Carlo Heip (born 18 November 1945, Belgian nationality) is General Director of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research and Centre Director of the Centre for Estuarine and Marine Ecology of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and professor at the Universities of Gent (Belgium) and Groningen (The Netherlands), teaching biological oceanography and estuarine ecology. His research at the University of Gent, where he founded the Marine Biology Department, centered on the ecology of meiofauna. His research in the department of Ecosystem Studies in Yerseke focused on processes at the interface between biogeochemistry and benthic biology. His present interest is on the role of biodiversity in ecosystem functioning. He has over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals and edited six books. He was PI in many national and EU-sponsored projects, including OMEX (Ocean Margin Exchange) and ECOFLAT, part of ELOISE (European Land-Ocean Interaction Studies). During the last five years, as President of the European Marine Research Stations MARS network, he has been heavily involved in creating a marine biodiversity research programme in Europe. He is now co-ordinator of the EU Network of Excellence MARBEF (Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning) and active in SCOR, SCOPE, the DIVERSITAS programme and the Census of Marine Life.