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Mutualism evolution and stability are major outstanding questions in evolutionary biology. To address these questions, I have adopted subterranean ant-trophobiont-microbe interaction networks as a study system. My research is organised into three empirical and one theoretical research lines, and employs a broad range of methods, from computer simulation to advanced microscopy, field sampling, high-throughput sequencing and behavioural experiments. With all these combined, I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the emergence and persistence of cooperation between species.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Academic qualification

Theoretical Biology, PhD, The Evolutionary Ecology of Mutualism, Rijksuniversiteit 

Award Date: 23 Nov 2012

Evolutionary Biology, Master, Rijksuniversiteit 

Award Date: 30 Sept 2006

Biology (Ecology), Bachelor, Wageningen University

Award Date: 31 Aug 2004


  • QH301 Biology
  • evolution theory
  • ecology
  • entomology
  • mutualism
  • cooperation
  • ants
  • aphids
  • species interactions
  • microbiome
  • ecological networks

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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