Marine scientist a finalist for international award

02 October 2013

Associate Professor Mark Costello, from the Institute of Marine Science, has been named one of six finalists for the international Public Library of Science (PLOS) Accelerating Science Award Program (ASAP). Three of the finalists will go on to win awards.

The programme recognises the use of scientific research, published through Open Access, which has led to innovations benefiting society. Dr Costello has been nominated for his work on measuring and understanding biodiversity in the sea.

In its announcement of the finalists, PLOS noted that at a time when 20,000 land and sea species are threatened with extinction, it is critical to have hard scientific data about the vast numbers of oceanic species, information without which the effectiveness of conservation efforts may be diminished.

Dr Costello has been honoured as founding chair of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), the largest real-time collaboration of species (taxonomic) experts and marine biologists in the world. The site provides a database of scientific names for all marine species

WoRMS has completed the naming of more than 200,000 known species, and up to 2,000 new species are added every year. It is now the international standard for marine species nomenclature and is relied upon by a large number of institutions.

Dr Costello joins five other finalists from around the world who have been recognised for their work on everything from an HIV self-test to a cell-phone microscope. As individuals or teams, they are being honoured for addressing real-world challenges either by reusing previously published Open Access research or by creating a new repository of freely available research data to assist collaborative research projects.

Three award winners, chosen from amongst the six finalists, will be announced on 21 October in Washington DC. Major sponsors of the awards include the Wellcome Trust and Google.

To view interviews with Mark Costello about the awards visit these posts on the PLOS blog “Mind the Brain”:

For more information about PLOS and the awards visit: