Professor Maria Byrne

Maria Byrne receives Doctor of Science at University of Galway

9 October 2023
Sydney Environment Institute member, Professor Maria Byrne, has been awarded the highest qualification in science for her life’s work in marine biology.

Maria Byrne, Professor of Marine Biology (School of Life and Environmental Sciences), has been presented with a Doctor of Science on Published Work at the University of Galway, Ireland. 

This higher doctorate is the highest qualification awarded in science. It is awarded to scholars who have, over a sustained period, published a substantial body of ground-breaking and influential work in a field of specialisation and achieved outstanding distinction internationally in that field. 

Professor Byrne was awarded the Doctor of Science for her life’s work in marine biology. She has made substantial contributions to the fields of marine animal biology and ecology, with a focus on reproduction, development, fisheries, and conservation. For the last 17 years, she has paid particular attention to the impacts of climate change. 

Professor Byrne has been publishing her work on the important phylum of marine invertebrates, the Echinodermata, which includes starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers, since the early 1980s. Her major co-edited text on these animals, Australian Echinoderms: Biology, Ecology and Evolution, won the Whitley Medal in 2018

She was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2019.

Professor Byrne completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at the University of Galway in 1978. She is grateful to be honoured at the university where her love of marine biology began a life-long journey in the field – a career coming full circle. 

Professor Byrne was Director of the University of Sydney’s One Tree Island Research Station on the Great Barrier Reef for 12 years. She is a member of the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and the Sydney Environment Institute.

Header image: Photo of Professor Maria Byrne

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