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Special SFS session in memory of Richard Norris

Published On: 5/5/2012

SFS session honors Richard Norris (1951-2011)


A special session in memory of Emeritus Professor Richard Norris (1951-2011) will be held at the next Society for Freshwater Science meeting in Louisville, Kentucky. This session, entitled “Bioassessment of river health: where are we now and where to in the future?” will reflect on Richard’s early work on bioassessment, discuss the state of monitoring today, and focus on the future of biological assessment in streams and rivers, including the ‘reference condition approach’, predictive modeling methods, and user needs.

Professor Richard Norris lost his battle with cancer on 19 September 2011 in Canberra, Australia. Richard will be sadly missed by family, friends and colleagues in Australia and around the world. He had officially retired as Professor of Freshwater Ecology at the University of Canberra (UC) in May 2011. Richard was the former director of the Institute for Applied Ecology at the UC and leader of the eWater Education and Training Program. His particular research interest was in biological assessment using benthic macroinvertebrates and has published extensively in this area and on issues associated with the management of river systems, including sewage discharge, agricultural effects, heavy metal effluent, siltation, and environmental flows. Richard was strongly committed to undergraduate teaching and postgraduate training (Richard supervised 28 BSc Honours students, 10 MSc students, and 13 PhD students, with three in progress), but also to the development of online training courses that allowed flexibility and self-paced learning.

He was an enthusiastic advocate for collaborative research between researchers and agencies, resulting in strong ventures among UC and many governmental agencies. For example, Richard played an important role in the development of bioassessment under Australia’s National River Health Program and the AUSRIVAS methods and software to standardize freshwater assessment.

His enthusiasm for science was mirrored by his athletic pursuits. He was an accomplished sailor and had represented Australia in his age-class at the world triathlon championships in 2009.

For full obituary, see Freshwater Science, 2012, 31(1):3–4.

Photo credit: Sue Nichols

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