NAEM 2017

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Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting

14 & 15 February 2017

Conference Centre "De Werelt", Westhofflaan 2, Lunteren, The Netherlands



This year will be the 10th edition of the Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting (NAEM). As always, the meeting will be held at the conference centre "De Werelt" in Lunteren. Below, you can find more details about the full programme and about the deadlines for submission of contributions to the NAEM meeting. You are cordially invited to register your participation.


Important deadlines

  • Opening call for submissions of proposals for parallel sessions: Tuesday 11 October 2016
  • Deadline for submissions of proposals for parallel sessions: Tuesday 8 November 2016
  • Opening call for submissions of abstracts for a presentation in one of the parallel sessions: Tuesday 15 November 2016
  • Deadline for submissions of abstracts for a presentation in one of the parallel sessilons: Tuesday 20 December 2016
  • Full programme online: Thursday 28 December 2016
  • Deadline for submission of poster titles: Tuesday 17 January 2017
  • Early-Bird deadline for registration of participation: Tuesday 17 January 2017


Tuesday 14 February

  Main Entrance Hall
08:30 Registration and coffee in the Lounge and setting up posters
  Europe Hall
10:15 Word of Welcome
  • Louise Vet (Chair of the Meeting, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  • Maurice Hoffmann (Chair NecoV, Research Institute for Nature and Forest)
  Plenary 1: “Conserving biodiversity in agricultural landscapes: insights from opposite worlds”
Highlight: Agriculture is the dominant form of land-use in many parts of the globe. Although biodiversity is much lower on farmland than in protected areas, small increases in biodiversity can have a large overall impact because it covers so much area. Furthermore, studies increasingly show that, through the provisioning of ecosystem services such as pollination and pest control, wild species contribute significantly to agricultural production. Key questions are therefore how we can effectively conserve farmland biodiversity and what species should we target?
10:30 Biodiversity in a changing world: maintaining and restoring biodiversity across Australia’s agricultural landscapes (Margaret Mayfield, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia)
11.15 In pursuit of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes in Europe (David Kleijn, Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands)
12:00 Lunch in the restaurant
  Europe Hall America Hall Asia Hall Africa Hall Vide Hall
13:30 Parallel 1a:
Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: beyond random extinction scenarios
Parallel 1b:
Vector Ecology
Parallel 1c:
Chemical communication in ecology
Parallel 1d:
Modelling meets ecological application
Parallel 1e:
WORKSHOP: Cultivating Serendipity
  Over the last 20 years, concerns about biodiversity loss inspired ecologists to study biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships. So far, studies focused on the consequences of random extinction scenarios. However, real-world, human-driven biodiversity changes are rarely random and not necessarily involve net losses. Therefore, we still understand little about how human-driven biodiversity changes modify ecosystem functioning. We will focus on a new generation of studies introducing environmental change drivers and/or non-random biodiversity change to tackle this question. Dispersal is essential for population dynamics and the exchange of genetic information in nearly all forms of life. Mobile animals transport a wide variety of less mobile organisms, ranging from plant seeds to bacteria and viruses, and play a key role in their spatial dynamics with implications for ecosystem functioning and host-pathogen dynamics. In this session, we explore the impacts of vector animal ecology on the ecology of the dispersed pathogenic or non-pathogenic organisms. Chemical compounds released by organisms into their environment can be used as signals (infochemicals) by other organisms in food webs via sensing and processing of information. Chemical communication has evolved in microbes, plants, as well as animals and plays a major role underlying the functioning of food webs. This session will focus on the discussion of how the exchange of chemical information shapes biotic interactions and the evolution of species in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Ecosystem modelling is erroneously seen as a complicated and theoretical business. However, this view ignores the importance of ecosystem models to understand scientifically challenging concepts. Moreover, models aid practical management decisions. This session looks for talks that highlight the importance of ecosystem models for ecology and society. We also welcome empirical studies with clear ideas on how modelling could provide new insights to their work, thereby uniting the modelling and empirical communities. Hypothesis-driven research can give surprising results, hinting at an exciting sideway unrelated to the original research question. Additional experiments may not be performed when it is too far away from core business, leaving the finding unpublished. And thus serendipity may slumber in several proverbial drawers, until this 10th NERN meeting where we invite researchers to join this workshop, and share ideas about increasing serendipity in science in general.
  1. Fons van der Plas (Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberg Institute for Biodiversity)
  2. Frederik De Laender (Environmental Ecosystem Ecology, Namur University)
  3. Lander Baeten (Forest and Water Management, Ghent University)
  1. Erik Kleyheeg (Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  2. Robert Timmers (Ecology & Biodiversity, Utrecht University)
  1. Olga Kostenko (Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  2. Kristin Schulz-Bohm (Microbial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  3. Kay Moisan (Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University & Research)
