Bill Ballantine (15 April 1937 – 1 November 2015)
It is with great sadness that NZMSS recognises the passing of Dr Bill Ballantine. Bill was the pioneer of marine reserve protection in New Zealand and worldwide. As the first Director of the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Laboratory, Bill contributed significantly to the creation of New Zealand’s first marine reserve at Leigh in 1975. These efforts ultimately led to the creation of more marine reserves throughout New Zealand and spawned an enormous body of scientific literature in New Zealand and worldwide based on research in marine reserves. Bill’s own research focused on the rocky intertidal where he collected one of the longest existing time-series on intertidal reef communities. He also had the foresight to establish daily monitoring of sea surface temperature at Leigh, which continues nearly 50 years later and is providing important insights into climate change in our coastal oceans.
Bill became world famous for championing marine reserves, and continued to do so vigorously in his ‘retirement’. His 1991 book “Marine Reserves for New Zealand” grabbed the attention of policy makers and local communities alike, both in New Zealand and overseas. In 1996 he was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for work on marine conservation, and in 2002, Bill was awarded the New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Award for his continued outstanding contribution to marine science in New Zealand. Bill traveled to many countries, giving public lectures and running workshops, all focused on the key message that no-take marine reserves are a crucial tool for protecting marine biodiversity. Within New Zealand, he inspired NGO’s, local communities and schools to put forward proposals for marine reserves.
He was a great mentor and a dear friend for many students and colleagues who will miss him greatly.
More information on Bill’s research and contribution is available on his website: www.marine-reserves.org.nz/index.html
Some tributes to Bill
Professor Howard Choat, JCU: “For all the Golden Years at Leigh in which we produced both a once and future body of work that led to an extraordinary range of appointments to the Leigh mob around the world, Bill played a crucial and at the time unrecognized, part in all of this. While he would lecture me for hours on stolen quires of paper, the mistreatment of lab chairs and the atrocity of hanging wet suits off the veranda railings he was at the same time heading off a lot of unpleasant accusations and problems from Auckland. Although he was greatly stressed about some of our diving practices (he was ultimately responsible) if we needed boats dive gear and seemingly simple things like showers and gear storage and complex things like speed boats they were provided. He understood the need for detailed field work and ahead of his time the necessity of spatial analysis achieved through multi-scale mapping and detailed monitoring of temperature and wave forces. The benefits are now being realized. Although some of the later years may have been difficult he would have passed with a sense of having fulfilled an important part of his life's work.”
Dr Mark Costello, University of Auckland: “Bill remained totally dedicated and engaged with marine conservation throughout his life. He was the first and longest serving Director of Leigh Marine Laboratory. He contributed significantly to the creation of the (New Zealand) Marine Reserves Act and establishment of New Zealand’s first marine reserve at Leigh. He became world famous for championing marine reserves, and continued to do so vigorously in his ‘retirement’. He was a great mentor and a dear friend for many students and colleagues who will miss him greatly. He was delighted at the recent announcement that New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands EEZ would become a marine reserve. It is 15% of the New Zealand EEZ.”
Hon. Dr Nick Smith, Minister for the Environment: “Bill was the father of marine conservation in New Zealand. He remained a forceful advocate for the protection of our marine environment and leaves behind a proud legacy. It was therefore particularly special that Bill was able to attend the event last month marking the announcement of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary. The event also provided an opportunity to recognise Bill’s invaluable contribution.”
Tribute from Kennedy Warne, New Zealand Geographic:
Who we are
The New Zealand Marine Sciences Society, known as “NZMSS”, was formed in 1960 as a constituent society of New Zealand’s Royal Society, to encourage and assist marine science and related research across a wide range of disciplines in New Zealand and to foster communication among those with an interest in marine science.
NZMSS is a non-profit organization that provides access to and within the marine science community and identifies emerging issues through annual conferences, annual reviews, a listserve and this website. NZMSS membership covers all aspects of scientific interest in the marine environment and extends to the uptake of science in marine policy, resource management, conservation and the marine business sector. We speak for members of the society and we engage with other scientific societies as appropriate.
Becoming a member
Anyone with an interest in marine science may become a member of the society, which allows them to attend the annual conference at a reduced cost and receive the annual review. Student members are eligible to apply for NZMSS student support and all members are encouraged to participate and play an active role in the Society. Membership information is available here: http://www.nzmss.org/membership/
Membership fees are currently $60/annum professional members $20/annum student or retired members.Memberships are $60/annum for professional members and $20/annum for student or retired members.
What We Do
Organize and conduct an Annual Marine Science Conference, usually held in a New Zealand centre, but sometimes in conjunction with other New Zealand societies and our Australian colleagues.
Periodically award the “New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Award” to any person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of marine science. Nominations are called for and assessed annually.
Provide First Overseas Conference Travel Funds travel assistance grants to student-members (applications are due 1 Feb and 15 Aug)
Provide Student Research Grant to assist MSc and PhD candidates to take their work further than typical institutional funding allows.
Provide written comment and independent submissions on relevant marine issues as they arise.
Host a listserve where members can post, discuss, and debate marine science topics; advertise marine science positions and provide a calendar of conferences, workshops and relevant events; conduct society business.
Publish the Annual New Zealand Marine Science Review that provides a directory of NZMSS members, marine research organizations and science personnel with a summary of research interests and publications. Note: The Annual Review is currently under re-development.
Raise public awareness of marine science through events, press releases, public activities, awards and the listserv.