“Biodiversity: Where Are We Going?”
Born in Bratislava in 1937, moved to England, then to Praha after the war ended. With both parents imprisoned by the communist regime, and considered by the system an “undesirable element”, he was not allowed to enter secondary school, and worked as a labourer. After finally graduating from secondary school in 1957, he was not allowed to continue his education, nor to take an official job, but was eventually hired in 1959 by the museum in Trnava as a “technical worker” and had a free hand to establish entomological collections.
In 1962, he got a position as an assistant at the Slovak National Museum in Bratislava, and could enter the University in Bratislava, from which he obtained a Ph.D. in the summer of 1968.
In 1966 he married Dana. They emigrated to Switzerland in 1968, where he obtained a position at the Natural History Museum in Geneva. Named curator and head of the Department of Entomology in 1992, he held this position until retiring in 1999. His studies focused on poorly known soil and mycophagous faunas and led to the discovery of several thousand previously unknown species. Löbl has published some 250 scientific papers.
Since then, he pursues taxonomic research and, together with A. Smetana, edit the Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera. The project has been called as a “unvergleichbare Monumentalwerk”, or “the most used reference work on beetles of the 21st century,” and for which the two Editors received a medal of outstanding achievement by the Symposium Internationale Entomofaunisticum Europae Centralis, in 2007.
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