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Media Release: Winner of the 2015 Terry J. Hillman Honours Educational Prize announced


Border local returns to scoop prize: Winner of the 2015 Terry J. Hillman Honours Educational Prize announced

Mr. James Anderson will be presented with a cheque for $3000 as the recipient of the 2015 Terry J. Hillman Honours Educational Prize, administered by The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre (MDFRC) in Wodonga.

The Prize is named after Professor Terry Hillman, a former Director of the MDFRC, and the Educational Prize has been established to honour the contribution that Professor Hillman has made to freshwater ecology in the Albury-Wodonga region. This is the ninth year that the Educational Prize has been awarded. 

James completed his first year of university at La Trobe University, Wodonga campus before moving to Melbourne to complete his Bachelor of Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology). This year, he returned to the Border to undertake his Honours year (a 1 year research project) with Dr Michael Shackleton from the MDFRC. James is co-supervised by Dr Nick Murphy who is based at La Trobe University in Bundoora.

Dr Michael Shackleton, Macroinvertebrate Biologist from the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre explains “James is investigating whether Dartmouth Dam prevents water bugs from moving along the Mitta Mitta River. He will look at the genes from the same species of water bugs collected from the river above and below the dam and use DNA technology to work out if they are genetically different. If they are similar, it indicates that bugs from these species are able to move along the river in order to breed unimpeded by the Dam. This work is important because scientists currently don’t know whether structures like a dam impede water bug movement.” Dr Shackleton said “James is hardworking and has a great depth of knowledge around his subject matter. This project will give James a good understanding of what a future career as a researcher will entail.”

“James is an incredibly enthusiastic student and a pleasure to supervise,” said Dr Murphy, Lecturer in La Trobe's Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution.

 “Water bugs such as insects and snails are important for monitoring river health and James' project will determine if any differences among the bugs found upstream and downstream of a dam are due to environmental changes or because the dam simply prevents species moving between these sites.”

Mr. Anderson said “I feel so privileged to have been selected for this honour. The prize will enable me to purchase a laptop which will greatly assist me with my studies. Thanks so much to the MDFRC and I’m looking forward to meeting Terry Hillman in person at the ceremony.”

_HILLMAN_HONOURS_EDUCATIONAL_PRIZE_MEDIA_RELEASE.PDFTerry_J._Hillman_Honours_Educational_Prize_Media_Release.pdf (332 KB)