Brazilian researcher wins ISA Secretary General's 2019 Award


Brazilian researcher wins ISA Secretary General's 2019 Award

Saturday, July 27, 2019

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BRAZILIAN researcher Dr Mauricio Shimabukuro has copped the International Seabed Authority (ISA) Secretary General's 2019 Award for Excellence in Deep Sea Research.

Secretary General Michael Lodge made the presentation during the 25th Session of the ISA Assembly at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Thursday.

Dr Shimabukuro, who completed his doctoral degree (PhD) in 2018 at the University of So Paulo, focuses his work on the ecology and evolution on “benthic organisms living in reducing environments”.

He is now working with the deep-sea ecosystems group at the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (IFREMER), France.

The group's study is focused on the density, diversity and distribution patterns of benthic fauna, among others in the Atacama Trench, which is an oceanic trench in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Secretary General Lodge congratulated Dr Shimabukuro on winning the award over a field of “excellent candidates”.

He noted that the Brazilian has published nine papers on topics of relevance to the ISA, notably on the ecology of the South Atlantic, and he has also contributed to a book on Brazilian deep-sea habitats.

“Already, in his career, he has described three new species and, apparently, he has another 17 new species to describe. He has led a number of papers and has developed an interest in chemosynthetic communities in the deep sea. He has contributed lectures and has supervised the next generation of undergraduate students at the University of So Paulo, while working on his PhD,” Lodge noted.

The Secretary General's Award is intended to encourage and recognise the excellence of researchers under 35 years old from developing countries who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge of the deep-sea environment or to improve the development of environmentally sustainable regulatory frameworks.

An Advisory Committee, comprising internationally recognised experts in the field of deep-sea science; social sciences and humanities, with experience in the Law of the Sea and management of marine resources, was appointed by the secretary general to evaluate the nominations.

The inaugural edition of the award was presented to deep-sea biologist from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Diva Amon, in July 2018.

Meanwhile, Lodge commended the Government of Monaco for supporting this year's award.

“This comprises not only a cash prize for the awardee as well as travel to attend the meeting of the Assembly of the Authority but also, and significantly, the cost of publication of the successful candidate's research in an open access journal. Monaco's commitment to research as well as capacity-building is well known by all members of this assembly and I'm sure greatly appreciated,” he said.

In his remarks, Dr Shimabukuro said he was “very honoured” for the recognition and thanked the ISA, the advisory committee, his nominators and others who have supported him over the years.

He also lauded the representatives from Monaco for recognising the effort of researchers.

“Deep-sea studies are not easy in Brazil and other developing states due to the large amount of money needed just for sampling,” he noted.


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