Australian oceanographer honoured in new reef naming

Published: 20/11/2017

The life and work of late Australian scientist Dr Don Kinsey AM is being celebrated with a reef within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park named in his honour.

The reef scientist and manager worked as the executive officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority from 1985 to 1992, going on to establish the Reef Cooperative Research Centre (Reef CRC).

Dr Kinsey pioneered science focused on metabolism and calcification rates of coral reefs, and gave an understanding of how fast coral reefs grow and how stresses degrade reefs.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt said Dr Kinsey’s diverse scientific work and passion to share knowledge about the Reef had left a great legacy.

“Dr Kinsey was known for his eloquent radio and television media interviews, explaining Reef matters of deep consequence to the general public,” he said.

“He was acting chairman of the Marine Park Authority for a time and, with experience across the world in varied scientific areas, had a real drive to connect reef science with the public.”

Early in his career, Dr Kinsey designed and patented the oxygen electrode which enabled the instantaneous measurement of oxygen in seawater.

He also developed the methodology to measure carbon dioxide in seawater which is still in use today.

Much of this early work was either self-funded or helped by small grants.

The second international Coral Reef Symposium in 1973, convened by what was known as the Great Barrier Reef Committee, connected Dr Kinsey to larger scientific programs across the globe.

This led to him to managing projects at One Tree Island and later at Lizard Island.

Dr Kinsey completed a Doctorate of Oceanography, studying effluent sediment and reef degradation based in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

He was then appointed as Director of a saltmarsh ecology program with the University of Georgia where he drew connections to Reef ecology.

Wanting to head back to Australia, Dr Kinsey accepted an offer to work for the Australian Institute of Marine Science between 1982 and 1985 then worked with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority until 1992.

His passion for the Reef did not wane after his retirement — he became involved with the University of the Third Age offering lectures, talks and trips to the Reef, always sharing current scientific findings.

Dr Kinsey passed away in October 2016.

The newly-named Don Kinsey Reef, reef number 22-101, is located 227km north-east of Yeppoon.

Don Kinsey Reef was officially named through a formal process involving the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Royal Australian Navy’s Australian Hydrographic Office and the Queensland Government.

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