Biography in 2009
An outstanding researcher and world renowned advisor to the Antarctic Treaty System, Professor Steven Chown of Stellenbosch University, South Africa, has been named the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Martha T. Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica.
Professor Chown is a widely published and cited authority on invasive species and the effect of climate change and human interactions on Antarctica. The Selection Committee of leading Antarctic scientists and policy makers cited his outstanding contributions to both science and policy in Antarctica. Professor Chown plays a critical role in Antarctic policy by leading the delegation of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) at the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs). His advice and leadership has been pivotal in advising policy makers in a wide range of environmental stewardship issues before the ATCM’s Committee on Environmental Protection.
Award Ceremony and Lecture
Professor Chown’s homepage at the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Australia.
2017 Biography Update
Steven L. Chown holds a Professorship in Biological Sciences at Monash University, Australia. He was Head of Biological Sciences from 2013 to mid-2017, during which time he reshaped the School with 16 new appointments and around AU$ 50 M of new investment. Prior to that, he established and was inaugural Director of the South African National Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology (2004-2012). His work covers macrophysiology, community ecology, biogeography and conservation biology. A key part of his research concerns the biological impacts of the major global change drivers, such as climate change and biological invasions.
His work is conducted in many areas of the planet, but has a substantial focus on the Antarctic and on systems in Australasia and Africa. The Antarctic research component of his portfolio has concerned most of the Southern Ocean Islands and the continent itself, and includes terrestrial plants and animals, and marine species. He has more than 30 years’ experience working on the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands, but has also conducted research on South Georgia, Possession, Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie, Gough and the Falkland Islands. He has guided a range of work on biodiversity and its conservation across the entire region.
Steven has published widely, including more than 380 peer-reviewed scientific papers and several scientific and popular books. He has been Editor-in-Chief of Functional Ecology, and on the editorial boards of The American Naturalist, Diversity and Distributions, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Currently he is an editorial board member of Antarctic Science, Biological Reviews, Current Opinion in Insect Science, and Polar Biology.
The outcomes of his work have had substantial impacts on conservation and science policy. Much of this has been delivered through interactions with the Antarctic Treaty System and notably its Committee for Environmental Protection. His work has resulted in policy progress on invasive species, climate change adaptation and conservation management of the Antarctic, and he has spent much time translating science evidence to practicable guidelines for mitigating environmental impacts. For many years, he has represented SCAR at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings, providing scientific advice on a broad range of environmental and science policy.
He has also been Chair of both the South African and Australian National Committees on Antarctic Research, and a Delegate of both countries to SCAR. Currently he serves as a science advisor to EU-Polarnet, the largest association of polar operators globally, and to the Invasive Species Council of Australia. He is also the President of SCAR for 2016-2020.
As a consequence of his science and policy contributions in the Antarctic region, Steven is the inaugural recipient of the Martha T. Muse Prize for science and policy in Antarctica. He has also received the SCAR Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research, the South African Antarctic Gold Medal, and the Zoological Society of Southern Africa Gold Medal.
Steven lives in Melbourne with his partner, two border collies and six bicycles.