We study the biodiversity of tropical African invertebrates.

Our research focuses on:

  • flies
  • spiders
  • parasitic flatworms
  • millipedes
  • sea cucumbers.

We cover several disciplines:

  • taxonomy
  • population genetics
  • phylogenetics
  • biogeography
  • ecology (insect-host plant and parasite-host relationships)
  • insect pest control
  • conservation
  • parasitic diseases.

The museum’s molecular biology laboratory (Joint Experimental Molecular Unit, JEMU) is managed together with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, with which we also handle the BopCo (Barcoding of Organisms and tissues of Policy Concern) project. We are part of the Belgian Network for DNA Barcoding.


Scientific personnel

  • Marc De Meyer, Head of department (acting)
    Diptera, taxonomy, phylogeny, insect-plant relationships
  • Pablo Deschepper, Molecular biologist
    Population genomics, invasion biology, phylogeography
  • Achik Dorchin, Entomologist
  • Lore Esselens, Molecular biologist
    Diptera, fruit flies, (population) genomics
  • Tine Huyse, Parasitologist/molecular biologist
    host-parasite relationships, phylogeography and population genetics, invasive species, zoonoses, One Health
  • Kurt Jordaens, Entomologist
    Diptera, hover flies, taxonomy, phylogeny, insect-plant relationships
  • Fanny Kratz
  • Patricia Mergen , Liaison officer
    Project proposal & management support, institutional representation, fundraising
  • Luiza Mitrache, Coordination Citizen Science
  • Ruben Schols, Molecular biologist
    invasieve soorten, zoönosen, One Health, freshwater snails, trematodes, microbiome
  • Nathalie Smitz, Molecular biologist
    DNA barcoding, phylogeography and population genetics, conservation biology
  • Sam Vanbergen, Molecular biologist
    Population genomics, invasion biology, phylogeography
  • Massimiliano Virgilio, Taxonomist/molecular biologist
    Diptera, fruit flies, molecular and ecological taxonomy, population genetics

Technical and administrative staff


Scientific tools

Fruit flies (Tephritidae)



We organize training courses on African fruit flies (Tephritidae) and fly pollinators.

> Learn more about our training courses