Our Team

We are fascinated by the endless diversity of life. Our aim is to enable citizen scientists to be directly involved in new biodiversity discoveries. With traditional naturalist methods and modern DNA and cyber-biology tools, we will contribute to the knowledge of the world's biodiversity hotspots and aid in their conservation.

Menno Schilthuizen

Dr. Menno Schilthuizen is co-founder and co-director of Taxon Expeditions. He is a senior researcher at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, and professor of evolution and biodiversity at Leiden University, the Netherlands. For seven years, he lived and worked in Malaysian Borneo, where he helped set up the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation. He published more than 100 papers in scientific journals including Nature and Science. His work focuses on evolution and biodiversity, mostly in insects and snails and mostly in Borneo, the Mediterranean, and the Netherlands. Schilthuizen is also active in science popularization. He has published four books for the general public, most recently: Nature’s Nether Regions (Penguin, 2014) and Darwin Comes to Town (Quercus Books, 2018). He is also a regular contributor to magazines such as TimeNew Scientistthe Huffington Post, and the New York Times.

 

To contact Menno, visit his homepage, Studio Schilthuizen

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Iva Njunjić

 

Dr. Iva Njunjić is co-founder and co-director of Taxon Expeditions. She is biospeleologist (or: cave-biologist) working on evolution of cave beetles. She obtained her PhD from the Paris-Sorbonne University and has worked at the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia, the University of Novi Sad, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. She has eight years of experience in exploring caves in the Balkans and Borneo, and has published scientific papers on the bizarre spider-like cave beetles of southern Europe. Her work has been featured in international media like the Guardian  and Live Science. Some of her cave explorations were captured in videos that can be viewed here and here and new species that she described were listed among Top ten species described in 2016.

 

Contact Iva via iva.enco@gmail.com

Hendrik Freitag

 

Dr. Hendrik Freitag, instructor on our Borneo expeditions, is an Associate Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University where he leads the Ecology and Systematics Research Cluster. For almost 20 years, he has been working on aquatic insects, especially water beetles, but also freshwater crabs. He also coordinates sustainable land-use projects with Rainforestation Farming in Key Biodiversity Areas of the Philippines and organizes Aquatic Biodiversity Workshops and conferences almost every year.

 

His research results attracted renowned media such as National Geographic, the Guardian or the science curiosity TV show Matanglawin of ABS-CBN Philippines. From 2009 to 2013 he was board chairman of the Phyllodrom Rainforest Museum Leipzig where he is still active. Currently he serves as lead author for the Regional Assessment for Asia and the Pacific of the UN-driven Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

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Massimo Delledonne

 

Massimo Delledonne is Full Professor of Genetics at Universita' degli Studi di Verona. He manages a vigorous research program that emphasizes interdisciplinary approaches to understanding plant and human biology. His own expertise is in the areas of genetics, molecular biology and genomics, and collaborates with researchers in diverse fields, including bioinformatics, microbiology and plant genomics, and medicine.

 

He is co-founder and scientific director of Personal Genomics S. R. L., a spin-off of University of Verona established in 2011 that operates in the field of human genomics and personalized medicine.

 

Special Guest: Carin Bondar

 

Guest instructor is Canadian Carin Bondar. She has a PhD in biology from the University of British Columbia. Her field work took her to the forests of British Columbia and New Zealand where she studied small stream ecosystems.

 

In addition to being an adjunct professor of biology at The University of the Fraser Valley, she is the writer and host of the web series Wild Sex (Earth Touch Productions) that has garnered over 60 million views. Her TED talk on the same topic has reached an audience of over 2.3 million. Wild Sex, her book based on the series (Pegasus USA), was released in 2016 and her next book Wild Moms is due to be released on Mother’s Day 2018. Dr. Bondar can be seen on a variety of television and web series including Outrageous Acts of Science on the Discovery Channel and Stephen Hawking’s Brave New World on National Geographic. She is also the host of World Oddest Animal Couples, (Netflix, Animal Planet).

Bondar’s main website is www.carinbondar.com.

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Collaborators

In Borneo, we work closely with the staff of the Maliau Basin Studies Centre and with the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) of Universiti Malaysia Sabah, the local university in Kota Kinabalu.

In Montenegro, we work with the Department of Biology at the University of Montenegro.