Remembering Professor Dame Georgina Mace FRS, 1953 -2020

Our friend and colleague Georgina Mace, who died this week aged 67, is remembered for her contribution to science – both at ZSL and beyond during an illustrious lifelong scientific career.

But perhaps more importantly, she is also remembered for her immense personality and unwavering support for younger colleagues and students, many of whom owe their influential scientific careers to her mentorship.

Lady with grey hair and glasses smiling

Georgina’s outstanding academic career included many notable achievements including establishing the criteria for listing species in the IUCN Red List, developing the methodology of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, and founding the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research at University College London.

She spent 23 years at ZSL, the last six as Director of Science. She made a huge contribution and impact in our Institute of Zoology , assembling a team of talented and passionate scientists to deliver a science plan that addressed a wide-ranging set of questions of both general theoretical interest and high conservation relevance. Georgina fostered a spirit of community and purpose that helped set IoZ apart from most other academic organisations; a legacy that lives on to this day.

Georgina’s honours, awards and medals were both impressive and numerous. She received an OBE, CBE and DBE, was made an FRS in 2002 and won medals and awards from the British Ecological Society, the Linnean Society, and the European Ecological Federation among many others.

In 2013 she was awarded the prestigious ZSL Frink Medal for her contribution to the advancement of zoology. In presenting the award, ZSL Secretary Geoff Boxshall also recognised her significant contribution to mentoring scientists and growing capacity in such a critical area of scientific research: “It is no exaggeration to say that the strength and size of conservation science owes much to Georgina’s efforts,” he said. 

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