Willem Vervoort was born on 12 June 1917 in Schiedam. He read biology at Leiden university (19361941, interrupted by active war service) where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1946 under the supervision of Prof. Dr H. Boschma with a thesis entitled 'The Copepoda of the Snellius Expedition I'. In 1941 Dr Vervoort was appointed assistant, later curator of invertebrates at the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, Leiden, where he was in charge of the invertebrates minus arthropods and molluscs. He worked at the museum on hydroids and copepods until 1950, interrupted by two trips to Antarctica where he was cetacean biologist to the national whaling company (1946/1947, 1947/1948). In the period 1950-1959 Dr Vervoort was lecturer in histology/cytology in the zoology department of the university. In 1959 he returned to the museum to the position he had held before. In 1970 he was appointed assistant director, and in 1972 director of the museum. In 1982 he had to leave when reaching the statutory age of retirement (65). In the years 1973-1982 Vervoort also occupied the chair of Systematic Zoology at the university. Far from retiring in practice, he was allowed to retain a suite of rooms in one of the outbuildings of the museum where he continued his specialist work, among other activities supervising a number of foreign Ph.D. students in his specialisations, particularly hydroid taxonomy. During his long tenure Dr Vervoort became a highly respected and internationally recognized specialist in Copepoda and Hydrozoa, on which he published numerous authoritative treatises and papers. During his work at the museum, he undertook a lot of field work in marine biology in Europe (Scandinavia, Spain), the West Indies and Surinam, the eastern Atlantic and New Guinea. As director of the museum he consolidated the considerable achievements of his famous predecessors, Prof. Dr L.D. Brongersma (director 1958- 1972) and Prof. Dr H. Boschma (director 1933-1958). This paper describes Dr Vervoort's life and work in some detail and includes a full bibliography (112 numbers until the end of August 1997, a number of these with foreign co-authors) with a list of taxa newly described, viz. a total of 167, i.e. Hydrozoa 97 (genera 4, species 89, subspecies 3, variety 1) and Copepoda 70 (family 1, subfamily 1, genera 11, species 57) - many in conjunction with foreign colleagues).

Zoologische Verhandelingen

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Naturalis journals & series

van Bruggen, A.C. (1998). Willem Vervoort, eminent zoologist and museum director, a sketch of his life and work on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1997. Zoologische Verhandelingen, 323(1), 1–15.