The recipients of the Louis De Pauw award are listed by year. A short introduction concerning their research and contributions to Belgian paleontology are briefly discussed. The biography of each awardee will be updated after the annual award ceremony
The first Louis De Pauw award (2020), was presented to none other than Marcel Vervoenen. Originally a printer by profession, Marcel was able to develop a very special technique in the 1990s that made it possible to preserve entire fossilised sea beds and lumachellas (shell banks) in their soft sediment context. Thus, these otherwise very ephemeral discoveries provided more insight into the influence that tides, storms or calmer periods could have on the fauna of Cenozoic seabeds in Flanders. Although he had no academic training, Marcel Vervoenen published the well-known Taphonomy of some Cenozoic seabeds from the Flemish region through the Belgian Geological Service in 1995. Hey also studied the Pleistocene fauna of Bos Van Aa in Zemst during the 1980’s and 1990’s in collaboration with professional researchers from the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. His international collaboration, eye for detail, hands on mentality and passion make him the perfect example of what citizen science should be.
The 2021 citizen scientist award went to Mark Bosselaers, who, through numerous publications and fruitful collaboration with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, has established himself as a regional authority on fossil cetaceans and tunicates. On a local level, this former art teacher at many academies does not shy away from cooperation with fossil collectors who, thanks to him, contribute to ongoing research. His contagious drive, amazing versatility and human approach make Mark Bosselaers a figurehead of what citizen science has been able to achieve to date, but can also achieve for future generations. a citizen scientist, Mark has an impressive list of important scientific publications to his name. In addition, like many other citizen scientists, he spares no time nor effort to, save, store and make an inventory of all the material he has found or that has been brought to him by other collectors and volunteers. Because Mark Bosselaers is also very active abroad and has made valuable contributions to research, he has already deservedly received several international awards such as the Saporta prize in France in 2018 and the van der Lijn prize in the Netherlands in 2019. Today, there is also a Belgian recognition.
The 2022 Louis De Pauw Laureate embodies all the qualities of a self-taught citizen scientist who found his paleontological specialization early on and grew to become a true expert in his field. He did not shy away from collaborations with professional researchers and started to publish quickly during his scientific journey. Frederik Mollen, embodies the prime example of a person who diligently applies comparative anatomy to the study of his subject, as once did the famous french naturalist Georges Cuvier, now of course applying the latest research methods that are available in the 21st century. His path as a citizen scientist is very impressive to say the least. He is a recognized expert in his field with more than 35 peer-reviewed publications and counting, he is also an international referee for many scientific journals such as the zoological journal of the Linnean society in the UK, he is also a recognized CITES expert for Belgium and France (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), and he often educates children and adults on his research via lectures in schools, wherever he is, Frederik actively promotes his research via exhibitions, and classic media, emphasizing the contributions of citizen scientists. and he erected a research organization by himself (Elasmobranch Research).
The Laureate of the 2023 Louis De Pauw award is not somebody with a Belgian nationality. The jury decided to nominate none other than Allart Van Viersen as laureate for this year. Allart has published none less than 37 papers in scientific peer-reviewed journals on the subjects of Devonian trilobite taxonomy, paleobiogeography, functional morphology and paleo-ecology, describing more than 100 new trilobites in the process. All new beautiful pearls from the Rheïc ocean. The vast majority of these publications are open access, which means they are freely accessible to everyone. In the same period, he also managed to publish an equally large amount of articles aimed at the wider public in a variety of magazines, in English, Dutch, German and even French. Not to mention the fieldwork and countless lectures given at associations, musea and the like. His passion and dedication is combined with a full-time job and family life. As a self-taught researcher he has accumulated a vast knowledge within his field, which he enjoys sharing with professional and non-professional researchers. He is currently considered as one of the top 20 experts on trilobites worldwide. His contributions to belgian paleontology are vast and did not remain unnoticed.