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Ir. Kasper Hendriks

Guest researcher with the Endless Forms group


Email: Kasper.Hendriks@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)71-75 17 285
Room number: 3rd floor, Vondellaan 55, 2332 AA Leiden


Research interest

The origin of species fascinates me, in both dimensions of space and time. The influence of geological evolution, such as glacial periods and the resulting opportunities of dispersal and vicariance. But also the influence of the community the species is part of.

The theory that most elegantly summarizes and explains the complex interactions within communities, as well as the influence of the environment, is the Theory of Island Biogeography by MacArthur & Wilson (1967). Over 50 years ago they showed the influence of island dimension (extinction) and island to mainland distance (immigration) to be the most important factors in determining the number of species that can live in an island community. Since then, their theory has seen a great deal of support from empirical work. Furthermore, it serves as a great starting point for future and more specialized research. An important question to be answered deals with the influence of in situ speciation on community composition, apart from the influences of immigration and extinction.

On Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, tens of limestone hills are found, separated from each other by miles of primary lowland rainforest. On these calcareous hills live tens of microsnail species, many being obligate calcicoles, and as such confined to these hills. For these snails, the hills appear as discrete “islands”, separated by a “sea” of primary rainforest that is next to impossible to cross. For me as a scientist, this is an ideal situation. Every limestone hill offers a new community of microsnails, waiting to be studied.

During my PhD (2014-2019) I will work on the reconstruction of the phylogenetic relationships of Sabah’s microsnails. Also, I will study the microsnail species compositions. By combining data from both studies, I aim to unravel the influence of evolution and speciation on the community composition we find today, and vice versa.


gastropods, community ecology, evolution, microsnails, borneo

Current research topics

  1. The origins of micrcosnail communities on Borneo.
  2. Micro-evolutionary and landscape patterns help understand dispersal in lowland tropical rainforest.
  3. A reconstruction of microsnail community diet based on next generation sequencing techniques.


  • Groningen University, the Netherlands
  • Universiti Malaysia, Sabah


  • BORNEENSIS collections, Sabah, Malaysia
  • Invertebrate collections, Naturalis, the Netherlands

Supervision PhDs


Prof. dr. Rampal S. Etienne, Groningen University.


Prof. dr. Menno Schilthuizen, Naturalis Biodiversity Center.



Supervision MSc Students

2016 Giacomo Alciatore - Populations at Microscales
2015 Suzanne Anema - The age of Diplommatinids
Available student projects



Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Njunjić I., Perrard A., Hendriks K., Schilthuizen M., Perreau M., Merckx V., Baylac M., Derharveng L. 2018. Comprehensive evolutionary analysis of the Anthroherpon radiation (Coleoptera, Leiodidae, Leptodirini). PLOS ONE 13: e0198367.
Go to website (DOI)

Khalik M.Z., Hendriks K., Vermeulen J.J., Schilthuizen M. 2018. A molecular and conchological dissection of the “scaly” Georissa of Malaysian Borneo (Gastropoda, Neritimorpha, Hydrocenidae). ZooKeys 773: 1-55.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Njunjić I., Perreau M., Hendriks K., Schilthuizen M., Deharveng L. 2016. The cave beetle genus Anthroherpon is polyphyletic; molecular phylogenetics and description of Graciliella n. gen. (Leiodidae, Leptodirini). Contributions to Zoology 85: 337-359.
Go to website (URI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Merckx V.S.F.T., Hendriks K.P., Beentjes K.K., Mennes C.B., Becking L.E., Peijnenburg K.T.C.A., Afendy A., Arumugam N., de Boer H., Biun A., Buang M.M., Chen P.-P., Chung A.Y.C., Dow R., Feijen F.A.A., Feijen H., Feijen-van Soest C, Geml J., Geurts R., Gravendeel B., Hovenkamp P., Imbun P., Ipor I., Janssens S.B., Jocqué M. Kappes H., Khoo E., Koomen P., Lens F., Majapun R.J., Morgado L.N., Neupane S., Nieser N., Pereira J.T., Rahman H., Sabran S., Sawang A., Schwallier R.M., Shim P.-S., Smit H., Sol N., Spait M., Stech M., Stokvis F., Sugau J.B., Suleiman M., Sumail S., Thomas D.C., van Tol J., Tuh F.Y.Y., Yahya B.E., Nais J., Repin R., Lakim M. & Schilthuizen M. 2015. Evolution of endemism on a young tropical mountain. Nature 524: 347-350.
Go to website (DOI)