Origin and Spread of Malaria: St. Rombout’s Cemetery in Mechelen Plays Key Role in International Research


The St. Rombout’s Cemetery in Mechelen plays an important role in an international study on the history of malaria. The study is published in the prestigious journal Nature. "The discoveries at the cemetery show how military activities and troop movements significantly contributed to the regional spread of malaria."


Monitoring of ship emissions praised for sustainable impact


The monitoring programme of the Institute of Natural Sciences for emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) of ships at sea was awarded the ‘Special Commendation for Sustainable Impact’ in the context of the Greening Award Initiative of the European Maritime Safety Agency. A well-deserved recognition for the impact and sustainability of our efforts to combat air pollution from ships at sea.


Mysterious skeleton found in lead coffin in Bruges is that of Boudewijn I of Assebroek


On June 12, 2023, the archaeologists from Raakvlak made a very special discovery at the site of the former Eekhout Abbey in Bruges. In a medieval burial vault, they came across a lead coffin.


New crab species discovered on Belgian beaches


A new crab species, Polybius dioscurus, has been discovered on Belgian beaches. "This exciting discovery shows that even well-explored areas can surprise us."


Termites found in Belgium for the first time


Biologists have confirmed the presence of three different species of termites in Belgium for the first time. Because these tropical insects eat wood, they can cause damage to buildings and other wooden structures. Termites may have arrived here via imported infested wood products. One of the three species can survive cooler climates and may spread further.


Galápagos beetles prove: genetic mix is key to rapid adaptation in a changing world


Beetles on the Galápagos Islands have adapted quickly and repeatedly to higher altitudes thanks to their genetic heritage from ancient evolutionary events, biologists from the Institute of Natural Sciences have discovered. "This mechanism helps us understand how organisms will adapt in our rapidly changing world."


New Atlas shows where to find Critical Raw Materials in Belgium


A team of Belgian geologists has mapped out where critical raw materials, such as lithium for batteries, rare earths for wind turbines, and copper for power grids, can still be found in Belgium. “It’s time to explore our subsoil further,” says geologist Sophie Decrée.


Marine mammals and sea turtles in Belgium in 2023


The new report 'Marine mammals and sea turtles in Belgium in 2023' summarizes the results of the monitoring and research on these animals in Belgium in 2023.

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Biodiversity loss is a reality that can no longer be denied


This is why it’s essential to act for its protection as of today.” Says our conservation biologist René-Marie Lafontaine. During more than 40 years on the field, he witnessed the staggering biodiversity loss in Belgium, Europe and worldwide first-hand.


Aerial observations over the North Sea in 2023


In 2023, the aerial surveillance aircraft detected 17 cases of operational marine pollution from ships, and suspicious sulphur and nitrogen levels in the smoke plumes of 24 and 42 ships. Other activities included monitoring of oil and gas installations, marine mammal counts and broader maritime surveillance.