20 March 2015

Collaborator of the Week: Roberto Pillon

Roberto Pillon is an Italian underwater photographer and naturalist whose photos are published in several books. He has a degree in Economics and though he is not a marine biologist, he is considered a great connoisseur of marine species identification from photographs. He is very passionate of the techniques in proper identification of marine organisms and has studied major publications as well as analyzed a large amount of photos to acquire the knowledge and skills needed in this field. In his most comprehensive study entitled "Astropecten of the Mediterranean Sea", he was able to distinguish six species of sea stars including Astropecten aranciacus, A. jonstoni, A. irregularis, A. spinulosus, A. bispinosus, and A. platyacanthus using methods of photo-identification. In this unique manner of classification, he basically observed distinct features in comparison to the descriptions described by the species authors. Other than sea stars, he also applied this technique to identify fishes and other echinoderms of Mediterranean Sea.

Since 2008, he has been a collaborator of SeaLifeBase and has contributed over 400 photos of different marine organisms taken mostly from Croatia, Greece, Italy and France. He also perpetually and promptly reports errors in photo identification. Likewise, he collaborates with many admired experts and other sites like Fishbase, WoRMS, DORIS, Naturamediterraneo, Hippo-ATLAS, etc.

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