Tom Artois

Head of the team | Full professor

Candidate Biology, Limburgs Universitair Centrum
Licentiate Biology, Ghent University
PhD Biology, Limburgs Universitair Centrum

Joined the group in August 1999

Research interests:
– Biodiversity, phylogeny and biogeography of flatworms, rhabdocoels in particular
– Ecology and population structure of animals in the framework of nature conservation
– Biodiversity and ecosystem services of urban green infrastructures

The central topic of my research is biodiversity in its broadest sense. My first research area concerns the taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of turbellarians (free-living flatworms) in general and rhabdocoels in particular. This group of minute invertebrates, although ubiquitous in all aquatic and moist environments, including semi-terrestrial habitats, is enormously understudied. However, they form a major component of all these habitats, both in number of specimens as well as in species diversity. Sound taxonomical knowledge of this group of animals, therefore, is of paramount importance for a better understanding of the enormous richness of our world’s biodiversity. I also study the effects of green roofs and green walls in urbanized environments on urban biodiversity, and the ecosystem services these might deliver. A third topic of my research concerns breeding and foraging ecology, habitat use and populations structure in animals that are relevant as umbrella species for the often threatened habitat they live in, or are important from the viewpoint of society. At this moment I focuss on European Nightjar as a heathland inhabitant, and on Wild Boar as a species often considered pernicious in Flanders.

My favorite quote: “Dimidium facti qui coepit habet: sapere aude, incipe.” –Horatius

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