Olivier Pauwels, curator of the vertebrate collections (Photo: Olivier Pauwels)

Biologist Olivier Pauwels is the curator of our recent vertebrate collection since 2017. In this job, he combines his experience with fieldwork around the globe and his biodiversity expertise. ‘As a child, I was fascinated about frogs and newts’, Olivier says. ‘I spent a lot of school holidays at the reptile and amphibian section in the Africa Museum.’ After high school, he studied biology in Brussels.

Around The World

Olivier specialised in environmental impact assessment, environmental project management and biodiversity inventories. From 2001 to 2011 he was based in Gabon. His various roles included Training Manager for the WWF and Manager of the Smithsonian Institution’s Gabon Program. ‘It was an adventurous time, leading scientific expeditions in remote and unexplored jungles and even living with the Pygmies.’

From 2011 to 2015 Olivier was based in Kazakhstan, where he managed biodiversity monitoring programs in and around oil concessions. He acquired a solid knowledge on Eurasian steppe and Caspian Sea ecology and biodiversity, putting in place long-term conservation programs, among others for the endemic Caspian seal.

100 New Species

'The many biodiversity research projects Olivier participates to mostly involve reptiles' and amphibians’ taxonomy, phylogeny and ecology, but he also occasionally works on insects, mammals, fish and birds. He co-described about 100 new species!

Since 1996 Olivier had been research associate at our Institute. His role as conservator gives him the chance to live the exotic side of biology a little closer to home. ‘This job gives me the chance to welcome researchers from all around the world and help them study our collection. I not only want to make their job easier, but make their visit to our Institute a nice memory!’

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