A tribute to Prof. DSc Elissaveta Bozilova on the occasion of her 80th birthday

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    A tribute to Prof. DSc Elissaveta Bozilova on the occasionof her 80th birthday

    Spassimir Tonkov

    Received: 9 December 2011 / Accepted: 9 February 2012 / Published online: 22 February 2012

    Springer-Verlag 2012

    One of the outstanding European palynologists and palaeo-

    ecologists, Prof. DSc Elissaveta Bozilova celebrates her

    80th birthday on March 17th 2012. For more than 50 years

    she has been actively involved in science and teaching in

    the Faculty of Biology at Sofia University St. Kliment

    Ohridski. Her interest in botany, and subsequently in paly-

    nology, was encouraged and supported by her masters

    degree supervisor Prof. Boris Kitanov in the mid 1950s and

    also by her family members. The remarkable scientific and

    teaching career of Elissaveta Bozilova started in 1958

    when she joined the academic staff of the Department of

    Botany as an Assistant Professor.

    The initial years of her research were devoted mostly to

    the investigation of the pollen morphology of various

    gymnosperm and flowering plant taxa, but subsequently

    this knowledge was applied to the study of the late Qua-

    ternary history of the Bulgarian flora and vegetation, and

    gradually expanded to aeropalynology, melissopalynology,

    archaeobotany, marinopalynology and pollen monitoring.

    Numerous pollen analytical studies were conducted by her

    on lake, mire and peat sediments in the glaciated and non-

    glaciated Bulgarian mountains, along the Black Sea coast,

    the Danube valley and inland plains as well as on marine

    cores. Elissaveta Bozilova and her co-workers postulated

    for the first time the main chronological stages in the late-

    glacial and Holocene vegetation development in different

    parts of the country and contributed to the elucidation of

    important scientific issues such as location of glacial tree

    refugia and migration routes, fluctuations in the tree line,

    formation of recent vegetation belts and specific plant

    communities, pollen dispersal mechanisms, climate chan-

    ges, sea-level fluctuations, human impact on the natural

    environment since prehistoric times, etc. She also laid

    the foundations of contemporary aeropalynological and

    melissopalynological studies in Bulgaria.

    An important premise for the recognition of Elissaveta

    Bozilova as a leading Bulgarian palynologist was the estab-

    lishment of personal and fruitful long standing scientific con-

    tacts with outstanding foreign specialists, including Prof. H. -J.

    Beug, Prof. G. Lang, Prof. B. E. Berglund, Dr. A. Smit, Prof.

    K. Fgri, Prof. H. J. B. Birks, Prof. M. Ralska-Jasiewiczowa,

    Prof. Y. Vasari, Prof. B. Ammann, Prof. L. -K. Konigsson,

    Prof. S. Hicks, Prof. J. -L. de Beaulieu, Prof. K. -E. Behre, Prof.

    N. Athanasiadis, Prof. C. -A. Haeggstrom, Prof. H. Jungner,

    Prof. A. Gerasimidis, and many others, who shared generously

    their knowledge and expertise in palaeoecological and

    botanical research, both in the field and in the laboratory.

    One of the most important professional merits of Elis-

    saveta Bozilova, in addition to her intensive research and

    teaching activities, was the organization of the Laboratory

    of Palynology at the Department of Botany, which she

    administrated successfully until 2000. The laboratory

    established itself as the leading national centre in funda-

    mental and applied palynology and palaeoecology, where

    Elissaveta Bozilova supervised over 25 master and doctoral

    students from several generations, most of them being

    engaged today either in research or teaching in the broad

    Communicated by F. Bittmann.

    Electronic supplementary material The online version of thisarticle (doi:10.1007/s00334-012-0353-3) contains supplementarymaterial, which is available to authorized users.

    S. Tonkov (&)Laboratory of Palynology, Department of Botany, Faculty

    of Biology, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski,

    8 Dragan Tzankov Blvd, 1164 Sofia, Bulgaria

    e-mail: stonkov@abv.bg; tonkov@biofac.uni-sofia.bg


    Veget Hist Archaeobot (2012) 21:243244

    DOI 10.1007/s00334-012-0353-3

  • field of botany at universities, academic institutions, labo-

    ratories, museums and governmental organizations.

    On the European palynological stage Elissaveta Bozi-

    lova has led the Bulgarian working group within the IGCP

    Project 158B Palaeohydrological changes in the temperate

    zone during the last 15,000 yearslake and mire envi-

    ronments (19801988), devoting much of her time to

    introducing the new standardized approach to palaeoeco-

    logical investigations of late Quaternary deposits in Bul-

    garia. The palynological data from the established set of

    national reference sites (lakes, mires, peat-bogs, marine

    cores) was later on successfully incorporated into the

    European pollen database where Elissaveta Bozilova

    served actively for two successive terms (19941998) as a

    member of the advisory board. The experience and respect

    that Elissaveta Bozilova has gathered in contacting and

    organizing scientists helped her to play an active role in the

    international research initiative Pollen monitoring pro-

    gramme since 1996 (Fig. 1).

    In the course of several decades, as a scientist and expert

    with profound knowledge of different aspects of palynol-

    ogy and palaeoecology, Elissaveta Bozilova has attended

    upon invitation numerous congresses, conferences, meet-

    ings, workshops and field trips in nearly all European

    countries. In her long and productive scientific career she

    has published alone or jointly over 170 research contribu-

    tions in monographs, books, national and international

    journals, magazines, symposia and workshop proceedings

    (see Electronic Supplementary Material).

    After her symbolic retirement in 2000 Elissaveta

    Bozilova continues active palynological research on national

    and international projects. It deserves mention that a number

    of high quality research papers by her, focused on high-

    resolution pollen records from lakes and peat-bogs, have

    recently appeared in international and national scientific


    The endless enthusiasm and active role of Elissaveta

    Bozilova in modern palynological and palaeoecological

    science are a logical answer to the present-day challenges.

    We all, her students, colleagues, friends and many others,

    with whom she has worked and shared knowledge, express

    our thanks and gratitude, and would like to congratulate her

    cordially on the occasion of her 80th birthday.

    Fig. 1 Left Elissaveta Bozilova sitting at the microscope, right at Lake Arkutino with Sheila Hicks during a meeting in the frame of the pollenmonitoring programme (PMP) in Bulgaria 2005

    244 Veget Hist Archaeobot (2012) 21:243244


    A tribute to Prof. DSc Elissaveta Bozilova on the occasion of her 80th birthday