Mr Trevor Long


Honorary award citation


Mr Trevor Long has had an enduring impact on the protection and welfare of marine animals, through his staunch commitment to scientific research and community education.

For decades, as the Director of Marine Sciences at Sea World Gold Coast, Mr Long has pursued a very public mission to rescue, heal and release distressed marine animals, to reduce ocean litter, and to explain how local actions can help address regional and global environmental problems. 

By collaborating with researchers and students at The University of Queensland and other institutions, he has contributed to global knowledge about significant and endangered marine species, including (but not limited to) dolphins and dugongs. 

Mr Long began working as a junior aquarist at Sea World (which is not linked to American theme parks of the same name) in 1973. Although he had no formal scientific training he placed great value in the power of science to influence conservation. He founded the not-for-profit Sea World Research and Rescue Foundation in 1988, aiming to support research into marine vertebrates and to address gaps in scientific knowledge needed to protect and preserve marine environments.

Through the foundation, Mr Long has become an esteemed ally of staff and students at The University of Queensland, and at universities around the nation. The foundation has funded 40 UQ research projects, and Mr Long has personally enhanced a number of UQ academic programs.  

He has granted researchers use of Sea World infrastructure (including boats and equipment for tracking and handling large animals) and experienced crew. Thanks to him, researchers have also been able to study an array of species, ranging from sea horses to sharks, in the business’s aquaria.

He has donated his expertise as a master mariner, and the wisdom of one who has spent decades on the front line of a myriad of marine issues. He has also co-authored scholarly articles about dugong biology.

In the broader community, Mr Long may be better-known for his round-the-clock responses to wildlife emergencies, such as when whales and dolphins become stranded or entangled. In these situations, he is respected for quick and creative problem solving, leadership of diverse teams of professionals and volunteers, proficient communication through the media, kindness – and more. And when faced with novel predicaments, he has devised novel solutions.  Some of his innovative rescue devices and techniques have been adopted nationally and internationally.

Moreover, he has used his trusted voice as a communicator to encourage the minimisation of harmful waste, such as fishing tackle and plastic bags that entangle, choke and kill wildlife. 

Mr Long has also worked closely with government agencies to improve protocols affecting the welfare of exhibit wildlife, and held leadership positions in umbrella organisations: the Queensland Wildlife Parks Association and the Australasian Regional Association for Zoological Parks and Aquaria.

Chancellor, I present to you Mr Trevor Long for the award of Doctor of Marine Science honoris causa, bestowed by the Senate of The University of Queensland. 


Doctor of Marine Science honoris causa