Derek Anderson graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1957 with a BSc (Hons) in the fields of botany, zoology and microbiology. He gained his PhD in 1960 at the University of Wales in the then burgeoning field of quantitative ecology. During his university-based professional career he has held teaching and research positions in the University of Sheffield, Sydney University, the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales. He held the chair of botany at UNSW for twenty years, where he was also foundation President of the Academic Board, and completed his full-time career at the University of Sydney as a Deputy Vice-Chancellor, and for a short period, Vice-Chancellor. During his time as an academic he has published more than fifty papers in the peer-reviewed ecological literature, written or co-authored four monographs, and was the foundation editor of the Australian Journal of Ecology. He was awarded the gold medal of the Ecological Society of Australia for his contributions to Australian ecology, particularly in the fields of arid zone and coastal ecology. Apart from his formal academic positions, Derek has held committee positions with CSIRO, the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Australian Biological Resources Survey, the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the NSW Premier’s Department, the NSW Department of Fisheries, the NSW Department of Primary Industries, the NSW Department of Health and the Commonwealth’s (then) Department of Health and Ageing.