Managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Claire Hanratty, today announced Dr Saunders as the winner of the latest Bommies Award. 

Dr Megan Saunders

Dr Megan Saunders

Marine scientist, Dr Megan Saunders, won the 2014 Bommies Award, for exceptional communication of her research into the impact of rising sea levels on coral reefs.

“Megan Saunders’ winning video entry takes the complex scientific scenario of the effects of rising sea levels on the Great Barrier Reef and depicts the issue and importance of the research in a way that can be more easily understood by a wider range of people in our communities,” said Managing Director, Claire Hanratty Ms Hanratty.

“By using appealing animation, up-beat music, and good narration, Megan’s YouTube video entry on her reef research really appealed to the international judging panel, who evaluated 11 video entries this year.

Judges also highly valued the positive take home message of the winning video, that is: by taking care of the coral reefs, we will help them and other ecosystems, adapt to climate change.”

Dr Saunders, a research fellow in the Global Change Institute at The University of Queensland, was delighted to be selected as the Bommies winner for her video titled “The Effect of Rising Sea Levels on Tropical Marine Environments”.

“The aim of the Bommies Award is to find young scientists who have exceptional skills in communication to share valuable information with reef decision makers and managers, so that we get the best outcome for our Great Barrier Reef,” said Ms Hanratty.

“For researchers, most rewards come through scientific publications which target other researchers, but we need to be able to communicate our science with the greater public to have a bigger impact. I hope my video, and those of the other entries, are shared around the world so more people can easily see how science is vital in protecting and preserving our reefs and oceans,” said Dr Saunders.

“Having grown up on the coast of western Canada, I’ve always been interested in the ocean and the impact people’s activities can have on marine life.

I believe that people will love the things they understand and take action for the things they love – so communicating science will effect positive change.”

“I intend to use the prize money to further my education, especially in the area of science communication – it’s something I’m passionate about. I find it an interesting challenge to take very technical information from an interdisciplinary team of people and turn it into a message that the public can understand – just as I have for my Bommies Award entry,” said Dr Saunders.

Dr Saunders and a team of researchers travelled to Lizard Island, 240km north of Cairns and 27km off the coast of North Queensland to undertake the field component of her research.