The CETAF E-SCoRe Award winner is Dr. Guillaume Ghisbain.
His success was announced today during the Empowering Biodiversity Research II at Tervuren.
Dr. Guillaume Ghisbain is a conservation biologist and taxonomist, working at the Laboratory of Zoology at the University of Mons. He received the award from Gila Kahila Bar-Gal, Secretary of the Consortium of the European Taxonomic Facilities (CETAF), and from Erik Smets, Treasurer, during the ceremony at the AfricaMuseum.
After completing a thesis on the bumblebee in the Anthropocene, Dr. Ghisbain, who has traveled North and Central America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe for his research on pollinators, has submitted to CETAF E-SCoRe Award a series of works focusing on the taxonomy and conservation of bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila).
“I’m immensely grateful for this Award, it is a great honor” - Dr. Ghisbain says - “It’s good to see an organization that sincerely pays attention to the development of young researchers.”
The 2022 CETAF E-SCoRe winner recalls his beginnings in Bruxelles: “Studying the collections of locally extinct bumblebees from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences marked me forever, as they constitute the relics of what the fauna of my country was before the current global changes. I knew from that day on that my goal was to become a conservation biologist and a taxonomist. I, therefore, showed in my papers that species inventories and distributions are critical requirements for red listing, for which I completed a workshop with the IUCN last year. I wrote papers demonstrating that without taxonomy, nature conservation cannot be fully efficient, as we cannot protect what we do not know. As I sincerely believe that museum specimens constitute a treasure for getting a global understanding of the radiation of species, as well as their distribution across time and space, I used modelling to show how we can understand the requirements of species only using historical collections, showing that we already have enough data in our hands to thoroughly understand how global changes affect wildlife. I made a point of not only studying “easy faunas” for which a lot is already known, but also focusing on highly overlooked faunas (such as Afghanistan). This required meeting experts and analyzing collections in various countries (Austria, Belgium, England, Germany). Because I think it is critical to share the unconditional beauty of wildlife, I ensure that my papers are illustrated with high-quality images, as it can contribute to raising awareness among the general audience. Overall, my works have shown that taxonomy and nature conservation are intrinsically linked and that the former cannot exist without acknowledging the critical importance of museum collections.”
“By awarding the E-SCoRe” - says Gila Kahila Bar-Gal - “CETAF wishes to highlight the significance of collections-based research also in the fight against biodiversity loss and climate change as well as to support early career researchers in this field. I think this year’s award is particularly significant due to the attention given to this topic globally and specifically to the pollinators from the European Commission”.
“Studying the collections of locally extinct bumblebees from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences marked me forever: I knew from that day on that my goal was to become a conservation biologist and a taxonomist.
THE E-SCoRe AWARD
The CETAF E-SCoRe has reached the third edition, and it’s an initiative to reward early-career researchers, within the fields of taxonomy, biodiversity and geodiversity science, who base their research on natural science collections. E-SCORE - Excellence in Scientific Collections-based Research, is a celebration of the new generation of scientists who have shown dedication to the use of collections that help document, describe and understand life on earth, and the processes that have shaped it. The award also celebrates the United Nations endorsed International Day for Biological Diversity, which falls annually on the 22nd of May to commemorate the 1992 adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Since this year the 22nd has been a Sunday, and there was the opportunity to award the prize physically for the first time, CETAF decided to move the ceremony to the AfricaMuseum, where the Belgian Biodiversity Platform has organised an important event for the biodiversity world, such as EBRII.
The prize is given annually to a young researcher and consists of three parts: a cash prize of €1,000, financial support of up to €1,000 for a scientific visit to a CETAF institute, and an invitation to the next CETAF Governing Board meeting to present the winning research.