BENNETT, Isobel

Born: 1909

Died: 2008

Special Achievements:

Isobel Bennett was a renowned marine biologist, best known for her pioneering work on the Great Barrier Reef.  Her earliest work, however, concerned plankton and she was involved in the first study of it to be undertaken in Australian waters.  Another area which she made her own was the intertidal zone of the temperate shores.

Her best-known work, though, was concerned with the Great Barrier Reef.  In 1952, she was the author (with Professor William Dakin) of Australian Seashores; Dakin died in 1950, and Isobel finished the book, complete with indexes and photographs. The first printing (3500 copies) sold out in a few weeks. Australian Seashores was reprinted, revised and metricated 12 times over the years and Isobel updated the book with current taxonomic work and scientific names.  In 1959, Isobel was one of the first four women scientists to visit an Australian Antarctic base (Macquarie Island).

Additional Information:

In 1982, Isobel was awarded both the ANZAAS Mueller Medal and the Whitely Memorial Award (Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales).  One genus, five species of marine animals and a coral reef have been named after her.