On 3 January 2024, our dear colleague and long-time scientific secretary of the museum Prof. Zdravko Hubenov turned seventy.
He is one of the leading entomologists in Bulgaria with significant achievements in taxonomy and fauna studies. He has conducted significant research work also in the study of the country’s zoogeographical zoning, on several protected areas and of endangered and invasive species. To date, Prof. Hubenov has published over one hundred and eighty scientific papers and monographs, and the number is increasing due to his active scientific studies.
Prof. Hubenov’s most significant contributions are to the field of dipterology, where he is a world-renowned specialist in parasitic flies of Tachinidae family. Apart from Tachinidae, he has publications on Diptera suborders — Nematocera and Brachycera, including a book devoted to the entire Diptera order: Hubenov, Z., 2021. Species composition and distribution of the dipterans (Insecta: Diptera) in Bulgaria. — Pensoft and National Museum of Natural History, Sofia, 276 pp. Apart from the fauna of dipterans, dipteran parasitoids and their hosts, he has devoted a large part of his life to the study of invasive invertebrates, mainly crustaceans and aquatic molluscs, and to assessing the risk of invasive alien species entering Bulgaria. For years, he has worked on the study and assessment of the ecological status of the Bulgarian section of the Danube River and the importance of the Danube River as a corridor for entry of foreign invasive species. In addition to this topic, he also studies crustaceans and aquatic molluscs from other vast water basins, such as Ohrid Lake, the Black Sea, etc.
There are numerous projects on the study of biological diversity and biological diversity protection and management, where he had a leading and essential role. He headed the team, which drafted a large part of the insect reports within the National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, actively participated in the development of management plans for Pirin and Rila National Parks, as well as the plans for other nature parks (Shumen Plateau, Rila-Monastery Forest), and for several protected areas — Kailaka, Chokhlyovo Swamp, Atanasovo Lake, etc.
He participated in the construction, development, and optimization of Natura 2000 national ecological network and in the mapping and assessing the nature protection status of natural habitats and species of aquatic invertebrates. He also authored methodology for determining the favourable conservation status of natural habitat types under Natura 2000 in Bulgaria for groups of invertebrates and methods for monitoring a number of invertebrate species. Prof. Zdravko Hubenov is the author of several summary articles on the biological diversity of Bulgaria and of separate extensive areas across the country, such as Kresna Gorge, the Eastern Rhodopes, Vitosha Mountain, etc. Volume 2 of the Red Book of the Republic of Bulgaria contains Prof. Hubenov’s articles on five types of molluscs.
His teaching activity is also impressive. For many years he led courses on Entomology, Evolution and Phylogeny of Insects and Morphology, Anatomy and Systematics of Insects at the Faculty of Biology of St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. He teaches Invertebrate Zoology and Vertebrate Zoology at New Bulgarian University and Faunistic Diversity of Bulgaria at Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv. He puts his heart and soul into teaching, and he is one of the few professors who has handmade his own boards to illustrate his lectures. Their total number is impressive — one thousand six hundred and fifty-eight, each containing many illustrations.
Prof. Hubenov is also known among his colleagues for his encyclopaedic knowledge in the field of entomology, Bulgarian flora and fauna, phylogeny and evolution of insects and natural sciences.
We wish him good health and many more years filled with creative success!