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Research GELIFES

Godman Salvin Prize for 'Bird-Professor' Theunis Piersma

13 October 2020

At the international Wader Study Group’s 50th Anniversary conference Professor Theunis Piersma has been presented with the BOU Godman Salvin Prize. This is the most prestigious award by the British Ornithologists’ Union and recognises Piersma's outstanding contribution to ornithology & research on shorebirds and waders.

Theunis Piersma

Theunis Piersma is Professor of Global Flyway Ecology (a WWF chair) at the University of Groningen. Together with his international research team, he studies how the distribution and numbers of waders correlate to climate, food, predators, pathogens and their historical-genetic background. Research is being conducted within the Netherlands as well as in comparable ecosystems in Africa, Australia, North and South America and Asia. Piersma also works as a Wadden biologist for the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) on the island of Texel. Piersma is one of the greatest advocates of conservation of the Wadden Sea. For the past three years he has concentrated, inter alia, on population studies among black-tailed godwits. He is, for example, involved in a study that tracks godwits in their breeding grounds in Friesland and during their migration to and from southern Europe and Africa via a transmitter in their abdominal cavity.

Theunis Piersma's contribution to ornithology goes far beyond his 500 plus peer‐reviewed scientific papers and 14 books, generally focused on migratory birds, to his role in their conservation including via innovative use of the arts as well as influencing policies and management prescriptions. The strength of influence in the scientific and conservation worlds of ‘waderologists’ is in no small part due to the infectious enthusiasm and energy of the ever‐questioning Professor Piersma. The strength and breadth of Piersma's work within ornithology makes him an outstandingly deserving recipient of the BOU Godman Salvin Prize, and for it to be awarded during his beloved International Wader Study Group’s 50th anniversary conference is a fitting and fine tribute to an exceptional ornithologist.

For more information about the Godman Salvin Prize see the press release on BOU's website.

Last modified:20 October 2020 6.37 p.m.

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