Vale Professor Arthur McComb

Posted by Vale Professor Arthur McComb on 8 October 2017 | Comments

The Australian Freshwater Science Society lost a champion on Sunday 8th October 2017 at the passing of Professor Arthur McComb.

An ASL Medal winner in 1991, Arthur McComb was born in Melbourne, on 9th December 1936, and graduated with both a BSc and MSc from the University of Melbourne in 1959. He then undertook his PhD at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 1962. Arthur was an associate professor at The University of Western Australia from 1963 until 1988, and full professor at Murdoch University until his retirement in 1996 after which he continued to contribute as Senior Scholar in Residence in Environmental Science.

Arthur combined the manners and charm of a gentleman scholar with a keen mind attuned to the environmental issues of today. He led seminal research on aquatic plants and nutrient dynamics that improved our understanding and management of the Blackwood River Estuary, seagrasses in Shark Bay and the Swan River, loss of seagrass in Cockburn Sound, and eutrophication of the Peel-Harvey.

Arthur generously shared his expertise and time, not only across academia, but in advising government agencies and science management. He inspired countless students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, including over 30 PhD students. He authored or co-authored 9 books including the wonderful Australian Wetlands with Sam Lake, and over 150 refereed papers and book chapters. His outstanding contribution was recognised through medals and awards from the Australian Society for Limnology, the Royal Society of Western Australia, the Australian Marine Sciences Association, and the Prime Minister’s Centennial Medal for contributions to Environmental Science. He was both a Fellow of the Institute of Biology and the Australian Academy of Science and awarded a DSc from Murdoch University in 2007. 

So many people across the world, in the fields of freshwater, estuarine or marine research and beyond, will now be thinking of the difference he made to their lives, and will miss his quiet wisdom.