Evolutionary diversity and Biogeography

My research theme focuses on understanding the patterns and processes of how species have evolved and diversified over time, and how they migrated over Earth. I draw on a wide range of scientific disciplines, including genetics, evolutionary biology, ecology, palynology, and more. I work in the lab and in the field, and use models.

Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics

I study the evolutionary relationships among species of the plant family Annonaceae and reconstruct evolutionary (phylogenetic) trees to understand the evolutionary history of this tropical group of plants that dates back to the Cretaceous. The phylogenetc trees allow me to investigate patterns in morphological and molecular evolution.


I examine the past and present geographical distribution of species to understand processes that have shaped their (global) distribution patterns. This includes studying factors like migration, speciation, and how geography (including urbanised landscapes; Anthromes) influence evolutionary dynamics.

Taxonomy and Systematics

I investigate tropical and Dutch flora in order to establish a framework to organise and categorise the diversity of life. The utilisation of herbarium collections, repositories of time-captured specimens, enables us to bridge the gap between past and present. The collection-based work is fundamental to the other themes, since it provides information on species distributions in space and time.

Conservation Threat Assessments

Climate change leads to shifts in temperature, precipitation patterns, and habitats. Next to this, humans pose a big threat to many habitats around the world. I try to make informed predictions about how species might respond to ongoing and future climate changes. I input these assessments into the IUCN Red List, identifying Annonaceae species that form priority for conservation.