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“I am fascinated by the evolution of plant-pollinator relationships.”
I am a PhD candidate at Naturalis Biodiversity Center and the University of Amsterdam studying the role of floral volatiles in the host-specificity of pollinating fig wasps. My supervisor is Prof. dr. Koos Biesmeijer.
Besides, I am a biology teacher at the Berlage Lyceum in Amsterdam. In 2014 I was awarded a Doctoral Grant for Teachers from NWO.
There are many kinds of relationships between plant and insect species, varying from mutualistic to parasitic and from generalist to highly specific. In these relationships, especially when specific, its members can influence each other's evolution. One example is the adaptations flowers have to attract their pollinators, e.g bright colors, strong smells, and nectar.
Pollinators that show a high specificity towards plants species they pollinate can influence evolutionary processes in these plants, e.g. genetic isolation, hybridization or speciation. The highly specific fig-fig wasp pollination system is ideal to acquire a better understanding of how host-specifity of pollinators affects these evolutionary processes. In my research I study a community of fig trees (genus Ficus) in the tropical rainforest in Panama. My aim is to understand to which extend their pollinators are host-specific and which floral odors these fig species produce to ensure host-specificity of the pollinators.
Keywordsevolution, chemical ecology, neotropics, fig-fig wasp mutualism
Current research topics
Under construction.Available student projects