Prof.David Walton - obituary

13 Feb 2019 - 08:45

Antarctic biologist, Professor David Walton, just passed away in the UK following a massive heart attack. David was well known to many Fitz students as Editor-in-Chief of Antarctic Science, a journal he started in1989. I had the opportunity to get to know him better during the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition (ACE) in 2016/17, where he served with distinction as Chief Scientist under often challenging conditions.

David's career in Antarctic science started in 1967, when he was appointed as an ecologist in the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). He remained at BAS for over 40 years, serving as head of terrestrial biology and then head of the Environment Information Division until his retirement.

David was incredibly active in many areas of Antarctic science and policy, in particular for SCAR, the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research. In 2006 he was the recipient of the SCAR Medal for International Scientific Coordination and represented SCAR in many Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings. He was the Chair of SCAR's Group of Specialists on Environmental Affairs and Conservation, editor of the SCAR Antarctic Environments Portal, and was involved in writing six books on Antarctic science.  

David had an enormous appetite for work, and an impressive breadth of knowledge about polar science in general, which he was more than willing to share. He went out of his way to mentor young scientists, and after his retirement became a very popular lecturer on Antarctic cruise vessels. He will be greatly missed.

Prof. Peter Ryan
13 Feb, 2019