Ecological professor honoured for ground-breaking research

13 December 2022 | News

Lincoln University Distinguished Professor of Plant Biosecurity, Philip Hulme, has received a prestigious honour in recognition of his innovative work in the ecology field.

The Te Tohu Taiao Award for Ecological Excellence was presented to him by the New Zealand Ecological Society at their conference dinner on 1 December.

The award is given annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the study of ecology in New Zealand, as well as a sustained impact on conservation and management of Aotearoa’s unique natural environment.

Professor Hulme’s nomination detailed his ground-breaking research on plant invasions, which has reinvigorated the discipline over the past two decades. It also highlighted the national and international impact of his work, which has led to him being ranked among the top 0.1% of scientists worldwide each year for the past nine years.

On receiving the Te Tohu Taiao award, Professor Hulme said past recipients included many of the foremost New Zealand ecologists of the last 30 years and it was “particularly humbling to be in such illustrious company”.

“My success has been built on extensive collaborations with colleagues from around the world, but in particular the excellent work undertaken by my PhD students, many of whom are now established in their own right in New Zealand universities, Crown Research Institutes or government ministries,” he said.

In closing his acceptance speech, Professor Hulme highlighted the risks facing New Zealand due to the progressive reduction of resources to manage weeds on the country’s conservation estate.

“This has resulted in the problem getting worse and leaving a legacy of weed-infested ecosystems to be managed by future generations.”

Professor Hulme works within Lincoln University’s Department of Pest Management and Conservation. His recent research has examined the spatiotemporal population dynamics of wilding conifers in New Zealand, eco-evolutionary shifts in weeds following their introduction into new regions, and the susceptibility of New Zealand ecosystems to plant invasions.

Learn more about his work here.