  1. Jan Janse (Department of Nature and Rural Areas, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency)
  2. Sven Teurlincx (Aquatic Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  3. Annette Janssen (Aquatic Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  1. Gera Hol (Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  2. Elly Morriën (Earth Surface Science, IBED, University of Amsterdam)
13:30 Reintroducing Environmental Change Drivers in Biodiversity–Ecosystem Functioning Research
(Frederik de Laender, Namur University)
Mechanisms of vector ecology and consequences for spatial dynamics of transported organisms.
(Erik Kleyheeg, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Sniffing into volatile mediated communication and interaction
(Paolina Garbeva, Netherlands Institute of Ecology & Simona Cristescu, Radboud University Nijmegen)
Ecological modelling
(Annette Janssen, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Interactive introduction to the workshop
(Stijn van Gils, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
13:50 On shaky ground: food web structure and drought sensitivity are too uncertain to predict climate change effects on soil carbon sequestration
(Wouter Reyns, Hasselt University / Namur University)
Zoonotic vector-borne pathogen prevalence in relation to vector burden and immune parameters in Wood mice and Bank voles
(Esther Bügel & Bob Hendrikx, Wageningen University & Research)
Sniffing into volatile mediated communication and interaction (continued)
(Paolina Garbeva, Netherlands Institute of Ecology & Simona Cristescu, Radboud University Nijmegen)
Analysing cropping patterns for developing disease resistant landscapes: the case of potato and late blight
(Francine Pacilly, Wageningen University & Research)
Mini-masterclass ‘Serendipity’
(Pek van Andel, University of Groningen)
14:10 Identifying the drivers of environmental-induced changes in biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships
(Jan Baert, Ghent University)
Exploring the implications of climate change on epidemiological dynamics of multi-host vector-borne diseases
(Yael Artzy-Randrup, University of Amsterdam)
Microbe-based attraction of natural enemies to enhance biological control of pest insects
(Tim Goelen, KU Leuven, Belgium)
Management options for North Sea Shrimp fishery: Integrated modelling of ecology and exploitation
(Tobias van Kooten, Wageningen Marine Research)
Cultivating serendipity in life
(Pek van Andel, University of Groningen)
14:30 Short Break
14:40 Non-random extinction in an insect pollinated crop: losing the rare, not the dominant, crop pollinators
(Thijs Fijen, Wageningen University & Research)
The 2016 Usutu virus outbreak among birds in the Netherlands; drivers of disease emergence
(Chantal Reusken, Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam)
Full spectrum ant mimicry in facultative hyperparasitoid wasps
(Bertanne Visser, Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium)
Drought and fire could arrest old-field succession in Mediterranean forests
(Mara Baudena, Utrecht University)
Serendipity in Ecology
(Marten Scheffer, Wageningen University & Research)
15:00 Extinction-driven changes in insular frugivore communities
(Julia Heinen, University of Amsterdam)
Virus population dynamics in freshwater ecosystems advance due to global warming
(Thijs Frenken, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Host preference of mosquitoes mediated by skin bacterial volatiles
(Niels Verhulst, Wageningen University & Research)
Unravelling processes steering vegetation development in Dutch floodplains: combining fieldwork, theoretical trait frameworks and models
(Valesca Harezlak, University of Twente / Deltares)
Cultivating serendipity by mixing Arts & Science
(Jasper van Ruijven, Wageningen University & Research)
15:20 Light in the undergrowth: Identity and diversity effects of tree species on light transmittance in forests
(Bram Sercu, Ghent University)
Avian population responses to fragmentation and implications for forest ecosystems
(Robert Timmers, Utrecht University)
The smell of defense: Intraspecific facilitation by allelochemicals in harmful algal blooms
(Dedmer van de Waal, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
A model approach to monitor the impact of soil subsidence on shorebirds
(Bruno Ens, Sovon: Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology)
Reflection time
(Stijn van Gils, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
15:40 Coffee and tea in the lounge
  Europe Hall America Hall Asia Hall Africa Hall Vide Hall
16:00 Parallel 2a:
The effectiveness of the Ecosystem Services approach
Parallel 2b:
From traits to ecosystem processes via remote sensing
Parallel 2c:
Interacting effects of anthropogenic stressors across ecosystem boundaries
Parallel 2d:
Carbon cycling in terrestrial, wetland and aquatic ecosystems: from plot to global scale
Parallel 2e:
Predicting evolution: state-of-the-art and novel interdisciplinary approaches
  Ecosystem Services (ES) deliver an array of potential benefits to society and are increasingly the focus of conservation efforts and the sustainable management and restoration of ecosystems. ES are the product of various ecological functions and structures, diverse habitats, individual organisms and populations, and human activities. We would like to discuss the effectiveness of ES based approaches in terrestrial and marine habitats, focusing on the environmental and anthropogenic factors playing a role. Trait-based ecology has proven an important step in making ecology a more predictive science. However, quantifying traits at field/landscape level is time consuming and costly. Fast advancing remote sensing technologies offer unprecedented possibilities to assess traits at high spatio-temporal scale, allowing improved coupling of organism traits to ecosystem functioning. This session aims to provide the state-of-the-art in remote sensing from the perspective of linking organism traits to ecosystem processes across spatial and