concerns were as topical as they are today, and indeed since its founding in 1910, the University of Queensland has pursued a broader understanding of this important resource. It has had a particularly close involvement with research on the Reef through-its Heron Island Research Station, established forty years ago by the Great Barrier Reef Committee. Situated on ac.oralcayin the Capricorn-Bunker Group in the southern section, this is now one of the world's leading marine research. institutions. 

Dr Patricia Mather has a long association with Heron Island, its Research Station and the Great Barrier Reef Committee, which she has served as Honorary Secretary, Vice-President, and President. The Australian Coral Reef Society Inc., the successor of the Great Barrier Reef Committee, made her an honorary life member in 1985. She was involved in the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and was a foundation member of its Consultative Committee. 

Patricia Mather has devoted her scientific life largely to work on the Ascidiacea, marine invertebrate animals commonly called tunicates or sea squirts. Her studies extend from species found on the Barrier Reef to those from the Antarctic, the Australian coastline, and the Pacific. This work has led to the definitive monographs on these species, and to important international reports and journal ruiicles. Without her efforts, scientific understanding of ascidians, their classification, distribution, habits and predators would be much poorer. But for her, we would know much less about the biology of coral reefs. 

She has conducted her research while on the staff of CSIRO, at this University, and currently at the Queensland Museum, where she is Senior Curator (Higher Invertebrates), a position she leaves on retirement at the end of this year. 

The University of Queensland can be particularly grateful for her enterprise and industry in the production in 1969 and 1971, almost single-handedly, of the publication Research. It was a major factor in the recognition of this University's research efforts and aspirations. 
Patricia Mather has also given unstintingly of her time to other institutions. She has served on the Council and Executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Academy of Science Fauna Standing Committee, the Marine Sciences and Technologies Research Allocation Committee, and the Australian Research Council Biological Sciences Panel. 


Doctor of Science honoris causa