The 2010 Grand Miroslav Zei Award for Life Work in the Field of the Activities of the National Institute of Biology, 2010

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The 2010 Miroslav Zei Award for Life Work in the Field of the Activities of the National Institute of Biology was presented to Professor Boris Sket PhD.

For a number of decades, the name Professor Boris Sket has stood at the forefront of Slovenian zoology. This however does not mean that he is without competition. On the contrary, zoology has been a driver of excellence in Slovenian research of biodiversity, and it was Professor Sket who played the leading role in setting its high standards. With his years of research of the subterranean Karst, Professor Sket, in cooperation with the numerous doctors who make up the core of his large, successful research group, has secured a globally important role for speleology, or the study of subterranean life, in Slovenia. As a matter of fact, this science was born in the caves of Slovenia, and Slovenia has decisively played a part in shaping its historical development. Professor Sket’s taxonomic activities include a number of descriptions of new species of subterranean crustaceans as well as other taxons. It was only through these formal taxonomic descriptions, revisions and faunal inventories that we were finally able to gain insight into the subterranean biodiversity of the Dinaric Karst. They would also serve as a basis for all of Professor Sket’s continued research, which would see the Professor enhance and deepen his research work through the use of a modern spatial statistical approach in the framework of a geographical information system. His taxonomic studies are further supported by modern molecular phylogenetic research, and Professor Sket is also a pioneer of this field in Slovenia. Lastly, his studies facilitate international comparative studies and the preparation of natural preservation plans and regulations.  Although his career has been primarily shaped by scientific research work, for which Professor Sket has received the prestigious Zois Award for Outstanding Achievements, his work covers a broad range of activities. He has brought the subjects of biology, evolution and speleobiology near to multiple generations of students, and a number of today’s most successful younger and middle-aged researchers emerged under his mentorship. He also merged his pedagogic dedication with leadership and organizational work in the framework of the University of Ljubljana, serving as the Dean of this institution at a crucial time in Slovenian history.

Prof. Dr. Boris Sket (Photo: Archive NIB)