Dr Marianne Horak AO
“Unravelling relationships between, and the life histories of, the unique and wonderful Australian fauna has been exhilarating,” says Dr Marianne Horak AO.
“I am driven by curiosity, a love of nature, the excitement of field work throughout Australia, and the pleasures of exploring some of nature’s puzzles. It’s what brought me to this country.”
Her detailed and collaborative research into unique Australian species of moths – including one group that lives in koala scats and another group whose larvae bore within the bark of some eucalypts (the scribbly bark gums) – revealed novel and typically Australian Lepidoptera life histories.
“Crucial taxonomic studies led to biological control of serious fruit pests without pesticides, a greatly desired outcome with significant impact. And probably most gratifying was encouraging and supporting citizen scientists to publish high-quality taxonomy and to help augment the national collection."
"We need more people to study taxonomy to record and monitor our natural systems, so being able to train and mentor young scientists is deeply satisfying.”
Dr Horak thanked her colleagues for their ongoing support. “First and foremost I thank Ted Edwards for 40 years of unstinting support with his vast knowledge. Also all my CSIRO colleagues. Len Willan deserves massive thanks for his tireless contribution to the Australian Moths Online website, the centrepiece of our outreach to citizen scientists; for years he has replied to enquiries almost every day.
“I feel greatly honoured and very humbled by the acknowledgement and thank those who nominated me for this recognition.”