In Memoriam – Professor Richard Shore 1962-2020

Richard Shore at a EURAPMON meeting in 2013

Picture: Richard Shore (front row, second from left) at a EURAPMON Steering Committee meeting, Brussels, January 2013


Richard Shore, who died suddenly on Tuesday 28 July at the age of 57, was a long-term friend, colleague and mentor to many of us in the European raptor monitoring community, He was one of Europe's most influential leaders, thinkers and innovators in the field of environmental toxicology, and a driving force in developing the approach to pan-European contaminant monitoring in raptors and other top predators.

Richard’s involvement with raptor monitoring in Europe goes back at least 15 years. He was a key contributor to the first workshop (Scopello, 2006) to bring together those monitoring contaminants with raptors and those monitoring raptor populations. As a zoologist working in ecotoxicology, he ably bridged these two communities and brought a wealth of expertise and experience to the table.

Richard was a co-author of the subsequent proposal to the European Science Foundation in 2008 which resulted in the networking programme, Research and Monitoring for and with Raptors in Europe (EURAPMON) 2010-15. He was for 5 years a member of the EURAPMON Steering Committee, in which capacity he motivated the engagement of the European ecotoxicological community and guided work to review existing contaminant monitoring activities across Europe, establish potential for pan-European contaminant monitoring with raptors, and develop a harmonised raptor sampling protocol.

Following EURAPMON, Richard was a co-author of the ERBFacility proposal to the COST Association. From the start of the COST Action, he took on leadership of Working Group 1 (Analysis Arena) and was a highly influential member of the ERBFacility Core Group. With ERBFacility he has led pivotal work to prioritise species for pan-European monitoring, guided the design of Proof of Concept work, and designed and supervised key short-term missions involving early stage researchers.

Richard also co-authored the LIFE APEX proposal and led LIFE APEX work to demonstrate the utility of contaminant monitoring in raptors and other apex predators for the assessment of effectiveness of chemicals risk management measures in Europe.

Richard leant gravitas to all of this work in Europe. His steady, carefully considered approach and ecological understanding kept the work well grounded in the state of the art and ensured the robustness of the scientific advances being made. He was much admired and respected by his peers.

One of his greatest contributions has been to the many young and emerging scientists he took under his wing, helping to build a cohort of skilled raptor ecotoxicologists across Europe.

The ERBFacility Core Group and wider community sends its deepest condolences to Richard’s family and those nearest to him.

Guy Duke, Chair, ERBFacility, on behalf of the Core Group

I have no words to describe the impact of his research and his style of work on my professional career as a researcher in this field. But mostly I want to remember Richard as a good friend.” – Antonio Garcia-Fernandez

“I first met Richard at CEH in 2006… how many years ago! I thought after the meeting, he is so intelligent and prepared… I admired him immediately and have done ever since…. one of the best minds and not only in Europe…  He was so helpful in explaining his thoughts to all of us…, always so supportive and helping everyone.” 

Richard was a brilliant scientist, an exemplary leader but also someone who always supported his friends and colleagues…He gave freely so much of his time, energy and expertise to biomonitoring and to our EURAPMON and ERBF networks, and to supporting others in developing their careers. He was inspirational to me and to everyone around him, but most of all he was a lovely person and a very dear friend, who will be so badly missed by us all.” – Chris Wernham

 “Richard was a reference for all of us and not only as an ecotoxicologist. He was a great person with a huge emotional intelligence, capable of leading us through complex and long discussions to finally get the best of us. We have all felt his great empathy during the meetings of EURAPMON, ERBFacility and SETAC. It is difficult to accept he will not be with there the next time we meet.” – Rafael Mateo

With Richard I´m losing a good friend and colleague. I always enjoyed his friendliness, intelligence and humor… I will miss him deeply.” – Oliver Krone

Richard has been such an astonishing person both in work and as an individual… It has been such a great honor to meet him regularly over the years.” – Madis Leivits

We met more than 20 years ago and never stopped exchanging views, ideas, sharing scientific discussions and beers! Sure enough, Richard was an inspiration to all of us and will be remembered. – Phillipe Berny

 “He was among the most thoughtful and best thinking scientist I have ever met. And a wonderful person.” – Christian Sonne

Richard has always been a kind and supportive person without asking anything in return beyond great science. He will be dearly missed by so many people.” - Veerle Jaspers

 “Every meeting with Richard was really motivating and encouraging and he always had time for discussing my doubts. I feel really lucky, honoured and grateful to have been able to meet him….” – Pilar Gómez Ramírez

 “I was fortunate to train with Richard in 2003 and 2004. He opened the doors for his lab and I learned a lot of things from him.” – Emma Martinez-Lopez

I approached Richard at one of our first COST meetings and asked his guidance regarding results I had about exposure of Griffon vultures to environmental contaminants… He gave me a roadmap on how to start studying the list of contaminants and which should be top priority… I could feel his great enthusiasm and his willingness to help a person he had just met. This was for me a significant “push” to go forward with my research.” – Yael Choresh  

Thank you Richard for being such an excellent person and researcher, for leading so kindly and generously, for hosting us in your country, for your humour, for your support and encouraging words when they were most needed… We really admire you. We have no words to express how much we will miss you. You will always be in our hearts.” – Silvia Espín

A tribute providing a fuller overview of Richard’s life and career is published on the UKCEH website here.