Wilhelm Barthlott was born in 1946, in Forst (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). He studied Biology with Chemistry, Physics and Geography at the University of Heidelberg, and his dissertation subject was the contribution to taxonomy and biogeography of the palaeotropic Rhipsalis and to the general micromorphology of Cactaceae.
He was Scientific Assistant at the Institute of Systematic Botany and Plant Geography, University of Heidelberg, and Associate Professor at the Institute of Systematic Botany and Plant Geography of the Freie Universität, Berlin. Since 1985 he has been Professor and head of department at the Botanical Institute and director of the Botanical Garden of the University of Bonn.
His main fields of research are tropical ecology and biodiversity (epiphytes, vegetation of inselbergs, mapping of biodiversity by use of geographical information systems, and carnivorous plants), and the systematics of angiosperms; high resolution scanning electron microscopy of cuticular surfaces and systematic applicability of epicuticular wax ultrastructure; ecological aspects of contamination and effects of tensides; and the technical development of artificial “intelligent” surfaces with self-cleaning effects (the “lotus-effect”). He has researched mainly in South America (Brazil, Ecuador, and Venezuela), West Africa (Ivory Coast), and Madagascar. He has been awarded numerous grants by for example the DFG, BMBF, Volkswagen Stiftung. He received the Karl-Heinz-Beckurts-Award in 1997; he was nominated for the Deutschen Zukunftspreis des Bundespräsidenten, and awarded the Order of Andrès Bello of the Republic of Venezuela in 1998. He has also received the Philip-Morris Science Award and the German Environmental Award (1999), the Treviranus-Medal of the Association of German Biologists and the Austrian GLOBArt Innovation Award (2001). He was awarded the Cactus d’Or on behalf of the International Organization of Succulent Plant Study in 2002. He is a member of the Academy of Science and Literature in Mainz, the Academy of Science of North Rhine Westphalia, the German Academy of Naturalists (Leopoldina), and was appointed a Foreign Member of the Linnean Society in London.
K. Eduard Linsenmair was born in 1940 in Munich (Bavaria, Germany). He majored in Zoology with Botany, Chemistry, Anthropology and Psychology at the Universities of Heidelberg, Freiburg im Breisgau and Frankfurt am Main. His dissertation was an etho-ecological investigation on semiterrestrial crabs at the Red Sea.
He was Scientific Assistant in the Faculty of Biology and Pre-clinical Medicine, University of Regensburg, and “Privatdozent” and Professor for Zoology, University of Regensburg. Since 1976 he has held the Chair of Animal Ecology at the Zoological Institute; and is now Chair of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology at the Theodor-Boveri-Institute for Biological Sciences at the University of Würzburg.
His main fields of research are behavioral ecology, sociobiology, and eco-physiology, and as his main subject in recent years tropical biology with a major emphasis on community ecology, biodiversity questions, and life history studies. He has researched mainly in West Africa (Ivory Coast) and South-East Asia (Malaysia and Indonesia), and also in South America (Ecuador, French Guyana), and formerly North Africa, Sahara.
He has received financial support from the DFG, and subsequently from DAAD, the Volkswagen Stiftung, the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung (for construction of a permanent research station in the Comoé National Park in the Ivory Coast), Körber-Stiftung 1996 (for the construction of a canopy access system in French Guyana), Volkswagen Stiftung 1988 for “Wettbewerb Biowissenschaften” and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. He received the European science award in 1996, and is a Member of the German Academy of Naturalists (Leopoldina), and the Academia Europea. He is the initiator and co-ordinator of the priority program of the DFG: “Mechanisms of the maintenance of tropical diversity,” and has been co-organizer of two other main emphasis programs of the DFG (“Biochemical and physiological mechanisms of ecological adaptations in animals” and “Chemical ecology: natural compounds as behavioral modificators”). He is also the initiator and chairman of an ESF (European Science Foundation) program on “Tropical canopy research,” and co-initiator of the “Flanking program for tropical ecology” of the GTZ and member of the program and evaluating board. He is the co-ordinator of the BIOTA-West (“BIOdiversity Monitoring Transect Analysis in Africa”) program in the framework of the large BIOLOG program of the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).
He is President of the “Gesellschaft für Tropenökologie” (Tropical Ecology Society), and a member of the National Committee for Global Change Research (Speaker DIVERSITAS Program Germany).
Stefan Porembski was born in 1960, in Berlin (Germany). He studied Biology with Chemistry and Physics at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the University of Bonn, and his dissertation subject was functional aspects of the morphology and anatomy of succulent plants with particular emphasis on Cactaceae.
He was a Postdoctoral and Scientific Assistant at the Botanical Institute of the University of Bonn, and since 1998 has been Professor and head of department at the Botanical Institute and director of the Botanical Garden of the University of Rostock, where he created a working group on terrestrial habitat fragments (inselbergs, miniature dunes, forest islands, and temporary pools).
His main fields of research are tropical ecology and biodiversity (the vegetation of inselbergs, forest fragments, desiccation-tolerant vascular plants, carnivorous plants, succulents, and epiphytes), and systematics of angiosperms. He has concentrated especially on the analysis of spatial and temporal dynamics of plant communities by using permanent plots placed in different tropical ecosystems. Several of his projects are concerned with the consequences of changing land-use activities for the species diversity of tropical ecosystems. He has researched mostly in South America (Brazil), West Africa (Ivory Coast, Benin), and India, and has received grants from, among others, the DFG, BMBF, and DAAD. He is Vice-President of the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study (IOS)