Antarctic researcher finalist in KuDos Science Excellence Awards

6 October 2014

Professor Craig Cary

Cold cave: Professor Craig Cary in an ice cave in Antarctica. He’s a finalist in this year’s KuDos Awards.

An American academic whose main area of research is 5000km away in Antarctica is a finalist at awards that recognise Hamilton science achievements.

KuDos Science Excellence Award finalist

Professor Craig Cary from the University of Waikato’s Faculty of Science and Engineering is one of three finalists for the Environmental Science Award at the annual KuDos Science Excellence Awards, which will be presented at Claudelands in Hamilton on 9 October.

The awards - now in their eighth year - support and recognise outstanding achievement in scientific research and innovation from the Waikato region.

Professor Cary considers himself a Microbial Ecologist and his interest lies in researching bacteria which live in extreme environments, including deep sea thermal vents and the soils of Antarctica.

His interest is in learning how bacteria in these environments establish themselves, maintain life, and evolve as communities.

Professor Cary says it is an honour to be nominated for the award and such recognition only encourages scientists to “do better science”.

“People get the chance to see what we’re doing and that’s great,” he says.

“It is important people know. You always want to get better and do it better, ask harder questions.”

He says the KuDos awards are an important way to recognise science in the Waikato.

Professor Cary’s work now includes areas such as lake restoration in the region, and didymo research, where his laboratory is charged with monitoring for this pest throughout the North Island.

Potential research opportunities in Antarctica

Professor Cary’s first academic post was at the University of Delaware in 1994 and in 2001 he came to the University of Waikato on a one year sabbatical and made his first trip to Antarctica, a place he immediately realised was “a goldmine for potential research”.

In 2003 he returned to New Zealand, where he holds a unique joint position between the University of Waikato and the University of Delaware.

He is based in the Thermophile Research lab (TRU) and a containment lab wing which was built recently allowing the University to bring in samples from Antarctica for research.

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