My Story

I am a biophilist. E.O. Wilson coined the term “biophilia” to capture the innate need for nature that is a basic part of being human. To me every life form, no matter how gruesome (think tapeworms, flukes, and the corpse flower of Borneo), is beautiful and awe inspiring. I first fell in love with biology when I jumped into Bahamian waters with scuba gear, but the courtship started long before, growing up in small town Southern Illinois, about as far from the ocean as you can get. Over the past 15 years, I have focused my attention on under-appreciated microscopic life, particularly the mighty tardigrades or “waterbears”. These poorly studied animals have completely won me over, and sharing discoveries of new species in microscopic worlds with a bunch of eager, hard working Warren Wilson students has been a complete joy.

Paul Bartels
Professor Paul Bartels and student inspect a jar of water


  • B.S. in Zoology, Southern Illinois University
  • M.Phil. in Zoology, University of the West Indies
  • Ph.D. in Biology, University of California at Santa Cruz

Research Interests

  • Invertebrate zoology
  • Evolution and ecology of Phylum Tardigrada (water bears)
  • Coral reef ecology

Courses Taught

  • Bio 1020: Field Natural History
  • Bio 2410: Invertebrate Zoology
  • Bio 3790: Bahamas: Coral Reef Conservation

Crews and Other Activities

  • International and Intercultural Studies Committee
  • Sigma Xi

Contact Dr. Bartels

(828) 771-3069
Morse 109
WWC CPO 6327
PO Box 9000
Asheville, NC 28815-9000
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