Life of researcher celebrated with reef naming

Tribute has been paid to leading marine biologist and ecotoxicologist, the late Dr Bob Endean, with a reef in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park named in his honour. 

Dr Endean played a key role in the 1960s environmental movement, which led to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s establishment in 1975.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chairman Russell Reichelt said Bob’s passion and influence in promoting the Reef’s health was inspirational.

“Bob was a leader in marine science and ecotoxicology and a key player in getting to where we are today in reef management,” Dr Reichelt said.

“Recognising and advocating the significant threat posed to coral ecology, Bob pioneered crown-of-thorns starfish research, and his research forms the basis of the work we are still doing today.”

Dr Endean held positions of secretary, chair and president of the Great Barrier Reef Research Committee between 1954 and 1975, and was a member of the World Health Organization’s Expert Advisory Committee on Food Additives.

He also advised Queensland police, government and medical authorities about toxins and marine biology, and had key involvement in setting up the Heron Island Research Station.

Len Zell — who put forth the reef naming nomination — said Dr Endean spent more than 40 years working in the University of Queensland’s Zoology Department before his retirement in 1990.

“He taught many undergraduate and postgraduate students, giving them a very thorough insight into the Reef’s zoology and ecology. All loved his teaching style and their interactions with him,” Mr Zell said. 

Mr Zell added that Dr Endean had a highly valued presence amongst Reef users, scientists and managers.

“Bob was very well respected and all enjoyed his ways, especially his ability to get a group involved in strong discussions. He was a true blue Aussie character.”

Dr Endean passed away in 1997, aged 71.

The newly named Bob Endean Reef, reef number 17-065, is in the Innisfail zoning region and is approximately 65 kilometres east of Mission Beach (Lat 17.876°S, Long 146.727°E) — an area where Bob undertook a lot of his field research.

Bob Endean Reef was officially named through a formal process in conjunction with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Royal Australian Navy–Australian Hydrographic Office and the Queensland Government.