In Memoriam – Professor Roberto Schlatter

It is with deep regret and great sadness that we learned of the death on 13 May 2016 of Professor Roberto Schlatter Vollmann of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology of the Faculty of Science of the Universidad Austral de Chile.

Professor Schlatter was born in Santiago de Chile on 21 January 1944.  He studied veterinary medicine receiving his professional title in 1967 at the University of Chile and in 1972 he obtained his PhD in Ecology and comparative behaviour from John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

He joined the Universidad Austral de Chile as an academic in 1974 reaching the position of Professor in 1981.  From 1985 to 1987 he was the Director of the Graduate School of the Faculty of Science and Director of the Zoological Institute on two occasions, from 1993 to 1996 and again from 2002 to 2008.

Prof. Schlatter was involved in the work of CMS from the very beginning – and he was appointed to the Scientific Council as the expert on neo-tropical fauna at the 3rd Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in 1991, a task he carried out uninterrupted until 2011.  A tireless researcher both in the field and the laboratory, and both an academic and a conservationist, he was a man with an immense capacity for addressing conservation problems looking for practical solutions that could balance conservation with development needs.

As a CMS Scientific Councillor, Prof. Schlatter was a much respected expert whose opinion was valued both in the neo-tropical region and around the world.  His scientific experience combined with his understanding of conservation issues meant that he was constantly referred to when it came to the protection of migratory species and their habitats.

Prof. Schlatter was a man with a true passion for wetlands and for the aquatic birds, in particular the black-necked swan Cygnus melanorypha for the protection of whose habitats in the wetlands of the River Cruces in southern Chile he fought tirelessly.

Prof. Schlatter was an excellent educator who loved to teach and inform, something he did with skill and creativity, both in formal situations with his students and through his efforts to involve the general public in the protection of waterbirds and their habitats.

Those who had the privilege of knowing him will be aware that he was always a straight-forward person with whom it was a pleasure to work.  He will be remembered with great affection for his goodness, passion, generosity and his warm heart for people and animals alike.

We also know that Roberto’s life’s work will carry on through the projects and programmes that he initiated and inspired.  He will be remembered with deep gratitude and fondness, he will be greatly missed.

Our sincerest condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues.

Last updated on 16 May 2016