We would like to let members of the marine science community in Western Australia know that Barry Wilson passed away on Monday (12 June). Barry was an extraordinary human being whose contributions to the conservation of our Australian marine ecosystems have been profound.
In 1994, Barry led the landmark “Wilson Report” (A Representative Marine Reserve System for Western Australia. Report of the Marine Parks and Reserves Selection Working Group) when he was head of the Marine Parks and Reserves Authority which created a shift in the way we view our marine resources and paved the way for the Marine Parks that we now have, and are continuing to create in WA. For those of you who are interested, his article “the West Australian Marine Reserves Conservation System” (in Fitzsimons and Wescott (2016) “Big, Bold and Blue“, provides a recent, unique and invaluable perspective on these issues.
His latest major contribution, a book called the “Biogeography of the Australian North West Shelf: Environmental Change and Life’s Response”, is testament to his dedication to understanding our wild and under-studied natural world.
To many of us, Barry had the broadest and deepest knowledge of marine (as well as terrestrial) ecology out of anyone we have met. We will miss Barry’s ability to grasp the bigger picture and share this so clearly, with childlike enthusiasm and with such great spirit, but we will remember him with much warmth and great respect.
Dr Jim Underwood on behalf of the marine science community of WA