[Annelida] George A. Knox

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Wed Aug 6 21:36:48 EST 2008

Dear all,

Sadly I learned this morning that George Knox has passed away (aged 88
I think).
If I get hold of a personal memory of him or an obituary I will post it
- and perhaps one or two of you have a story about him. Meantime I've
put together this on some parts of his long career.

George A. Knox, 

Professor Emeritus, Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand

Died on Monday 4 August 2008 

George Knox was a prodigiously productive biologist, with parallel
careers in polychaete taxonomy and ecosystem biology, He had a long
association with Antarctic research, was the lead author on numerous
environmental surveys of New Zealand harbours and estuaries, and
pioneered his university’s Marine Laboratory on the Kaikoura Peninsula
(a well-known whale-watch mecca now). He began his publications in 1949
with a Masters thesis on the common New Zealand intertidal serpulid
Spirobranchus cariniferus, and continued to produce impressive works
long after officially retiring. His significant solo-authored books in
the latter part of his life included “The ecology of seashores” and
“The biology of the Southern Ocean”.  

He first began to collect shore polychaetes from forays into his local
Banks Peninsula region in 1947, and published his first taxonomic paper
on New Zealand worms in 1951. Many more followed during the years up to
the mid 1970s. He retired in 1984, but a long-gestated monographic
summary on Ross Sea polychaetes appeared in 1998.

Here are some of the more recent internet news items on George Knox:

Third edition of “The Natural History of Canterbury” launched, 15
May 2008

Second Edition of  “Biology of the Southern Ocean”  (1993, 2007)

Kaikoura Field Station history

50th Anniversary of NZ Antarctic Programme Award for Professor George

Extract from ‘IceSheet” newsletter of Antarctica New Zealand

“George Knox’s outstanding 50-year contribution to Antarctic marine
science was recognised recently at a special function in Christchurch.
Knox was presented with the New Zealand Antarctic Science 50th
Anniversary Award by Dr Clive Howard-Williams, chair of the Royal
Society of New Zealand’s Committee on Antarctic Science, on behalf of
the New Zealand Antarctic community. A small family group joined
Knox’s friends and former colleagues from the University of
Canterbury at the Christchurch offices of Antarctica New Zealand for the
ceremony. Emeritus Professor Knox, now aged 87, was born in Pleasant
Point and educated at Timaru Boys High School. He was first appointed to
the then National Committee for Antarctic Research in 1959 and sat on
the Ross Dependency Research Committee between 1965 and 1992. He was the
New Zealand delegate to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
(SCAR) from 1974 to 1986 and President of SCAR between 1978 and 1982,
the only New Zealander to hold the post. 
Knox also sat on several other international committees, including
being Secretary General and then President of the International
Association for Ecology (INTECOL) from 1978 to 1982. Knox’s
long-standing public service and impressive academic record in the
environment and conservation sectors throughout New Zealand led to his
MBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours list of 1985. Knox retired in 1984
after a distinguished academic career spanning 35 years at Canterbury
University, including almost 20 years as head of the Department of
Zoology. He began a long-term marine biology Antarctic research
programme in 1960 and directed the team for 12 years. 
Incredibly, Knox participated in 13 field parties to the Antarctic and
has published more than 100 scientific papers - including 25 on the
Antarctic and Southern Ocean. His most recent book, the 1000-page
Biology of the Southern Ocean, is the standard international reference
work on the oceans surrounding Antarctica. At the ceremony Knox’s son
Warwick spoke on his behalf. George had a major stroke in September 2006
and his speech is now limited, but his family said he thoroughly enjoyed
the presentation and appreciated the recognition. As well as Clive
Howard-Williams, Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Lou Sanson also
acknowledged what a key figure Knox was in Antarctic marine science.
Sanson also revealed that Knox had lectured him when he was a student at


 Geoff Read <g.read from niwa.co.nz>

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