Dr. David Richardson (2015)

Dr. David Richardson

David Richardson, PhD


Science Atlantic Outstanding Contributing Member, 2015

Membre exceptionnel 2015 de Science Atlantique


Dr. David Richardson (Nottingham University; D.Phil, Oxford University; D.Sc. Trinity College, University of Dublin) has been inducted into the Science Atlantic Hall of Fame as one of two Outstanding Contributing Members for 2015.

Dr. Richardson studied at Nottingham University, UK, and then at Oxford University for his PhD. From 1967 to 1969 he held a lecturship at Exeter University, UK, then moved to Canada to become Assistant Professor at Laurentian University in Ontario. He returned to Europe in 1980 when he was appointed to the “1711 Chair of Botany” at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1992, he moved once again to Canada to accept the position of Dean of Science at Saint Mary’s University, a position he held until his retirement in 2007.

During his tenure as Dean, Dr. Richardson was Saint Mary’s representative to Science Atlantic (then APICS). He took an active role in encouraging the undergraduate conferences, attending as many as possible and often acting as a judge for best oral and poster presentations. He says,

I quickly became part of APICS, […recognizing] that it was important that graduates from universities in this region, completing honours projects, should present their results at conferences attended by their peers. The APICS undergraduate conferences ensured that graduates had the experience and qualifications to apply successfully at graduate schools in other provinces of Canada and around the world.

Presentation to David Richardson by Kathy Singfield (SMU); November 24, 2015 Saint Mary’s University

As a member of APICS Council and as Vice-Chair from 1999 to 2007, Dr. Richardson was always one of the first deans to support a new project or idea that would benefit students. Among other projects, he promoted the “Preparing for University Calculus Handbook” that the Math & Stats Committee had created – including paying for the printing and distribution out of his own budget when there was no money in the APICS budget. The Handbook is still available today online and has been provided to thousands of high school students over the last 15 or more years.


 Dr. Richardson is internationally known for his research on lichens, being awarded the Lawson Medal by the Canadian Botanical Association (2000) and the Ursula Duncan award by the British Lichen Society (2002) for his contributions to international lichenology. He published his first book, “The Vanishing Lichens,” in 1975, and has continued to publish over 100 research papers and many book chapters with his students and colleagues throughout his career.

David McCorquodale, Dean of Science and Technology at Cape Breton University and current Chair of Science Atlantic, says,

I still recall meeting [Dr. Richardson] about 20 years ago … We talked about lichens and air quality and they became a key section of my environmental biology course. I remember hearing parts of the story about his work in Ontario, Ireland and Nova Scotia. I also remember that a dean talked to me, was passionate about their science, and was interested in mine.

Dr. Richardson’s years of service to Science Atlantic (or APICS) contributed to the current strength of Science Atlantic. This strength provides opportunities for my colleagues to continue the promotion and development of science in the region.

Since retiring, Dr. Richardson’s contributions to the scientific community have not lessened. He continues as editor in chief of the international journal “Symbiosis”. He was recently re-appointed by the Minister of the Environment as a co-chair of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), and has taken an active role in the Nova Scotian Institute of Science (NSIS) as President from 2009 to 2011. He is currently Associate Editor of the NSIS Proceedings.

As a member of COSEWIC’s Species Assessment Committee, he advises the Minister as to whether species should be assessed as endangered, threatened, special concern, or not at risk under the Species at Risk Act. With a small team of lichenologists from Nova Scotia, Dr. Richardson has also been lead author of five COSEWIC Status Reports on rare lichens.

We are pleased to recognize Dr. David Richardson as an Outstanding Contributing Member for his contributions to Science Atlantic, and his ongoing commitment to students and the scientific community.