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University of Wroclaw. Professor Tomasz Wesołowski is dead. The biologist was 71 years old

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The Department of Behavioral Ecology of the University of Wrocław has informed about the death of Professor Tomasz Wesołowski. In the 1970s, a biologist initiated studies of birds and ecosystems in the Białowieża Primeval Forest, which are still ongoing. He was 71 years old.

Tomasz Wesołowski, born in 1950 in Bydgoszcz, was a zoologist and professor of biological sciences. The main subjects of his research were forest birds, their ecology, behavior, evolution and protection. He also studied the biology of other forest organisms – fungi, trees, invertebrates, mammals – important directly or indirectly for the life of birds. He carried out most of his research in the Białowieża Primeval Forest, with which he was professionally involved in the 1970s. He initiated there research of birds and ecosystems that continues to this day. The Department of Behavioral Ecology of the University of Wrocław informed about the professor’s death in social media. “The professor was known for his uncompromising and precisely communicated views that will remain an important point of reference for us” – emphasized in the entry.


Biologist, naturalist, scientist and social activist

Wesołowski studied biology at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań, later he worked at the Pedagogical University in Siedlce. From 1977 he was associated with the University of Wrocław, and more specifically with the Department of Bird Ecology of the Zoological Institute. He founded the Forest Biology Laboratory at the University of Wrocław, which he headed for many years. He was awarded the title of professor of biological sciences in 1999. His scientific achievements include about 300 items, many of his publications appeared in the most important international journals.

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Professor Wesołowski was scientifically and socially involved. He was a founding member of the Polish Society for the Protection of Birds, and for over 20 years – a member of the Scientific Council of the Białowieża National Park. He was also a member of the Ecological Council at the President of the Republic of Poland in the years 1993–1995. In the years 2009–2013 he was the president of the European Ornithologists’ Union. He was a co-organizer of world ornithological congresses. He participated in the creation of the Polish Red Book of Animals.

In 2014, he was awarded the Golden Cross of Merit.

Defender of the Białowieża Forest

He worked intensively to cover the entire Polish part of the Białowieża Primeval Forest under the protection of the national park. In 2017, he protested against logging in the Białowieża Forest. He was appointed an EU expert during the trial before the Court of Justice of the EU in Luxembourg (2017-2018) against Poland in the case of the abovementioned logging.

“For over 40 years, together with my team, I have been conducting research in the last fragment of the primeval forests of the temperate zone preserved in the Białowieża National Park. It is a living museum of evolution, where you can still observe organisms in the conditions that existed in European forests before their transformation by humans This creates an ideal situation for studying evolutionary adaptations, because you can see here what conditions organisms have adapted to, pressures to what factors were subjected to in the past “- this is how he wrote about his work on the website of the Laboratory of Forest Biology of the University of Wrocław.

He was also involved in nature protection, combining research with practical activities for its protection – especially primeval forests and forest birds.

Main photo source: Grzegorz Jakubowski / PAP

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