temporal scales. CANCELLED Soil-atmosphere carbon exchange is among the central processes controlling carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and therewith Earth’s climate. However the interlinks of biotic, a-biotic and human-induced drivers of carbon cycling as well as relationships between local and global processes regulating carbon exchange remain poorly understood. This session will bring together ecologists active in the research field of carbon cycling at a broad range on scales from local to regional and global, aiming to understand the processes controlling soil carbon sequestration and soil-atmosphere carbon exchange, and the role of above and belowground biodiversity in these processes. Evolution has mostly been a retrospective science, reconstructing and explaining the development of life and its interaction with the environment. More recently however, the emphasis has shifted towards a predictive framework, which requires new techniques, cross-connections between disciplines and new insights into the coupling between ecological and evolutionary processes. Predicting evolution has been formulated as a game changer in the National Science Agenda. The aim of this symposium is to explore where we currently stand with this goal, and what interdisciplinary starting points there are for further research.
  1. Marijke van Kuijk (Ecology & Biodiversity, Utrecht University)
  2. Christiaan Hummel (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
  1. Gerlinde De Deyn (Soil Quality, Wageningen University & Research)
  2. Lammert Kooistra (Geoinformation & Remote Sensing, Wageningen University & Research)
  3. Peter van Bodegom (Conservation Biology, Leiden University)
  1. Nadia Soudzilovskaia (Conservation Biology, Leiden University)
  2. Ciska Veen (Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  1. Marcel Visser (Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  2. Jacintha Ellers (Ecological Sciences, VU University Amsterdam)
16:00 The landscape approach: scientific challenges emerging from practice in low and middle income countries
(Henk Simons / Joost van Montfort, IUCN-NL)
Scaling from plant traits to ecosystem processes via remote sensing
(Lammert Kooistra, Wageningen University & Research)
  Carbon cycling in terrestrial, wetland and aquatic ecosystems: from plot to global scale
(Tom Crowther, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Predicting Evolution: One of the game changers in the new Origins Center
(Marcel Visser, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
16:20 The Role of Ecosystem Services in Protected Areas
(Herman Hummel, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
Remote Sensing for Quantifying Plant Traits at ITC, University Twente
(Roshanak Darvishzadeh, University of Twente)
  Effect of warming on freshwater carbon cycling in macrophyte dominated systems
(Mandy Velthuis, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Organics on Mars
(Ingeloes ten Kate, Utrecht University)
16:40 The potential of voluntary market standards to conserve public and private values of natural capital
(Mark van Oorschot, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency)
Dunes from above: Relating patterns to dune building processes
(Marinka van Puijenbroek, Wageningen University & Research)
  The role of native and range-expanding plant communities in buffering the effects of drought on soil functioning
(Marta Manrubia Freixa, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Breaking through evolutionary constraint by variable environments
(Marjon de Vos, Wageningen University & Research)
17:00 Short Break
17:10 Rehabilitation of ecosystem services in agro-ecosystems through management adaptation
(Vincent De Leijster, Utrecht University)
Predicting fire behavior (in-)directly via plant traits and Remote Sensing
(Luke Blauw, VU University Amsterdam)
  Grass root abundance, not plant species richness, decreases fine root decomposition in an experimental grassland
(Natalie Oram, Wageningen University & Research)
Evolution of range expanding plants
(Mirka Macel, Radboud University Nijmegen)
17:30 Sandy solutions and solaces; what actually happened at the Sand Motor
(Simeon Moons, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
Monitoring vegetation height and greenness of low floodplain vegetation with a UAV
(Wimala van Iersel, Utrecht University)
  The role of phytoplankton productivity on the atmospheric CO2 flux of a eutrophic lake
(Jolanda Verspagen, University of Amsterdam)
Explaining the apparent lack of micro-evolution in natural populations
(Phillip Gienapp, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
17:50 Documentation and analysis of ecosystem services in the Eastern Himalayan forests in India
(Sayan Bhattacharya, Nalanda University, India)
Detecting soil microbial community shifts via remote sensing
(Gera Hol, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  Global patterns in above- and belowground ecosystem properties across montane grassland – forest ecotones
(Ellen Cieraad, Leiden University)
Unraveling processes behind local adaptation: experimental evolution with spider mites
(Karen Bisschop, University of Groningen / Ghent University)
18:10 Drinks in the Lounge and from 18:30 onwards dinner in the restaurant
19:30 Poster session 1 (Odd-numbered posters are presented and discussed)
  Europe Hall
21:00 Evening Programme: Why ecologists can save the planet, but are afraid to do it (Willem Ferwerda (Commonland))
What if the economy would include the real value of ecosystems? What if decision makers were using ecosystem science to enhance their decisions? What if farmers, investors and ecologists would work together? What if biodiversity was easy to explain to your mother-in-law? What if ecologists would use their socio-entrepreneur skills to create more promise for the commons…
In this lecture Willem Ferwerda will touch upon answering these ‘what if’ questions. He will explore the promising future for ecosystem science, as in the 21st century ecology will finally be among one of the most popular professions ever.

