[Annelida] George A. Knox

Geoff Read via annelida%40net.bio.net (by g.read from niwa.co.nz)
Mon Aug 18 21:18:01 EST 2008

Hi folks,

Here's the text of Christchurch's University of Canterbury's news item
on George Knox from their campus newsletter.  

Chronicle 43(13), 15 August 2008

Tributes flow for Emeritus Professor George Knox 

Emeritus Professor George Knox, who died last week at the age of 88,
will be remembered as an enthusiastic biologist and a gifted
communicator who dedicated his life to scientific endeavour.

 Professor Knox retired in 1984 after 35 years at the University,
including nearly 20 as head of the Department of Zoology. He began a
long-term marine biology Antarctic research programme at University of
Canterbury in 1960 and directed the team for 12 years from 1971 to

 Associate Professor Islay Marsden (Biological Sciences) said marine
biology in the 60s and 70s was a rapidly growing discipline and
Professor Knox was keen to be a part of it. “He led expeditions to
remote areas (Antarctica and Subantarctic Islands) and travelled all
over the world.”

 “Opportunity Knox, as he was known among students of the time,
generated research opportunities and funds for his students, giving them
precious opportunities to realise their potential. He attracted a large
number of talented students to work in the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, at
Kaikoura, the Subantarctic and in Antarctica. Many of his graduate
students achieved considerable standing in New Zealand and Australian
science in these fields,” Professor Marsden said.

 Emeritus Professor Mike Winterbourn (Biological Sciences) said that in
the 1970s Professor Knox oversaw considerable expansion in the Zoology
Department in terms of staff numbers and courses offered. “In
particular, the department developed its capacity in ecology, marine
biology and animal physiology, strengths that remain today in the
expanded School of Biological Sciences. His greatest research strengths
were in the reviewing and synthesising of ecological information on a
large scale and resulted in the publication of a number of well-regarded
and cited books,” Professor Winterbourn said.

 His most recent book is the expansive third edition of The Natural
History of Canterbury, launched by Canterbury University Press in May,
which he co-edited with UC colleagues Professor Winterbourn, Dr Colin
Burrows and Professor Marsden. The 924-page volume, which provides a
comprehensive, up-to-date account of knowledge of Canterbury’s flora,
fauna and environment, was a much-awaited follow-up to the 1969 edition
of the same title of which Professor Knox was the sole editor.

 Professor Knox is credited with establishing Antarctic Studies at
Canterbury. He participated in 13 field parties to the Antarctic and
published more than 100 scientific papers, 25 on the Antarctic and
Southern Ocean. His 1000-page Biology of the Southern Ocean, published
by Cambridge University Press, is regarded as the standard international
reference work on the oceans surrounding Antarctica.

 Professor Knox 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
was the elected president of SCAR between 1978 and 1982, the only New
Zealander to hold the post.

 Last year Professor Knox was awarded the inaugural New Zealand
Antarctic 50th Anniversary Award in recognition of his outstanding
scientific contribution spanning almost 50 years.

 Professor Bryan Storey, Director of Gateway Antarctica, said Professor
Knox had made “an amazing contribution” to Antarctic science over
the years. “He established a strong tradition of Antarctic research at
the University of Canterbury that ultimately led to the setting up of
Gateway Antarctica, the centre for Antarctic studies and research.”

 Professor Knox recognised the importance of field studies for UC staff
and students and in 1962 established the Edward Percival Field Station
on the Kaikoura Peninsula. In 1986 the University honoured him in naming
the station’s new research annex the George Knox Research Laboratory.

 “In excess of 1000 students, staff and visiting researchers now
visit the Kaikoura field station every year, conducting field courses
and researching a wide variety of disciplines in a region Professor Knox
identified 50 years ago as being an ideal location for field studies,”
said Jack van Berkel, Field Services Manager. In 1985 Professor Knox was
made a Member of the British Empire for services to the University and

 “George will be remembered for his impressive books on marine,
estuarine and Antarctic ecology, his research on polychaete worm
taxonomy and for his life-long fascination with the ways in which
communities of marine organisms functioned,” Professor Marsden said.
“We will also remember a family man who was full of life and very
proud of his children and grandchildren’s achievements.”

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