Reef named after marine science pioneer

Published: 24/01/2013

A marine science pioneer has been recognised for her important contribution to the field with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) naming a reef in her honour.

Patricia Mather’s distinguished 40-year career in science is formally recognised with a previously unnamed reef in the Tee Line Reefs (Reef No 21–148) now bearing the name Patricia Mather Reef.

“We’re delighted to celebrate Patricia Mather’s contribution to marine science by naming a reef in her honour,” GBRMPA Chairman Russell Reichelt said.

“This particular reef was named in her honour because it resembles the classic round shape of a cunjevoi, known to Australian fishermen as the “sea squirt”.

“Patricia's research into this diverse group of animals led to naming 500 new species, which was an enormous contribution to science.

“She was passionate about the marine environment and assisted in drafting a Bill that contributed to establishing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.”

Among those who knew Patricia’s commitment to marine science was Len Zell, who initially approached GBRMPA to propose a reef be named in her honour.

“Patricia meant so much to science and the Queensland Museum where she worked for many years,” Mr Zell said.

“She was a strong advocate of the role of museums, funding of taxonomy, conservation and the Great Barrier Reef.”

Born in Perth in 1925, Patricia was educated in Western Australia and received a first class honours degree in 1948 for her work on two families of marine worms (Eunicidae and Nereidae).

She began her marine science career with the CSIRO, worked in London, and undertook research before joining the Queensland Museum as a senior curator in 1975.

She received numerous accolades through her career and retired in 1990. In 1992 she was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia for service to marine biology.

Patricia impressed and inspired those who worked with her. She passed away in 2012 aged 87.

Patricia Mather Reef was officially named on 4 October 2012 through a formal process for reef-naming completed by GBRMPA, the Royal Australian Navy – Australian Hydrographic Office and the Queensland Government. 


"Patricia Mather Reef"  is located at Reef No 21-148 at Lat 21.082oS, Long 151.688oE


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