The Polar Medal may by conferred on citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland who have personally made conspicuous contributions to the knowledge of Polar regions or who have rendered prolonged service of outstanding quality in support of acquisition of such knowledge.
“I am thrilled that my work is recognised in this way. But it has to be stressed that Antarctic and Arctic research always happens in teams and I am so very grateful the amazing opportunities that a huge number of collaborators have made possible for me,” says David N. Thomas.
The award is a recognition of Thomas’s research and leadership in both the Arctic and Antarctic, in which he has done much to enhance our understanding about the ecology and chemistry of the frozen realms of floating sea ice that dominate both the Antarctic and Arctic Oceans. He started his polar research in the early 1990s at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven. Much of his field research took place in the 24 years David held various academic posts at Bangor University (1996 to 2020). In 2020 he moved to the University of Helsinki where he continues his Arctic Research as the Professor of Arctic Ecosystems Research.
Currently, Thomas is in the process of building up a group studying the Arctic land-freshwater-coastal continuum. According to Thomas understanding the fundamental ecology underpinning Arctic is paramount to understanding the consequences of that such change will inevitably bring about.
The official announcement of the award was issued by The Gazette on 28 January 2022. Thomas also received another recent recognition to honour his work as an Antarctic Thomas Glacier was named after him in 2020.