The Carlo Heip International Award for outstanding accomplishments in marine biodiversity science


The Carlo Heip International Award for outstanding accomplishments in marine biodiversity science was inaugurated in recognition of Carlo Heip’s leadership in marine biodiversity research and founding of the ‘World Conference on Marine Biodiversity’.


Award Ceremony Evening:

18:30-22:00, Tuesday, May 15

Perspectives Room, Centre des sciences


Carlos Duarte will be the keynote speaker. All WCMB delegates are invited to the Carlo Heip Award Ceremony (included with conference registration).


1st Carlo Heip Award Recipient


Prof. Carlos M. Duarte, Director of the Red Sea Research Center and Tarek Ahmed Juffalli Chair in Red Sea Ecology of King Abdullah University of Science Technology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been elected the first recipient of the Carlo Heip Award. He is a world-wide leading authority on seagrasses and has published on all aspects of seagrass ecology, from population biology to genetics, from depth and geographical distribution patterns to their role in biogeochemical cycles, and from conservation strategies to their sensitivity to climate change. His pioneering work on seagrasses and other vegetated systems eventually led – in collaboration with different UN agencies – to the development of “blue carbon” strategies, which has provided a strong impetus to the conservation of vegetated coastal ecosystems.


Carlos may be the most versatile aquatic ecologist of his generation: he works from the tropics to polar ecosystems, from macrophytes to microbes, from coastal systems to open ocean gyres using all types of approaches. His research is characterized by independence, creativity, serendipity, and interdisciplinary linking of thought-to-be separate fields. Many of his synthesis papers have set the stage for the field, one notable example being that his work initiated the discussion on the heterotrophic nature of oligotrophic systems and identified the role of hypoxia thresholds for marine biodiversity. To date, Carlos has over 630 publications cited 42,000 times. As was Carlo Heip before him, Carlos has been listed as one of the most cited scientists by Thomson Reuters.


Recognizing the many gaps in our understanding of the deep-sea pelagic ecosystem, Duarte led the Malaspina Circumnavigation Expedition, involving more than 500 scientists and that sailed the oceans between 2010 and 2011 to provide a global assessment of the deep-sea biodiversity and functioning. Other leadership service roles included editing journals, being a member of numerous international scientific committees, and being President of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography.


During the last decade, his publications have been instrumental in advancing our understanding of the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems, organisms and biodiversity. He has also contributed original work to science in support of policy and management towards sustainable use of ecosystems.


Finally Carlos Duarte, together with the late Carlo Heip, initiated the World Marine Biodiversity Conference series and organized and chaired the first of these conferences in Valencia, Spain.


Carlo  Heip


Carlo Heip (1945) studied Biology at Ghent University, where he founded the marine biology research group after he graduated. In 1987, he was appointed director of the Delta Institute in Yerseke, which was incorporated into the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO) as the Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology (CEME) in 1992 and has been a division of NIOZ since 2012. In 2006, Carlo Heip was appointed general director at NIOZ on Texel. He retired in 2011. After that, he stayed on as an advisor at NIOZ and he became the general editor of the Journal of Sea Research. His first research project involved population dynamics, ecology and the ecotoxicology of benthic life. Later, his focus shifted to the link between biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems.


Carlo Heip has over 150 articles to his name and he has edited several books. He was a source of inspiration for many national and international initiatives in the field of marine research. He played an important part in promoting European research into land-ocean interaction, and into ecological processes in estuaries, in particular. He was responsible for numerous EU projects. The most important of these EU projects was MARBEF (Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning), in which taxonomists and ecologists worked together on a European scale to strengthen our understanding of marine biodiversity and ecosystem function and support the protection of marine biodiversity. This project made a significant contribution to worldwide initiatives to better describe and understand the importance and variety of organisms in the sea.


Carlo Heip was an eminent scientist and a committed intellectual who as a researcher contributed to the better preservation of the marine environment. He was a director and organiser with vision and leadership. We will remember him as a warm and dedicated person.

4th World Conference on Marine Biodiversity

May 13-16, 2018 |  Montréal, Québec, Canada

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