Biodiversity Inventory for Conservation (BINCO) is a non-profit organisation initiated by five dedicated biologists with a passion for nature and a desire to help preserve the remaining natural resources on this planet. Biodiversity worldwide is under serious pressure due the rapid growing human population. Many areas and uncountable species are already lost forever. If we want to conserve current levels of biodiversity an essential first step is to know what species of plants and animals are sharing this planet with us and how they are distributed.

Information about the biodiversity of certain areas, both nationally and internationally, is often surprisingly limited and in most cases restricted to a limited number of the larger organisms. BINCO strives to help fill this gap on biodiversity knowledge and through the collection and dissemination of primary data contribute directly to the protection of selected areas and individual species.

Standardised biodiversity survey efforts are directed primarily to understudied or threatened regions with a high conservation value. Observations are presented in online reports with species inventory lists and recommendations for the protection of the studied area. A stable man-nature relationship is essential to successfully tackle the biodiversity crisis and BINCO aims to increase this awareness.

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Our team members

Jeroen Casteels is working as an advisor in nature legislation with the Flemish government. He also worked for an environmental consultancy agency and as a teaching assistant giving laboratory courses in ecology and identification of invertebrates at the University of Leuven. He has a fascination with insects, particularly ants. He was a volunteer in several conservation programs voor seaturtles.

Samuël Fouret graduated as a botanist at the University of Leuven. His main interests are biogeography and evolution. Besides teaching biology and natural sciences, he is a passionate traveller, a devoted surfer, and an enthousiast photographer.

Dr. Steven Janssens is senior scientist at the Botanic Garden Meise responsible for the molecular genetic research component. The main focus of his research is to investigate evolutionary patterns and speciation mechanisms within flowering plants using biogeography, diversification analyses, phylogenetics, population genetics and bioinformatics. Although he works on a wide range of taxa, he is mainly focused on African trees, bananas, balsams and coffee.  

Dr. Merlijn Jocqué is currently based at Stanford University as project manager. He studies biological diversity, ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services in the tropics. Merlijn gathered experience in biodiversity assessment of a wide range of organisms and has a keen interest in pristine natural regions.   

Dr. Vincent Merckx is an evolutionary biologist and group leader at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands. He teaches at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam. His research focusses on the evolution of plants and their mycorrhizal interactions. Vincent is passionate about studying biodiversity and organized fieldwork in tropical America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.   

Martijn Van Roie is a PhD student at the University of Antwerp. His main passion is the study of insects and their kin. Beside an internship at the museum of natural history, he contributed to several studies of BINCO. His expertise lays in leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae) and he is currently coordinating a survey of those beetle families in Honduras.  

Jan Mertens graduated biology at the Catholic University Leuven in 2013. As a PhD student in tropical ecology/pollination biology at the Charles University in Prague, he studies altitudinal patterns in Afrotropical butterflies and moths on Mount Cameroon. He is building up his experience on butterfly taxonomy and has the know-how to assess Lepidopteran biodiversity in tropical environments. He enjoys hiking and nature photography.   

Dr. Matthias De Beenhouwer is a forest ecologist, working as a project manager on reforestation projects for the ngo WeForest. Matthias holds a PhD on Afromontane coffee forestry from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He is specialized in forestry systems and has 5 years of experience working in Ethiopia and Southern Africa. He also has experience with standardized biodiversity assessment of mostly plant and vertebrate taxa.   

Siel Wellens is a PhD student at Ghent University. She graduated from an international master in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation which she attended in Belgium, Portugal, Lithuania and Brazil. Now she’s working on the impact of stressors on marine food webs. Siel is also keen on getting involved in terrestrial projects, she helped collect invertebrate biodiversity data in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Honduras. She loves travelling and photography.  

Anouk D’Hont is a PhD student in marine biology and studies anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity of marine fauna in the Ponto Caspian area. She is currently stationed at GiMaRis in Leiden, a marine research and survey company. Even though professionally she is concentrating on marine research, she is also very passionate about terrestrial biodiversity and especially macro-moths.  

Lore Geeraert is a PhD student at the University of Leuven (Belgium), holding a master’s degree in both Biology and in Tropical Ecology. Currently she studies the influence of agricultural intensification on pollinator communities of Arabica coffee shrubs in Ethiopia. Her main interest lays in tropical forest ecosystems and their entomological diversity.  

