We are deeply saddened to inform you that our collaguage dr. Miklós Puky biologist, passed away at the 20th of March leaving behind an irreplaceable void within all who loved him and worked with him.
Dr. Miklós Puky was born on the 10th of March, 1961 in Budapest. He received his diploma in biology and in professional translation at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) in 1986. Immediately after graduation he started working as a biologist at the Danube Research Station of the Institute of Ecology and Botany of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (today the Danube Research Institute), at first as an assistant research fellow, then as a research fellow and as a senior research fellow until his death.
He successfully defended his diploma thesis on “Heavy metal accumulation in Anura populations” in 1992, and his PhD thesis on “Conservation of amphibians in Hungary” in 2005. His work had significant conservational orientation; primarily, he addressed the issues of fragmentation, colonization, invasions and climate change on endangered animal species, decapods, amphipods and reptiles. In recent years his interest turned towards state of the art methods of molecular biology, too. Besides his national activities, he participated in conservation programs in several countries of the world from the UK to Nepal and to the USA. He was teaching at universities in Hungary and abroad. He has been giving conservation ecology lessons for more than a decade at ELTE and his lectures given abroad from Mexico to South Africa to New Zealand generated considerable interest as well. As a member of the Doctoral School of Environmental Sciences at ELTE, he was an active supervisor of PhD students and the education of recruits of the scientific community was his labour of love, but what was probably even more important for him, one might say that he felt a special dedication to it, was the environmental education of people from a young age. He was the founder and president of the “Toad Action Group Association” in Hungary, organizing frog rescue missions regularly, where vast masses of people from young students to celebrities (e.g. Gábor Reviczky and József Szarvas actors) took action for the good cause, helping toads across the roads to their breeding sites. He was the screenplay writer and a performer of Frog concerts held for several years at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, thus connecting science, art and public education through cultural events. During these special occasions famous people performed poems, novels, musical compositions about frogs and Miklós gave presentations telling the most important information about frogs and playing their unique voices for the audience. He truly loved nature and was captivated by the beauty of landscapes, waterfalls, plants, animals that he successfully captured on his photographs. He regularly prepared calendars, postcards with his outstanding photos and offered the income for charity or just surprised his colleagues and loved ones with them to conjure a joyful smile on their faces.
He is the author of more than 110 articles, books, book chapters and scientific papers. He was deputy chair of the Department of Environmental Protection and Nature Conservation of the Hungarian Biological Association, Steering Committee member of Infra Eco Network Europe, member of the Hungarian Hydrological Society, the IUCN ASG and the IAD. His work was honoured with numerous national and international awards, among others the "Pro Natura" and the "For Our Environment" Plaques, the “Ten Outstanding Young People” Award, the Ford European Conservation Award and the Géza Entz Award. His expertise was used in the construction of highways during the planning of the placement of wildlife passageways, e.g. wildlife bridges, culverts, etc., where animals can safely pass through roads which bisect their habitats. He travelled to the tropics on the occasion of a similar counselling directly before his death. He became seriously ill after he returned home but could not overcome the illness and passed away at dawn on the 20th of March leaving behind an irreplaceable void within all who loved him and worked with him.