I was interested in exactly who "Wim Vader" was. We have been receiving a
range of postings from Wim for quite some time - some scientific, others
more lyrical, but all interesting and "different". So who and what was the
author of these epistles from the other side of the world (although not
really our "antipodes")?
I decided to approach the source direct and emailed Wim asking him if he
would mind providing me with a brief pen-picture. The following is what I
received and, with Wim's slightly reluctant blessing, I reproduce it here
for the interest and information of other Birding-aus readers who may also
have wondered who this kindred spirit from the far north (and sometime
Australian visitor) was.
PS Please respect that this was written originally as a personal
< Dear Richard,
In a nutshell, I was born (1937) and bred in the Netherlands
and am still a Dutch citizen. I studied in Leiden (biology) and was active
in the NJN, the Dutch youth nature club, as are most Dutch field
biologists. After my studies I worked as a benthos marine biologist at the
Delta Institute in Yerseke, close to my birth place for two years, but
meanwhile I had met my future (Norwegian) wife on a biological excursion of
the Leiden students, so in 1965 I emigrated to Norway and got married. I
lived on grants for 8 years in Bergen and our 3 children were born there.
In 1973, I got the position of curator at Tromsø Museum, that I
occupy; my responsibility is "everything but the insects", from sponges to
whales. In 90 I was elected as a full professor. In 1985 my wife, then the
professor of aquatic biology, died of leukaemia. I now live in a LAT
relationship with an old school friend from my village, but she still lives
in Holland, and it was her garden I have described a few times. So here in
Tromsø I live alone.
My professional base is wider than deep; I use as a motto
heard somebody say disparagingly about a colleague: "My science is like the
Mississippi river, 3 miles broad and 5 inches deep". But I am a well-known
specialist in the taxonomy and biology of the Amphipoda, and I have also
for a period of some 10 years done seabird research. I lived twice in
California (Bodega Bay, and La Jolla) and once in Sydney (1993) during
sabbaticals, and hope to go to Cape Town for 3 months this autumn, for what
may well be my last sabbatical.
I have started a website at
,and that will show you where Tromsø is, tell a bit about my scientific
work, and give a list of publications.
I should think this would be more than you ever wished to
addition I can tell you that we have had wonderful weather the last weeks
(while Oslo "snows down", something we register with great malice): calm,
sunny, cold. One of these days the first Oystercatcher will be back,
something that even the newspapers register. Next to come are Common Gull
and Common Starling, but spring itself is not before May.
Wim Vader, Tromsø Museum
9037 Tromsø, Norway
From: Dr Richard Nowotny,
Tel. (w) 61-3-9214.1420
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