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General director
Support services Directorate Public services Directorate Taxonomy and Phylogeny Directorate Natural Environment Directorate Earth and History of life
Technical Visitors' Service Vertebrates Freshwater Biology Palaeontology
ICT Exhibitions Invertebrates Biological Evaluation Anthropology and Prehistory
HR Museology Entomology Marine Environment Geological Survey of Belgium
Finance Education   National Focal Point to the CBD / Development Cooperation (DGD)  
  Communication   Scientific Service MUMM  
Scientific Service Heritage

General director

The General Director of the Institute and the Museum is Mrs. Dr. Camille Pisani.

Support Services

The Director of Support Services a.i. is Mr Eric Danon.

He is responsible for the following services:

Technical services

ICT & Multimedia service
computer and network, web, multimedia

Human Resources


Directorate Public services

The Director Public services a.i. is Mr Pierre Coulon.

He is responsible for the following services:

Visitors' Service
reservations, access, reception in the museum halls, cloakroom

design, scenarios of temporary and permanent exhibitions

realization of temporary and permanent exhibitions

guided tours, workshops, training, visitor accompaniment

promotion, science popularization, partnerships and events, marketing, intern communication

Directorate Taxonomy and Phylogeny

The Director Taxonomy and Phylogeny a.i. is Mr Thierry Backeljau.

He is responsible for the following services:

Systematics and biochemical taxonomy, populations' dynamics

  • General management of the collections of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and a systematic study of them
  • Integrative taxonomy of vertebrates
  • Application of molecular techniques in the fields of systematics, population genetics and phylogeny, with particular focus on the fauna of the Congo Basin

Malacology and recent invertebrates

  • Study of the evolution and biodiversity if invertebrates (marine, of brackish waters, terrestrial); this research involves systematics, morphology, phylogenetics, population genetics, ecology, faunistics and zoogeography
  • Intensive study of the faunas of South America, Southeast Asia, the Indo-Pacific Region, the Gulf of Mexico and of the Antarctic, beside of the Belgian, and more generally European, faunas
  • Use of data processing in the general management and everyday use of the huge invertebrate collections
  • Use of the scanning electronic microscope for biological preparations. Application of molecular techniques in the fields of systematics and phylogeny, including DNA barcoding

Insects and Arachnomorphes

  • General management, maintenance and updating of entomological and arachnological collections
  • Taxonomic and phylogenetic study of insects and arachnids, with a particular stress on the following subjects
    • evolution of ecological adaptations in spiders and groundbeetles of the Galapagos islands (mechanisms of speciation)
    • research on speciation modes in insects; it is more particularly attempted to find out whether the behaviour (swarming, mating, capturing of prey) may lead to a genetic isolation within populations and species
  • Cartography, ecology and bio-monitoring of various invertebrate taxa (e.g. spiders, ground- beetles, rove-beetles, diptera) in natural, semi-natural and anthropic environments in Belgium; compilation of Red Lists; population genetics of carabid beetles
  • Molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of dipterans
  • Chemical communication in hymenopterans

Directorate Natural Environment

The Director Natural Environment is Mr Patrick Roose.

He is responsible for the following services:

Freshwater biology

  • Study of benthic organisms of ancient lakes such as lakes Baikal, Tanganyika and Nyasa/Malawi. Owing to their largely endemic fauna, these lakes are excellent natural laboratories for the research on evolution and speciation
  • Ecologic strategies of fresh-water organisms, a.o. through particular adaptations of their spreading mechanisms and of their life-cycles, notably sexual versus asexual reproduction
  • Paleao-ecology of African mountain lakes
  • Taxonomy and ecology of groundwater invertebrates

The section is a partner of the BIOFRESH (Biodiversity of Freshwater Ecosystems) project (this website will be opened in a new window).

Biological evaluation

  • Conservation biology: species, habitats, ecological networks, impact assessment
    projects: Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes and Gorilla Agreement
  • Belgian Ringing Centre: monitoring of bird population by individual marking (migration, population dynamics, surveillance of epidemics)
  • Biodiversity assessment: arthropods in tropical forests, social insects, canopies. (project: IBISCA)

Marine Environment

  • Study of the ecosystems of the North Sea through mathematical modelling techniques and observations of physical parameters (water height, currents, waves, temperature, salinity), chemical parameters and biological parameters
  • Research of sediment transport in the North Sea in relation to, amongst others, dredging activities
  • Use of satellite imagery for the development of ecosystem studies and models, such as the dispersion of fish larvae and the seasonal growth of phytoplankton
  • Management of the oceanographic research vessel RV Belgica including the planning and the organisation of the scientific campaigns at sea, and management of the scientific equipment on board
  • Research on the chemical composition of the sea and its pollution by oil and other substances at the accredited Marine Chemistry laboratory in Oostende
  • Study of the biodiversity on hard substrates (e.g. wind farms) and the evolution of non-indigenous species
  • Belgian Marine Data Center: providing the tools for collecting, managing, storing and spreading data on the marine environment. Scientific exploitation of the data is integrated, as a tool for scientists, policy makers and international conventions

More information on the website

National Focal Point to the CBD / Development Cooperation (DGD)

The Biodiversity Focal Point is Belgium’s link to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This international agreement emphasizes the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Each of the participating parties (193 in 2011) has designated a focal point, that also serves as information centre.

