A brief history about me

After studying at the University of Amsterdam from 1979 until 1985, I started a PhD research project at the University of Leiden under supervision of Prof.dr. Hans Metz and Prof.dr. Odo Diekman. The aim of my research project was to investigate numerical methods for physiologically structured population models to ultimately allow application of these models to a broad range of ecological and evolutionary problems. The result of this PhD research is a technique with the slightly ludicrous name The Escalator Boxcar Train. Despite its name it has proven its value in allowing (at least myself) to analyze interesting problems in structured population dynamics.

Following my research at the University of Leiden I was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Calgary, collaborating with Prof.dr. Ed McCauley from July 1989 until September 1990. After that I moved to the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, to work with Prof.dr. Roger Nisbet and Prof.dr. Bill Gurney. Together with Prof.dr. Bill Murdoch (University of California at Santa Barbara) we all have become infamous as the Daphnia Mafia, because of our incessant attempts to understand the dynamics of size-structured waterflea populations.

At the end of 1991 I returned to Amsterdam as a fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW), which allowed me to continue with my research on structured population dynamics at the Population Biology department of the University of Amsterdam. By this time my interests had broadened to also include spatially structured populations.

I became more interested in the population dynamics of size-structured fish populations through a collaborative research project with Prof.dr. Lennart Persson of the University of Umeå. By combining modeling with experimental and empirical research we try to unravel the mechanisms behind the dynamics and structure of the community of freshwater fish, consisting of roach (Rutilus rutilus) and perch (Perca fluviatilis).

In 1998 I received a PIONIER-grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research to build up my own research group at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2001 I am appointed as professor in Theoretical Ecology at the University of Amsterdam. In 2004 I received a honorary doctorate from the University of Umeå, Sweden.

Most recently, in 2012 I received an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for my research proposal “Eco-evolutionary dynamics of community self-organization through ontogenetic asymmetry