Dr Francisco Welter-Schultes
Francisco has published on European terrestrial molluscs since the early 1990s, and at the age of 35 he gained his Ph.D. (2000) in malacology from the Zoological Institute at the University of Göttingen, Germany. One of his major contributions in this discipline has been a 700 pages field guide published in 2012, which identifies some 2000 species of European non-marine molluscs.
In 2001 Francisco initiated the AnimalBase project to digitise early zoological literature from the Göttingen library, and to provide free access to it for the public. This idea of free access to rare and old literature was new at the time. After hundreds of early works had been successfully digitised and placed on the internet in Göttingen, the newly founded Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) project overtook the AnimalBase project in terms of quantity of digitised works around 2006. Until 2011 Francisco contributed with his expertise to the BHL project and at the same time led a taxonomic team at AnimalBase to extract some 50,000 scientific names from early zoological works published between 1757 and around 1792. During this work Francisco and his team were not only confronted with many different nomenclatural challenges, one of the major ones being the 4th edition of the ICZN Code, but they also gained insight in different traditions concerning nomenclatural practices for various animal groups. One of the results of this work was a set of several proposals to improve the next edition of the Code and to render it more service oriented. Francisco speaks some 8 languages and was elected Commissioner in 2015.