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Arthur James McComb 1936-2017

McComb, J.A. (2018) Arthur James McComb 1936-2017. Historical Records of Australian Science, 29 (2). pp. 184-190.

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Professor Arthur McComb conducted pioneer research on the occurrence and mode of action of the plant growth hormones gibberellins for fifteen years. He then applied his experimental skills and physiological knowledge to develop a whole ecosystem approach to the study of aquatic systems. He was passionate in wanting to improve the state of environmental management, based on rational, logical and well-founded biological principles. He and his team focused primarily on the mechanisms controlling plant growth and productivity in aquatic environments, and especially the effects of nutrient enrichment and its consequences, eutrophication. He became a leader in nutrient analysis of water systems, with innovations in how to determine nutrient pathways into waterways and strategies for fixing these issues. This important research has informed the long-term management of several important aquatic systems in Western Australia: the Blackwood River Estuary, the Peel Harvey Estuary, and the protection of seagrasses in Shark Bay, the Swan River and Cockburn Sound. Arthur McComb had a seminal influence on a generation of researchers. Thirty-nine students completed their higher degrees under his supervision and they are spread internationally and throughout Australia in universities, state government departments and consulting firms, confirming his influence on driving our understanding and management of marine, estuarine and freshwater systems.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO
Copyright: © Australian Academy of Science
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