Valerio Sbordoni

1998 Associate Laureate, Exploration
Italy, Born 1942

Project Goal

Explore the remote caves and potholes of southern Mexico to discover new species

Location: Mexico

A professor of zoology at University of Rome Tor Vergata, Valerio Sbordoni has always followed his passion to discover hidden, unknown worlds, often unearthing new species of flora and fauna along the way.

Sbordoni's curiosity and sense of adventure eventually led him to previously unexplored caves in Mexico. A 1998 Rolex Award lent prestige and worth to Sbordoni’s 35 years of exploring caves and aided him in organizing further caving expeditions. With a team from the Circolo Speleologico Romano, he mapped and surveyed the cave fauna in over 3,000 metres of new caves, recording many new species of crustaceans and insects. Sbordoni has also begun work on an atlas of the caves of Chiapas to add to his already impressive list of publications.

His current project is to understand the role of past tectonic and climatic events in shaping the present pattern of species diversity and distribution. To this end, for more than 20 years, Sbordoni has been creating a database of the remarkably diverse Himalayan butterflies, while he continues to travel and rock-climb throughout the entire Himalayan mountain range.

Other 1998 Associate Laureates