The 2013 Grand Miroslav Zei Award for Life Work in the Field of the Activities of the National Institute of Biology
Prof. Dr. Andrej Čokl is a worldwide renown researcher in the science of insect communication with sound that is transmitted over the surface. With his long year research and top quality results he has invaluably contributed to the finding that the vibrational communication is the most widespread form of communication with sound, and he was also instrumental in understanding its fundamental principles. His reach bibliography comprises peer-reviewed scientific papers published in prestigious scientific journals, and chapters in books of foreign publishing companies.
Already thirty years ago Prof.Čokl has laid the pathways of complex research of insect communication and behaviour with his neurophysiologic research carried out in southern green stink bug and migratory locust and the influential publications as the proceedings of this research. His work remains fundamental for research of detection and processing of vibrational signals in the central neural system of insects.
Besides the pioneering work in the area of neurophysiologic fundaments of vibrational communication Prof.Čokl was also important in contributing to understanding of the fundamental principles of transfer of the vibrational signals via the insect's host plants. Prof.Čokl was among the first researchers in the world using the cutting edge technology such as today's commonly used laser vibrometry for the detection of the vibrational signals in insects.
Prof.Andrej Čokl has always carried his basic scientific research using the economically important insects and has geared his research to development of the potential alternative methods based on vibrational signals in pest control. With the chapter in a book published in 2009 he has raised awareness of the professional community of the potentially vast and entirely unexploited potential using the vibrational signals in plant protection.
Prof. Dr. Andrej Čokl served as a director of the National Institute of Biology between 1988-1996, and was a chair of the Scientific Committee at NIB between 2008-2012. From 1992 and until 2013 he was a head of the Department of Entomology at NIB which has flourished under his leadership in one of the world's centres for research of vibrational communication of insects. He has directed a number of successfully completed basic research projects and has established collaboration with numerous top research groups abroad. Among them it is worthwhile mentioning the collaboration with the Department of Entomology at the University of California Riverside in the United States, and with the Institute EMBRAPA in Brazil. He has directed a number of bilateral research projects and specific parts of the individual European projects. He was a mentor to a number of young researchers among whom many have continued or are still continuing their scientific careers here in Slovenia or abroad.
Since 2005 Prof.Čokl is a Professor at the University of Ljubljana, and is also teaching at the University of Maribor, University of Nova Gorica, and at the Environmental protection College in Velenje.
Prof. Dr. Andrej Čokl (photo: Žiga Ivanc)