The Focal Point makes sure that the Convention is respected in and by Belgium. Because our country is no stranger to biodiversity: there are an estimated 35,000 animal species and 18,500 species of plant, algae, and fungi to be found here! The Focal Point also cooperates with other countries, maintains ties with the CBD Secretariat and informs the general public.

That is why communication on biodiversity is of the Focal Point’s tasks. Through all kinds of publications, media activities, conferences, training courses and the “I give life to my planet”-campaign, the Focal Point wants to make clear that biodiversity is important to everyone. Because we can only halt biodiversity loss by working together!

More information on the website of the focal point.

Scientific service MUMM

The head of service is Ms. Brigitte Lauwaert.

De missions of the Scienctific Service 'Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models' (MUMM) are as follows:

  • Human activities carried out at sea: Environmental impact assessment, preparation of Ministerial Orders containing license, post-patent monitoring. Specific provisions apply for the exploitation of mineral resources and the dumping of dredged material.
  • Marine pollution: 250 hours surveillance flights over the sea every year, official reports of violations, preparation of emergency plans.
  • Monitoring the quality of the marine environment according to the terms defined by the OSPAR Commission, the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
  • Management of marine mammal strandings.

Read more about these activities on the MUMM website.

Directorate Earth and History of life

The Director Earth and History of life is Mr Pascal Godefroit.

He is responsible for the following services:


Micropalaeontology and palaeobotany

  • Systematic study of ostracods (Devonian), nanoplancton (Cretaceous and Tertiary) and continental microflora (Cenozoic) with their consequences in biostratigraphy, palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology and palaeoecology

Fossil invertebrates

  • Systematic study of fossil invertebrates from Cambrian to Pleistocene with implications in the fields of biostratigraphy, palaeogeography and palaeoecology
  • Main subjects of research
    • Devonian: geological and biostratigraphical research, mainly in the Ardennes (see also Section 12); systematic research on brachiopods and corals
    • Cretaceous: research on bivalves and echinids of the regular type, with a particular attention for the fauna of the Maastricht stratotype
    • Tertiary: systematic research on bivalves and gastropods

Fossil vertebrates

  • Stratigraphy and palaeontology of great Mammals of the Pleistocene in loessial formations and fluviatile sediments in Europe in relation with the palaeoecology of Man
  • Reconstructions of the fish faunas in Tertiary seas from the study of otolithes and shark teeth
  • Evolution of Mesozoic and Cenozoic mammals: study of key-events in the history of mammals
  • Excavation of deposits of dinosaurs and primitive mammals form the Cretaceous of central Mongolia
  • Systematics, stratigraphy and palaeoecology of conodontes of the Devonian of western Europe, south Morocco and Canada; emphasizing, at an international level, the importance of the Devonian in the Ardennes, a very important region for the stratigraphy of the Devonian

Anthropology and Prehistory


  • Study of human fossils, in particular of Neanderthal men of Spy, of neolithic populations from the Mosan basin and from the medieval necropolis of Coxyde


  • Research on manifestations of the Prehistoric Man and on the evolution of his societies concerning the habitat, the environment and the techniques of the first farmers of our regions (Meuse, Moselle, sources of Dendre)

Geological Survey of Belgium


  • A public service, by arranging all available information into a Documentation Centre for Earth Sciences
  • The organisation of research projects in the framework of its « Research and Development » programs

This mission is accomplished through the following activities and projects:

  • Maintenance of a data base (GeoDoc) with information about the Belgian subsoil (actually more than 150.000 observation points)
  • Use of this GeoDoc information for delivering technical advice about resources, groundwater, underground storage, energetic resources, CO2 storage, geothermal energy etc. to government agencies, industry and individual citizens
  • Research programs in collaboration with the Regions -especially concerning the revised geological maps - and in collaboration with national, European and international scientific organisations
  • Protection and promotion of the geological heritage of Belgium

More information on the website of the Geological Survey of Belgium.

Scientific Service Heritage

The head of service is Patrick Semal.

The Scientific Service for Heritage ensures the daily management of the scientific heritage (collections, library and scientific archives). In this framework, the service is responsible for the expansion, care and valorization of the collections of general interest and for which the service bears material and moral responsibility.

The tasks of the Scientific Service for Heritage are exercised in cooperation with the scientific Operational Directorates, the Public Management Directorate and the Support Directorate.

  • Expansion of the collections
  • Care of collections
  • Valorisation of the collections
  • Digitization of the collections

Last modified : January 27, 2014