News » Professor Mike Bruton, receives lifetime achievement award

Mike Bruton free-diving off Zanzibar 2012

In a letter to its members, the Royal Society of South Africa announced the award of its prestigious Marloth Medal to Prof Mike Bruton for his lifetime contribution to biological science and the communication of science to the public. 

Bruton, who was Director of the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology (now SAIAB) from 1982-1994, has this to say, “I am very honoured to receive the Marloth Medal from the Royal Society of South Africa especially as the first recipient of this prestigious award was none other than Professor JLB Smith, founder of Ichthyology in Grahamstown (Makhanda). During the short period that I knew JLB he impressed on me the importance of not only doing good science but also conveying the results of one’s research to the lay public, a maxim that I have followed ever since I scratched patterns in the sand on the shores of Lake Sibaya in Zululand to explain to the amaThonga people why we were doing research on their lake in the 1970s.

“One of the biggest pleasures of my academic career has been making contributions to the great Ichthyology establishment in Makhanda, and still feeling part of its DNA in retirement. As I see it, the Ichthyology Institute (now SAIAB) was the vehicle through which I was able to do and communicate most of my science, so I see this award as recognition to the whole Makhanda Ichthyology establishment. Best fishes, Mike.”


According to the Royal Society of South Africa website, "by awarding this medal, the Society wishes to emphasize and celebrate the pioneering contributions of the late Professor Hermann Wilhelm Rudolf Marloth (1855-1931), chemist and botanist and his son the late Dr Raimund Hilmar Marloth, born in 1904 and a pomologist by profession. Both father and son were Fellows of the Society, Rudolf in 1908 and Raimund in 1957, and left generous bequests to the Society without which the Society may not have survived.

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The Marloth Medal shall be awarded to an individual deemed to have had a highly distinguished career and to have made a significant contribution to advancing his or her discipline through writings, service to science, nurturing younger professionals and fostering the public understanding of science." 

Mike Bruton with 'Annotated Ol' Four Legs' book

Portrait of Mike by his brother, Peter Bruton, with the ‘Annotated Old Fourlegs’ book in 2017

To read more about this accolade see the following articles: