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Berry van der Hoorn

B. (Berry) van der Hoorn, MSc., a.i. Group leader - Biodiversity Discovery


Email: berry.vanderhoorn@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)6-19 95 31 25
Room number: Darwinweg 4


I obtained my acadamic degree at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in the ecology of coastal birds. After a decennium working as a project manager at a health insurance company, I shifted to Naturalis in 2006. There I became project manager and, later on, acting head of the department Information Services, where we pioneered with innovative webbased tools for science communication - thesauri, identification keys, e-learning, apps and so on. In 2011 I became manager of the program Nature of The Netherlands, which broadened my focus to bookseries and publications, webinitiatives, DNA research, data modeling and other forms of applied research.


Research interest

My interest lies in the development of tools and services that facilitates stakeholders in determining species and their traits, and use them as indicators for monitoring biological systems that are connected to their core business. Proposed stakeholders are among the trade sector (wildlife forensics, invasive species), agriculture (soil fertility, pest detection and control), water management (quality control), nature management and conservation, spatial planning (urban ecology), public health (vector control), education and so on. Key questions are:

  • How can we capture taxonomic knowledge and accelerate reliable taxa determination?
  • What traits do these taxa possess - biological, ecological and molecular?
  • How can these taxa and their traits be used as indicators, e.g. to detect endangered or detrimental species or monitor environmental changes?
  • How can we use this information to reconstruct and predict environmental changes and understand the impact and the drivers of these changes?
  • What kind of user-friendly tools can we develop for (semi)automatic determination of taxa and interpretation of their traits with relevant indices as output?


nature of the netherlands, biodiversity

Current research topics

  • DNA barcoding - Set up a reference collection with DNA barcodes for rapid indentification of species. 
  • Functional traits - Gather and store biological traits and ecological responses of species.
  • Bio-indicators - Develop indices based on the occurence of species or assemblages of species and their functional traits.
  • DNA waterscan - Develop a semi-automatic pipeline to indentify aquatic organisms based on their DNA profile (eDNA, metabarcoding), link them to their functional traits  and interpret the consequence of their occurence.
  • Identification keys - Develop webbased tools to capture taxonomic knowledge and make this knowledge accessible to a variety of users.


  • EIS-Netherlands
  • VOFF and NGO's
  • Statistics Netherlands (CBS)
  • Ministry of Economic Affairs
  • nVWA
  • Musea
  • WNF
  • Natuurmonumenten
  • De 12 Landschappen
  • KWR
  • IBED



  • Science communication
  • DNA barcoding
  • Biodiversity
Available student projects


The program Nature of The Netherlands started in 2011 and supported the following publications: