iBOL Members

Board of Directors


Director, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics

Paul Hebert has 30 years of experience in the oversight of major research and academic units including Director of the Great Lakes Institute at the University of Windsor, Chair of the Department of Zoology at the University of Guelph, Board Chair at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, and Founding Director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph and Director of its Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. Over his career, he has trained more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, and has received more than $100 million in research grants. For the past twenty years his research has focused on the development and application of DNA-based identification systems. Since 2010, he has been Scientific Director of the International Barcode of Life Consortium and Chair of its Board since 2015. His more than 500 publications have attracted over 100,000 citations, generating an h-index of 130. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and received the 2018 Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences, and the 2020 Midori Prize for Biodiversity. He holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Waterloo, Western, Windsor, and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

South Africa

Director, African Centre for DNA Barcoding

Michelle van der Bank received her PhD in Botany from the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg, South Africa) in 1996. She is a Professor in Botany at the University of Johannesburg and Director of the African Centre for DNA Barcoding (ACDB). ACDB’s mission is to fill the knowledge gap and strengthen research frameworks for international, regional and inter-institutional co-operation in Africa in the field of DNA technology for biodiversity science. Her research group uses molecular phylogenetics, comparative analyses and intensive fieldwork to address questions relevant to biodiversity conservation in Africa.

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Jonathan Coddington

United States

Senior Scientist, National Museum of Natural History

Dr. Coddington is the Director of the Global Genome Initiative, and Senior Scientist in the Department of Entomology. The Global Genome Initiative (GGI) — organized by the Smithsonian Institution as part of its Institute for Biodiversity Genomics — seeks to “preserve and understand the genomic diversity of life.” With partners and collaborators, it aims to sample key branches of the Tree of Life phylogenetically and synoptically via a global network of biorepositories and research organizations. Specifics goals are to preserve samples of all families and 50% of described genera; to make these collections available for research, with appropriate access and benefit sharing (ABS); to increase computational support and technological capacity to sequence genomes; and to train the next generation of genomics researchers in biodiversity science.

His research spans four broad topics: the systematics and evolution of spiders, especially orbweavers; issues in systematic theory and method; the theory and design of biological inventories; and, most recently, biodiversity genomics. As a museum scientist, his work focuses on the design and evaluation of rapid, efficient, quantitative sampling protocols to better understand the structure and distribution of biodiversity. Finally, the rapidly developing field of genomics will transform biodiversity science and museum science, from the field to the laboratory.

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Adrian Forsyth

United States / Peru

Executive Director and Founder, Andes Amazon Fund

Adrian Forsyth is the Executive Director and Founder of Andes Amazon Fund. His fieldwork and conservation efforts have taken place in the most remote regions of the New World and Old World tropics for the past 45 years. Adrian co-founded the Andes-Amazon Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Amazon Conservation Association, and Osa Conservation. He has served as Vice President of blue moon fund, Director of Biodiversity at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and Vice President of Conservation International. He has also worked as a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution and the Royal Ontario Museum and has been a faculty member at Arizona State University in the Department of Zoology. Adrian is the author of nine acclaimed natural history books and has developed five biological field stations in the Amazon and in Central America. Adrian currently serves as President of the Board of the Amazon Conservation Association and is Board Chairman of Osa Conservation. He received his Ph.D. in Tropical Ecology from Harvard University under E.O. Wilson, a renowned biologist.

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Sir Charles Godfray

United Kingdom

Director, Oxford Martin School Professor of Population Biology at Oxford University.

Sir Charles Godfray is Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Population Biology at Oxford University. He has broad interests in science and the interplay of science and policy, and has spent his career at Oxford University and Imperial College. His research has involved experimental and theoretical studies in population and community ecology, epidemiology, and evolutionary biology. He is particularly interested in food security and chaired the Lead Expert Group of the UK Government Office of Science’s Foresight project on the Future of Food and Farming. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2001 and knighted in 2017. He is obsessed by the biology and taxonomy of small parasitoid wasps.

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Dan Janzen & Winnie Hallwachs

Costa Rica

Coordinators, BioAlfa

Dr. Daniel Janzen, DiMaura Professor of Conservation Biology, University of Pennsylvania, is a tropical ecologist and biodiversity conservationist with 66 years of field experience and 545 scientific papers and books, all focused on the interactions of tropical animals and plants, and for the past 33 years, on their permanent in-situ conservation as well. He is a world level authority on the taxonomy and biology of tropical caterpillars, a member of the US and the Costa Rican National Academy of Sciences, and recipient of the Crafoord Prize (1984), the Kyoto Prize (1997), BBVA Prize (2012) and Blue Planet Prize (2014, with Costa Rica’s INBio).

Janzen and biologist, Dr. Winnie Hallwachs are co-architects and co-constructors, along with hundreds of others, of Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) and of Costa Rica’s INBio (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad). These efforts, along with the ACG, are morphing into BioAlfa, an effort to render the entire country of Costa Rica bioliterate by it coming to know all the biodiversity that is in it, largely through DNA barcoding and national participation. Janzen also serves as President of the Guanacaste Dry Forest Conservation Fund (GDFCF), the US-based NGO for ACG. Hallwachs serves as Vice President of the GDFCF and Technical Advisor for the ACG.

Janzen and Hallwachs are currently focused on facilitating iBOL efforts to DNA barcode all species of the world for their identification and species discovery by anyone anywhere at any time, and simultaneously, on facilitating Costa Rica’s willingness to permanently conserve the 4% of the world’s biodiversity that lives on 25% of its national property, and do it through BioAlfa as a global example of sustainable non-damaging use of tropical wildland biodiversity.

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Mara Lawniczak

United Kingdom

Senior Group Leader, Wellcome Sanger Institute

Mara Lawniczak is an evolutionary geneticist with a long-standing interest in speciation and biodiversity. She is a faculty member at Sanger, and her research group is currently split between the newly established Tree of Life Programme and the Parasites and Microbes Programme. She received her PhD in Population Biology from the University of California at Davis. In 2004, she moved to London for a postdoc and has remained in the UK since then. Her research has always used genomic technologies to address topics ranging from sexual conflict in Drosophila flies, to speciation genetics in Anopheles mosquitoes, to transmission biology in Plasmodium parasites. At Sanger, she co-leads the Vector Observatory to sequence the genomes of 50,000 wild mosquitoes. This is one of the largest population genomics projects on eukaryotes and it is focused on how natural populations vary over space and time in the context of major vector control efforts to eliminate malaria transmission.

Since the start of her PhD, every project she has worked on has been completely reliant on having a high-quality reference genome, and she is excited by the research opportunities that will be empowered by global efforts to dramatically increase the number and the quality of available reference genomes across the diversity of life. As such, more recently, she has been working together with other UK scientists to run the Darwin Tree of Life Project, which aims to generate reference genomes for the tens of thousands of described eukaryotic species found in the UK. Work like the Anopheles gambiae 1000 genomes project is an exemplar of what will be possible for thousands of organisms in the future because of efforts like the Darwin Tree of Life Project. She believes that global biodiversity science initiatives like BIOSCAN and the Earth BioGenome Project will transform our understanding of our natural world, and she is thrilled to be a part of them.

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Edwin van Huis

The Netherlands

General Director, Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Edwin van Huis studied biology in Utrecht and Gainesville Florida, and business management in Rotterdam. He worked most of his professional career in the arts. He was the Managing Director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Dance Theater before setting up his own company in concept design. But when he was offered the chance to lead Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, he did not hesitate for a second. Naturalis is the Dutch national center for biodiversity research and the national museum for natural history. Naturalis is involved in biodiversity research in many parts of the globe, and invests largely in biodiversity informatics and information systems, working with GBIF and hosting the Catalogue of Life, as well as leading the new European ESFRI-infrastructure DiSSCo.

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Wolfgang Wägele


Director Emeritus, Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig

Wolfgang Wägele spent much of his childhood in Colombia, but received his PhD from Kiel University and his Habilitation from the University of Oldenburg. He held a professorship in animal systematics at the University of Bielefeld from 1991-1996 before his appointment as as Chair of Systematic Zoology at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. He relocated to Bonn in 2004 where he is Director Emeritus of the Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig and Chair of Systematic Zoology at the University of Bonn. His research has focused on morphological and molecular taxonomy, systematics theory, and techniques for biodiversity monitoring with an emphasis on marine crustaceans. Wolfgang has sustained a very active involvement in field expeditions, coupling studies of biodiversity in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Oceans with work in rain forests of Ecuador and Tanzania. He leads the German Barcode of Life Network, an alliance of museum and university researchers that have made a major contribution to the iBOL consortium.

Learn more about iBOL

The International Barcode of Life Consortium is a research alliance undertaking the largest global biodiversity science initiative: create a digital identification system for life that is accessible to everyone

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