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Paul Hoekstra

P.H. (Paul) Hoekstra, MSc., PhD candidate - Understanding Evolution


Email: paul.hoekstra@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)71- 7517209
Room number: Nieuwenhuizenweg 19 room number 2.05

Already since I was a child I am fascinated about biodiversity. It started with birds, but soon my fascination extended to plants, insects and now also includes fungi lichens and mosses. This fascination has led me to an actual and still increasing knowledge of more than 10.000 species. I always wondered how every species is related to other species and why some species are almost everywhere, while others are very specialized in their habitat. Now I am working with the genus Monanthotaxis of the plant family Annonaceae. This is a good model to study the questions in which I always have been interested.


Research interest

My research interests are all connected with the big question ‘what determines species diversity’. I am interested in taxonomy, morphological and molecular phylogenies, the use of next gen sequencing in phylogenetics, and ecophylogenetics which involves the use of phylogenies in resolving ecological questions.


taxonomy, species distribution modelling, ecophylogenetics, annonaceae, sympatric speciation

Current research topics

The aim of my PhD project is to unravel the evolutionary aspects of the partitioning of niches in the genus Monanthotaxis (Annonaceae). The comparatively large numbers of species provide an ideal situation to test hypotheses on niche evolution and partitioning.

The project consists of three parts. In the first part, the taxonomy of the species of Monanthotaxis will be revised. The second part applies novel phylogenetic and sequencing techniques to infer the species-level phylogeny of the genus. During the third part of the project, niche parameters will be estimated for the sympatric species in Central Africa. Plant functional traits will be measured and environmental variables obtained. Species distribution models and individual traits will be optimized onto the derived phylogeny. Hypotheses on the stability of niches over evolutionary time, on the contribution of functional and environmental variables to niche space, and on spatial variation of niches, will be tested.


Wageningen University & Research Centre



2013-2014 Fieldcourse European Flora and Fauna, Bachelor Course Wagenigen University

Available student projects



Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Hoekstra P.H., Wieringa J.J., Smets E., Chatrou L.W. 2018. Floral evolution by simplifcation in Monanthotaxis (Annonaceae) and hypotheses for pollination system shifts. Scientific Reports 8: 12066.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Gou X., Hoekstra P.H.,Tang C.C., Thomas D.C., Wieringa J.J., Chatrou L.W., Saunders R.M.K. 2017. Cutting up the climbers: Evidence for extensive polyphyly in Friesodielsia (Annonaceae) necessitates generic realignment across the tribe Uvarieae. Taxon 66: 3-19.
Go to website (DOI)

Hoekstra P.H., Wieringa J.J., Smets E., Brandão R.D., de Carvalho Lopes J., Erkens R.H.J., Chatrou L.W. 2017. Correlated evolutionary rates across genomic compartments in Annonaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 114: 63-72.
Go to website (DOI)

Tetetla-Rangel E., Dupuy J.M., Hernández-Stefanoni J.L., Hoekstra P.H. 2017. Patterns and correlates of plant diversity differ between common and rare species in a neotropical dry forest. Biodiversity and Conservation 26: 1705-1721.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Hoekstra P.H., Wieringa J.J., Chatrou L.W. 2016. A nonet of novel species of Monanthotaxis (Annonaceae) from around Africa.. PhytoKeys 69: 71-103.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Hoekstra P.H., Chatrou L.W., Wieringa J.J. 2014. A new species of Monanthotaxis from Gabon with a unique inflorescence type for Annonaceae. Phytotaxa 186: 106-112.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Hoekstra P., Schilthuizen M. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships between isolated populations of the limestone-dwelling microsnail Gyliotrachela hungerfordiana (Gastropoda: Vertiginidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 49: 266-272.
Go to website (URI)