Excellence in palaeobotany
Stephen McLoughlin attended Caboolture State High School from 1977 to 1981. His passion, even at school, was Science and he won both the Earth Science and Biology subject prizes in years 11 and 12. In 1986, Steve graduated from the University of Queensland with a 1st Class Honours Degree in Geology, and gained his PhD in 1990. His initial scientific achievements included the first comprehensive study of Permian coal-forming floras of the Bowen Basin, and the first mapping and stratigraphic logging of the Lambert Graben (sedimentary basin) in Antarctica. Steve’s interest in geology always focussed on palaeobotany, that is, the study of fossil plants, their structure and evolution. After academic positions at the University of Western Australia, University of Melbourne and Queensland University of Technology, he moved to Sweden in 2007, where he became Senior Curator in the Department of Palaeobiology, at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.
In 2011, Steve received the J. Sen Memorial Award in palaeobotany from the University of Calcutta. In 2012, his research team was awarded the Winfried and Renate Remy Paleobotanical Award from the Botanical Society of America for the best paleobotanical paper in 2012. In 2014, Steve’s research team identified nuclei and chromosomes in a 180 million year old fossil fern revealing features virtually identical to its modern equivalent, the Royal Fern. Their photos of this fossil fern won the Best Scientific Photograph of 2014 from La Recherche Magazine in France.
Since 1988, Steve has published 147 scientific papers on fossils from all continents and has been the Editor of Alcheringa, the Australasian Journal of Palaeontology, for 10 years. In 2016, Steve was awarded a Professorship of Palaeobotany at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.