Arne Sinnesael graduated biology at the KU Leuven in 2015. Currently, he’s doing a PhD at the same university, researching the benefits, specificity and evolutionary patterns of plant-bacteria interactions in tropical plants (Rubiaceae). In BINCO, he helps with the MABIMO-project. He is passionate about hiking, nature photography and interested in biodiversity in all its means.  

Arne Mertens graduated with a degree in Biology at KU Leuven in 2016. He currently works there as a research assistant at the botanical institute to gain insight into the population genetics of two Centaurium species. Within Binco, he improves his field knowledge and lends a hand where needed. In his spare time, he enjoys sports, playing music and he would never say no to a good board game. 

Jeroen Casteels is working as an advisor in nature legislation with the Flemish government. He also worked for an environmental consultancy agency and as a teaching assistant giving laboratory courses in ecology and identification of invertebrates at the University of Leuven. He has a fascination with insects, particularly ants. He was a volunteer in several conservation programs voor seaturtles.

Samuël Fouret graduated as a botanist at the University of Leuven. His main interests are biogeography and evolution. Besides teaching biology and natural sciences, he is a passionate traveller, a devoted surfer, and an enthousiast photographer.

Dr. Steven Janssens is investigating the evolutionary relationships within the plant family Balsaminaceae at the Laboratory of Plant Systematics in Leuven. For this he uses a combined molecular phylogenetic, evolutionary developmental, morphological and biogeographical approach.

Dr. Merlijn Jocqué is currently based at Stanford University as project manager. He studies biological diversity, ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services in the tropics. Merlijn gathered experience in biodiversity assessment of a wide range of organisms and has a keen interest in pristine natural regions.   

Dr. Vincent Merckx is an evolutionary biologist and group leader at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands. He teaches at Leiden University and the University of Amsterdam. His research focusses on the evolution of plants and their mycorrhizal interactions. Vincent is passionate about studying biodiversity and organized fieldwork in tropical America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.   

Martijn Van Roie is a PhD student at the University of Antwerp. His main passion is the study of insects and their kin. Beside an internship at the museum of natural history, he contributed to several studies of BINCO. His expertise lays in leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) and longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae) and he is currently coordinating a survey of those beetle families in Honduras.  

Jan Mertens graduated biology at the Catholic University Leuven in 2013. As a PhD student in tropical ecology/pollination biology at the Charles University in Prague, he studies altitudinal patterns in Afrotropical butterflies and moths on Mount Cameroon. He is building up his experience on butterfly taxonomy and has the know-how to assess Lepidopteran biodiversity in tropical environments. He enjoys hiking and nature photography.   

Dr. Matthias De Beenhouwer is a forest ecologist, working as a project manager on reforestation projects for the ngo WeForest. Matthias holds a PhD on Afromontane coffee forestry from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He is specialized in forestry systems and has 5 years of experience working in Ethiopia and Southern Africa. He also has experience with standardized biodiversity assessment of mostly plant and vertebrate taxa.   

Siel Wellens graduated from an international master in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. She attended universities in Belgium, Portugal, Lithuania and Brazil. Although passionate about marine ecology and diving, she’s also keen to involve herself in terrestrial projects. She helped collect invertebrate biodiversity data in Ethiopian coffee forests and went to Madagascar for BINCO to help start up invertebrate monitoring in the deciduous forests. She loves travelling and photography.  

Anouk D’Hont is a PhD student in marine biology and studies anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity of marine fauna in the Ponto Caspian area. She is currently stationed at GiMaRis in Leiden, a marine research and survey company. Even though professionally she is concentrating on marine research, she is also very passionate about terrestrial biodiversity and especially macro-moths.  

Lore Geeraert is a PhD student at the University of Leuven (Belgium), holding a master’s degree in both Biology and in Tropical Ecology. Currently she studies the influence of agricultural intensification on pollinator communities of Arabica coffee shrubs in Ethiopia. Her main interest lays in tropical forest ecosystems and their entomological diversity.  

Arne Sinnesael graduated biology at the KU Leuven in 2015. Currently, he’s doing a PhD at the same university, researching the benefits, specificity and evolutionary patterns of plant-bacteria interactions in tropical plants (Rubiaceae). In BINCO, he helps with the MABIMO-project. He is passionate about hiking, nature photography and interested in biodiversity in all its means.  

Arne Mertens graduated with a degree in Biology at KU Leuven in 2016. He currently works there as a research assistant at the botanical institute to gain insight into the population genetics of two Centaurium species. Within Binco, he improves his field knowledge and lends a hand where needed. In his spare time, he enjoys sports, playing music and he would never say no to a good board game.