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Nicolas Davin

N.F. (Nicolas) Davin, PhD candidate - Understanding Evolution


Email: nicolas.davin@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)71-7517-262
Room number: 3rd floor, Room S, Darwinweg 4 - 2333 CR Leiden
““It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ― Charles Darwin”



2009Bachelor’s in General Biology at the University of Grenoble, France.

2011Master in Biology Ecology and Environmental Science at the University of Grenoble, France; including 18 months Erasmus exchange at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

Academic appointments

September 2011 - Present: Naturalis PhD candidate, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Research interest

My research interest is to understand why and how insular woody species develop wood on islands using a variety of methods such as comparative genetics, transcriptomics and niche modeling. In collaboration with an international insular woodiness network, I am focusing on the Canary Island flora.

I use a high-resolution species localities dataset and climatic layers in order to model the niches occupied by different life forms. Correlation between woody/herbaceous species and environmental variables will help to understand whether insular woodiness on the Canary Islands developed due to drought stress or due to the absence of frost (or a combination of both).

Using specific developmental stem stages of woody and related herbaceous Brassicaceae species, I am applying comparative genomics and transcriptomics to discover the genetic mechanism behind insular woodiness.


brassica oleracea, gis, brassicaceae, next generation sequencing, arabidopsis thaliana, ecological niche modeling / species distribution modelling, transcriptomics., comparative genomics, illumina

Current research topics

Transcriptom remodelling during wood formation in Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica oleracea.

Niche differentiation correlated with plant habit shift on the Canary Island.


  • Prof. Peter Klinkhamer - Plant Ecology & Phytochemestry - IBL - Leiden University (the Netherlands) PhD co-promoter.
  • Prof. Eric Schranz - Biosystematics - Wageningen University (the Netherlands).
  • Prof. Carl Douglas - Department of Botany - Univeristy of British Columbia (Vancouver - Canada).
  • Charles Hefer - Bioinformatics, plant genimics and transcriptomics - Univeristy of British Columbia (Vancouver - Canada).
  • Chris Pires -  Biology department - Informatics Institute of Missouri University (St Louis - USA).



Not applicable.

Available student projects



Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Davin N., Edger P.P., Hefer C.A., Mizrachi E., Schuetz M., Smets E., Myburg A.A., Douglas C.J., Schranz M.E., Lens F. 2016. Functional network analysis of genes differentially expressed during xylogenesis in soc1ful woody Arabidopsis plants.. Plant Journal 86: 376-390.
Go to website (URI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Lens F., Davin N., Smets E., Arco M. del 2013. Insular woodiness on the Canary Islands: a remarkable case of convergent evolution. International Journal of Plant Sciences 174: 992-1013.
Go to website (URI)