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University of Adelaide researcher, Sarah Catalano has won the Flinders Ports Environment Award at the Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards 2014. Dr Catalano, a marine biologist aged 25, competed against a strong field to take home the accolade for her pioneering work into the giant Australian cuttlefish. One of eight young achiever category winners, Sarah received her award at a special gala dinner attended by 400 guests in Adelaide on 29 March.

Dr Catalano’s research into the giant Australian cuttlefish focussed on the reasons behind the species’ dwindling population. Her research uncovered 10 new parasites found in cuttlefish and related species that are essential for their survival. It is hoped that this discovery will help reverse the downward trend in the number of cuttlefish aggregating in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

Category judge, Sean Reardon, General Manager of Infrastructure at Flinders Ports said, “Sarah Catalano has clearly taken a skilful and highly practical approach to her research and conducted her investigations into the cuttlefish population with considerable passion.

“The judging panel were unanimous in their decision to award Dr Catalano the Flinders Ports Environment Award as we believe her work will be vital in managing and protecting our marine biodiversity.”

In addition to winning the Flinders Ports Environment award, Sarah Catalano’s PhD has received a Dean’s Commendation and was recommended for a University Medal by thesis examiners. Dr Catalano will continue her research through examining the complete genome structure of the newly discovered parasites.

About Flinders Ports

Flinders Ports is South Australia’s leading port operator with seven ports located at Port Adelaide, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Thevenard, Port Giles, Wallaroo and Klein Point. Part of the Flinders Port Holdings Group, which is led by Chief Executive Officer, Vincent Tremaine, Flinders Ports offers a range of port and port related services including pilotage, mooring, survey and marine control. For more information about Flinders Ports, visit: www.flindersports.com.au

About the Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards

The purpose of the Channel 9 Young Achiever Awards is to acknowledge, encourage and most importantly promote the positive achievements of young South Australians up to 28 years of age. The Awards recognise the achievements of South Australia’s youth in nine categories, with one of the nine category winners being named the Channel 9 / Premier’s Young Achiever of the Year. For more information visit: http://www.awardsaustralia.com/young-achiever-awards/sa/