Issue 20
Monday, 20 November 2017
Charles Darwin University
Emeritus Professors Peter and Rosemary Grant received the Royal Medal in Biology
Emeritus Professors Peter and Rosemary Grant received the Royal Medal in Biology

Evolutionary icons receive Royal medal

Two evolutionary biology icons and former Charles Darwin Scholars at Charles Darwin University have been awarded the prestigious Royal Medal in Biology.

Emeritus Professors Peter and Rosemary Grant from Princeton University have had life-long careers working together on “Darwin’s finches” on the Galápagos Islands and are the first husband-and-wife team to be given the award and the first recipients from the field of population biology.

The Grants received the Royal Medal for their research on the ecology and evolution of Darwin’s finches, demonstrating that natural selection occurs frequently and that evolution is rapid as a result.

“To be awarded the Royal Medal in Biology is an extraordinary privilege and honour,” Professor Rosemary Grant said.

“Our research has demonstrated evolution of birds in a natural environment, and by integrating genomics with ecological and behavioural studies it has provided a deeper understanding into how and why this planet is so extraordinarily rich in biodiversity.”

The Royal Medals recognise exceptional scientists engaged in challenging research to open up new possibilities and new applications.

Three medals are awarded annually by the British monarch on the recommendation of the Royal Society, which was founded in 1660. The award was created by George IV and first granted in 1826.

The Grants held the position of Charles Darwin Scholar at CDU in 2016. The scholar program is a biennial initiative established in 2013 to enhance CDU’s links to the work and legacy of its namesake, Charles Darwin.