Patricia Dale’s professional career has always focussed on an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues. She graduated from the University of Southampton, England, with a BA Hons in Geography in 1964. After moving to Australia, she obtained an M Soc Sc (1979) at the University of Queensland. She completed an LLB (1993) at the University of Queensland and a PhD in Ecology (1997) at Griffith University. Her early career in Australia was as a tutor and researcher with ANU (School of General Studies) from 1968 to 1971.
After moving to Queensland, she tutored in Geography at the University of Queensland starting in 1972. In 1979 she joined the young Griffith University, in the School of Australian Environmental Studies (AES), where her initial role was to design and conduct interdisciplinary workshops. She continued to promote an interdisciplinary approach to complex problem solving in her teaching and research and also initiated a novel remote sensing course covering a wide range of sensors.
With the benefit a law degree, she liaised with the Law School at Griffith and taught in the combined Law/Environmental Planning degree. During her involvement with AES she developed a research interest in intertidal wetlands, being part of the team that researched and initiated a novel and specifically Australian form of mosquito control in 1985. This was termed ‘runnelling’ to distinguish it from grid ditching. In suitable saltmarshes runnelling reduced the need for larvicides. She led the regular monitoring of the pilot project for the next 20 years and intermittently after that, with a final assessment (so far) published in 2016. She received several ARC grants to assess the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar and Thermal imagery to map water under mangrove canopy (to assist mosquito management); multiple grants to support PhD students related to aspects of Ross River virus and its management as well as smaller teaching grants.
She has numerous publications including 123 peer refereed papers. For a temporary change of role she was a seconded to Brisbane City Council in 1991, for 18 months, as Wetland Manager, involved inter alia in the development of the Boondall wetlands management plan. Patricia was Head of the Griffith School of Environment from 2000 to 2005. She was promoted to Professor in 2006. She retired in 2014 and has continued, as an Emeritus Professor, to conduct research; act as advisor to agencies with roles related to mosquito management; review student theses and to give occasional lectures.
Her service to the wider community includes an active role in the Mosquito Control Association of Australia (elected Life member); subject editor for Wetlands Ecology and Management, reviewer for other journals, grant reviewer for ARC and NHMRC as well as presenter at international conferences. She has been a long-term member of EIANZ and was elected as a junior vice president in 2003 and 2004.