Marine protection expert Jonathan Gardner arrives in London as the NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professor for 2011/12

Wednesday 26 October 2011

There is widespread recognition that the world’s oceans are under increasing threat from human activities including overfishing, pollution and coastal development. One important form of marine biodiversity protection is the establishment of marine protected areas.

New Zealand is generally regarded as a world leader in marine protection because it has established 33 full ‘no take’ Marine Reserves, with several more planned. (The UK currently has just three statutory Marine Nature Reserves, in addition to a number of other types of Marine Protected Areas where some fishing is permitted.)

The NZ-UK Link Foundation, in association with the School of Advanced Study, University of London, is therefore pleased to announce that its second Visiting Professor will be Professor Jonathan Gardner, an international expert in this field.

Professor Gardner is a marine biologist with extensive research expertise in the fields of Marine Protected Areas, biodiversity conservation and population genetics. He is based in the School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington and will arrive in the UK in late September and will be based for three months in the School of Advanced Study.

As part of his Visiting Professorship, Professor Gardner will give four lectures in which he will address the UK’s new Marine and Coastal Act, drawing on New Zealand’s own Marine Reserves Act and the more recent Protected Area Policy and Implementation Plan. The lectures will be at The Royal Society in London, Plymouth University, York University and finally at the Zoological Society of London and will cover a range of topics relating to marine conservation and protection. The Foundation believes that his work will contribute to a greater understanding of how Marine Protected Areas can most effectively be set up and run to achieve their conservation goals and help protect marine biodiversity.

Professor Jonathan Gardner, who is British born, has been based at Wellington’s Victoria University since April 1994. In December 1994, he became an active member of the South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition, a group set up to promote the establishment of a marine reserve on Wellington’s south coast at Island Bay, in front of the University’s marine laboratory. The Taputeranga Marine Reserve was formally opened in August 2008, almost 20 years after it was first mooted. Professor Gardner is therefore a long time activist for marine protection and has longstanding, first-hand experience of the marine reserve process. He has published more than 50 papers on various aspects of marine protected areas and on aspects of the population genetics of coastal plants and animals.

Notes for Editors:

1. For further information and requests for interview please contact Dee Burn at the School of Advanced Study, University of London at / 020 7862 8670 / 07900 401 240. Images and full biography of Professor Gardner are available on request.

2. Journalists wishing to attend any of Professor Gardner’s lectures should contact Steve Rowland-Jones (email: mob: 07891 484508)

3. Professor Jonathan Gardner is the second holder of the NZ-UK Link Foundation Visiting Professorship, a scheme which has been developed by the Foundation in collaboration with the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. He is currently in the School of Biological Sciences at a leading New Zealand institution (Victoria University of Wellington). His Visiting Professorship will be based at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, between September 2011 and January 2012.

4. In addition to carrying out research, Professor Gardner will give at least four public lectures for the Foundation on areas in which he is a recognised expert both as an academic and as a practitioner. To date, these are: The importance of Marine Reserves and Marine Protected Areas - the New Zealand experience (The Royal Society, 17th October); The design of a Marine Protected Areas network (Plymouth University, 3rd November); Do Marine Reserves deliver conservation benefits? (York University, 29th November); The future of Marine Protected Areas (the Zoological Society of London, 7th December).

5. The Visiting Professor was chosen by a selection panel comprising NZ/UK Link Foundation Trustees and Professors at the University of London.

6. The NZ-UK Link Foundation is a registered charity whose primary objective is to make “an ongoing substantial contribution to the intellectual, educational, vocational and academic underpinning of the bilateral relationship in a changing world”

7. The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is the UK’s national centre for the facilitation and promotion of research in the humanities and social sciences. The School brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of ten prestigious research institutes to offer academic opportunities, facilities and stimulation across a wide range of subject areas for the benefit of the national and international scholarly community. The member institutes of the School are the Institutes of Advanced Legal Studies, Classical Studies, Commonwealth Studies, English Studies, Germanic & Romance Studies, Historical Research, Musical Research, Philosophy, Study of the Americas, and the Warburg Institute: