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Pepijn Kamminga

P. (Pepijn) Kamminga, MSc., PhD candidate (2011-2017) - Collection manager - Mammals & Birds


Email: pepijn.kamminga@naturalis.nl
Phone: +31 (0)717519338
Room number: Darwinweg 2


Research interest

In my research (2011-2017) I was interested in functional morphology, a field in biology focusing on how particular biological shapes function, which can tell us about the lifestyle of organisms and their particular morphological adaptations. Working with modern sharks from the Naturalis collection, I combined 3D geometric morphetric methods, phylogenetic comparative methods and ecological data to elucidate the evolutionary patterns of the morphological diversity in this fascinating group of animals.


sharks, phylogenetic comparative methods, geometric morphometrics, functional morphology, 3d visualization, computed tomography

Current research topics

In my PhD project (2011-2017) I focused on modern sharks, especially in the shape of their body and the morphology of jaws. These shapes can tell us a great deal about their way of locomotion and diet. Sharks are interesting animals since they are a relatively small group of fishes (>550 spp.) which display a wide range shapes adapted to different ecologies. Due to their low species number and wide morphological disparity sharks are an ideal system to study their evolution.


CT scanning at the Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC) with P.W. de Bruin and K. Geleijns.



2011 – 2013: Practical assistant at the Zoology and Developmental Biology course at Leiden University for BSc students Biology.

2007 – 2009, 2011, 2013: Practical assistant at the Organismal Biology course at Leiden University for BSc students Biology.

Supervision MSc Students

2014 MSc project: "Trophic implications from the morphology of the upper jaw of extant sharks"
2014 MSc thesis supervisor
Available student projects

Public outreach


Public outreach

  • Haai in 't Ziekenhuis: public presentation for the Museum Jeugd Universiteit (10 November 2013).
  • Evolutie van haaienkoppen: public lecture at Wetenschapsdag Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (27 October 2012).
  • LiveScience Naturalis Biodiversity Center: public lecture and dissection of shark stomach contents (19 October 2012).



Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Kamminga P., Bruin P.W. de, Geleijns J., Brazeau M.D. 2017. X-ray computed tomography library of shark anatomy and lower jaw surface models. Scientific Data 4: 170047.
Go to website (URI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Welker F., Hajdinjak M., Talamo S., Jaouen K., Dannemann M., David F., Julien M., Meyer M., Kelso J., Barnes I., Brace S., Kamminga P., Fischer R., Kessler B.M., Stewart J.R., Pääbo S., Collins M.J., Hublin J.-J. 2016. Palaeoproteomic evidence identifies archaic hominins associated with the Châtelperronian at the Grotte du Renne. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113: 11162-11167.
Go to website (DOI)

Stehmann M.F.W., Oijen M. van, Kamminga P. 2016. Re-description of the rare taillight shark Euprotomicroides zantedeschia (Squaliformes, Dalatiidae), based on third and fourth record from off Chile. Cybium 40: 187-197.

Journals non-SCI, peer-reviewed

Keijl G.O., Begeman L., Hiemstra S., IJsseldijk L.L., Kamminga P., Seal Centre Pieterburen 2016. Cetaceans stranded in the Netherlands in 2008-2014. Lutra 59: 75-107.


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Besselinga E., Foekema, E.M., Van Franeker J.A., Leopold M.F., Kühn S., Bravo Rebolledo E.L., Heße E., Mielke L., IJzer J., Kamminga P., Koelmans A.A. 2015. Microplastic in a macro filter feeder: Humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae. Marine Pollution Bulletin 95: 348-352.
Go to website (DOI)


Journals SCI, peer-reviewed

Starnberger I., Kamminga P., Fosah V.C., Nuttman C. 2011. The 'push-up' as a calling posture in Nectophrynoides tornieri (Anura: Bufonidae) in the Amani Nature Reserve, Tanzania. Herpetologica 67: 124-134.
Go to website (DOI)


Collection interest

The bird and mammal collections are rich in (sometimes unique) extinct and rare species as well as many name-bearing types. Specimens are and have been collected from around the world. Significant mammal and bird collections are, amongst others, those of W.C. van Heurn, Von Siebold and Bartels. In 2010, the collection of the Zoological Museum Amsterdam was added to that of Naturalis Biodiversity Center which resulted in a combined collection of ± 300.000 birds, nests, eggs and skeletons and an estimated 150.000 mammals, skulls, skins and skeletons.


Tahiti Sandpiper

Tahiti sandpiper (Prosobonia leucoptera)

The bird collection was founded in 1820 with the collection of Temminck. His historical collections from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries contain many type specimens and specimens from now extinct species. Later collections from Japan (Von Siebold) and especially South East Asia where added. Significant bird collections are specifically those of Wickevoort Crommelin and P.A. Hens which both have a focus on the national avifauna. 

More than two hundred extinct birds are another collection highlight which raises much interest. Some specimens are unique. Naturalis Biodiversity Center is the only place in the world to hold a Tahiti Sandpiper Prosobonia leucoptera (Gmelin, 1789). You can view 3D images of our extinct bird collection online here.


The 19th century Madagascar collection of lemurs, collected by Pollen & Van Dam (1860-1870) and Audebert (1870-1880), is of great beauty and scientific importance.

The same goes for our osteological collection of dolphins and whales. This collection documents the studies to monitor the decline of cetaceans along the Dutch coast. We monitor all whale beachings since 1255 on our whalestrandings website (in Dutch).

Whale Beaching Team

As a coordinator of the Whale Beaching Team, it is my task to organize all the work surrounding a beached whale. When a whale or larger dolphin strands and is deceased, our team heads out to the beaching location. We assist with the autopsy and secure the skeleton and other parts for the purposes of science. This happens on average twice a year. When the skeleton is preparated, it's added to our collection. It is important to do research on these stranded whales in order to know why they strand. For example, humpback whales never stranded until 10-15 years ago. It is of great concern to do research on why it happens now. That's why we monitor all whale beachings on the Dutch coast since the year 1255 on our whalebeaching website (in Dutch).

The Team: