Ecologists recognised in Queen’s birthday honours

Former president of the British Ecological Society, Professor Sue Hartley, is one of several ecologists whose work is recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Professor Sue Hartley
Professor Sue Hartley

Professor Sue Hartley receives an OBE for services to ecological research and public engagement.

She said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive this honour and to be recognised for my contribution to ecology in this way. I’ve always been passionate about the importance of ecological research, particularly given the global environmental challenges we are all facing at the moment.

“I’m very proud and grateful, and I’d like to thank the many wonderful colleagues who have supported my career for their contribution to this achievement.”

Professor Hartley is Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute at the University of York, which builds interdisciplinary partnerships to generate sustainable solutions to global environmental challenges.

She is a community ecologist recognised internationally for her work on the interactions between organisms, particularly plants and their herbivores. Her research group are interested in how plant-herbivore interactions are mediated by plant defences, particularly silicon, and how a better understanding of these processes could provide a sustainable way to protect crops against pests.

Sue’s two-year term as president of the BES ran from 2016 to 2017, having served on our Board and committees over several years. She received the President’s Medal in 2009 and the BES Award in 2012. A trustee of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and a board member of Natural England, Sue delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures in 2009, becoming only the fourth woman to do since they were started by Sir Michael Faraday in 1825.

Professor Tamara Galloway of the University of Exeter also received an OBE in the Birthday Honours. Professor Galloway’s research group studies the biological effects of environmental chemicals such as microplastics in human and wildlife populations. Their work is helping to answer questions like how pollutants damage living systems, how animals have evolved tolerance and what makes some animals more sensitive than others.

Professor Lynne Boddy, a fungal ecologist at the University of Cardiff, is named an MBE for services to mycology and public engagement in science. She gives talks, participates in events and festivals, and appears in the media, all the while explaining that the terrestrial ecosystems of planet earth would not work without fungi: there would be no fertile soil, no plant life, no herbivores, no carnivores and no humans.

The Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is knighted. Professor Ian Boyd has put scientific research at the heart of policy at Defra, including work in producing the UK’s Climate Projections and a key report on the Future of the Seas.

Dr Stephen Malcolm gains an OBE for services to the marine environment as Chief Environmental Science Adviser at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). Cefas is a Defra-sponsored agency that uses its expertise to help governments, the private sector and NGOs secure healthy and sustainable marine and freshwater environments.