backResearcher Profile

Martin Willison

Job Title: Professor
Employer: Dalhousie University
Place of Birth: Buriton, Hampshire, England
High School attended: Kidderminster Grammar School
Further Education: St. Andrews University, Scotland (B.Sc.), Nottingham University, England (Ph.D.).
Geographic focus of research: Maritime province, Indonesia, Phillippines

Brief synopsis of current research:
Conservation biologists consider that Earth is currently in an "extinction spasm". Our responses to this threat will determine its severity. No only is biodiversity at risk; ultimately this is potentially a matter of human survival.. Conservationists have mostly focused their efforts on terrestrial systems; my work focuses on marine systems. I work on marine protected areas (philosophy, planning, education), species at risk (notably deepsea corals), industrial impacts, and social conservation movements.


Recent Publications:

N.L. Shackell and J.H.M. Willison, Marine Protected Areas and Sustainable Fisheries, SAMPAA, Wolfville, Canada, 1995, 300 p.

M. Willison (1997), Calming Troubled Waters: An International Peace Park in the Gulf of Maine, Northern Forest Forum 5(6) 20-21.

Industrial society has isolated and invented a myriad of processes that release noxious materials into "our" environment. We have also developed ways of protecting ourselves from these noxious materials, but these do little to help the life-forms that inhabit water. Water bodies are the recipients of most of the muck we make, and ultimately the oceans receive most of it. The recent news that whale meat has been removed from the shelves of Japanese stores because it is too toxic for human consumption brings this home dramatically. A Dalhousie University scientist recently reported that the extinction rate in freshwater systems is similar to that in tropical rainforests. Canada needs young people who are knowledgeable about aquatic environments and whose vision of the future is for a world in which aquatic organisms are not subject to these conditions.