Carlo Heip (1945) studied Biology at Ghent University, where he founded the marine biology research group after he graduated. In 1987, he was appointed director of the Delta Institute in Yerseke, which was incorporated into the Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO) as the Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology (CEME) in 1992 and has been a division of NIOZ since 2012. In 2006, Carlo Heip was appointed general director at NIOZ on Texel. He retired in 2011. After that, he stayed on as an advisor at NIOZ and he became the general editor of the Journal of Sea Research. His first research project involved population dynamics, ecology and the ecotoxicology of benthic life. Later, his focus shifted to the link between biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems.
Carlo Heip has over 150 articles to his name and he has edited several books. He was a source of inspiration for many national and international initiatives in the field of marine research. He played an important part in promoting European research into land-ocean interaction, and into ecological processes in estuaries, in particular. He was responsible for numerous EU projects. The most important of these EU projects was MARBEF (Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning), in which taxonomists and ecologists worked together on a European scale to strengthen our understanding of marine biodiversity and ecosystem function and support the protection of marine biodiversity. This project made a significant contribution to worldwide initiatives to better describe and understand the importance and variety of organisms in the sea.
Carlo Heip was an eminent scientist and a committed intellectual who as a researcher contributed to the better preservation of the marine environment. He was a director and organiser with vision and leadership. We will remember him as a warm and dedicated person.