The 2012 Grand Miroslav Zei Award for Life Work in the Field of the Activities of the National Institute of Biology
In 1962 Prof. Jože Štirn has initiated the Center for underwater research of the Republic of Slovenia in Ljubljana, and has at his co-founding of SAZU (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) also achieved the founding of the Agency of the marine research of the Republic of Slovenia in Portorož, where he was a director between 1964 and 1967. After the closing of the agency in 1969, the National Institute of Biology at the University of Ljubljana has purchased the facility that became a home of its newly established independent unit named the Marine Biology Station in Portorož. Prof. Štirn has joined the station in 1970 and has been leading it until 1977.
Prof. dr. Jože Štirn was a visionary, an expert of extraordinary broad view, a naturalist in the full meaning of the word, a scuba diver, a fisherman, a limnologist and oceanographer, but foremost a marine ecologist. At a very early stage he has recognized that the marine biology could be understood only if its research is connected to the oceanography, limnology, chemistry, and the marine microbiology. Thanks to him, the research at the Marine Biology Station remained multidisciplinary oriented until present days.
He has acted within the broadest international space, and he was granted numerous international as well as domestic awards. In Slovenia he has built the fundaments of descriptive oceanography, introduced the mariculture, conveyed the basics for the research in fishery, and has established the fundaments for the subsequent specialized research within the individual segments of the marine ecology. With his numerous publications in the popular science magazines and daily newspapers he has contributed tremendously to the public awareness of the pollution of the sea, but has also exposed its natural wealth. He continues playing an active role in his area of expertise until present days.
Prof. Dr. Jože Štirn (Photo: Archive NIB)