Wednesday 15 February

07:30 Breakfast in the restaurant
08:00 Registration for those coming on Day 2 only
  Europe Hall America Hall Asia Hall Africa Hall Vide Hall
08:30 Parallel 3a:
Plant community interactions
Parallel 3b:
The host-microbiome: the unseen organ
Parallel 3c:
Establishment ecology
Parallel 3d:
Changing species interactions and ecosystem functioning in the Anthropocene
Parallel 3e:
Benthic-pelagic coupling on shallow to deep reef ecosystems
  Plants have to cope with a diversity of organisms. These organisms can range from being beneficial to detrimental for the plant, and they may interact with each other directly or indirectly via the plant. This session aims for presentations on: (1) the ecophysiology of interactions between plants, animals and/or microorganisms and, in particular, those that aim to elucidate (2) how environmental conditions affect these interactions within the plant community. Microbiomes represent a critical component of plants, animals, fungi and even some protists. However, very little is understood about the interaction of the macro-organisms with their microbiome. The technological and conceptual developments in the field of molecular- and systems biology and bioinformatics have opened new avenues to investigate this new field in ecology that will have substantial consequences for human and animal health and agricultural productivity. Knowledge of how an organism becomes established in a new habitat is essential to anticipate species demography, migration and invasion in a changing globe and to improve the restoration success of degraded ecosystems. Yet, the understanding of key ecological processes and conditions to the establishment success is still lacking. In this session, we welcome submissions of studies that aim at identifying and overcoming the bottlenecks and thresholds (biological, physical, chemical) involved in plant recruitment or animal establishment. Anthropogenic stress comes in many forms, such as land use change, (light, sound, chemical) pollution, over-fertilization, and species introductions. In this session we highlight effects of (combinations of) anthropogenic stressors on species interactions and ecosystem functioning, and ask how anthropogenic stressors not only affect single species but also entire interaction networks in complex terrestrial, aquatic, and marine environments. We particularly welcome abstracts on changes in species interactions driven by anthropogenic stressors, and its effect on key environmental processes. Shallow and deep-sea reef ecosystems are generally considered as hotspots of biological activity driven by strong  benthic-pelagic coupling. Severe anthropogenic pressure resulted in well-documented decline of reef systems, but ecological processes shaping this decline remain poorly understood, while they are at the base of management tools, conservation strategies and sustainable use of reef resources. We encourage discussion on ecological processes that drive community structures and coupling of resources on shallow and deep-sea reef ecosystems.
  1. Rocío Escobar-Bravo (Plant Sciences and Natural products, Leiden University)
  2. Saioa Legarrea (Population Biology, IBED, University of Amsterdam)
  1. Silvia Cretoiu (Aquatic Microbiology, IBED, University of Amsterdam)
  2. Henk Bolhuis (Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
  1. Zhenchang Zhu (Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
  2. Tjisse van der Heide (Aquatic Ecology, Radboud University Nijmegen)
  3. Tjeerd Bouma (Department of Estuarine and Delta Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
  1. Wendy Jesse (Animal Ecology, VU University Amsterdam)
  2. Estefania Velilla (Animal Ecology, VU University Amsterdam)
  3. Lisette de Senerpont Domis (Aquatic Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  1. Jasper de Goeij (Aquatic Environmental Ecology, IBED, University of Amsterdam)
  2. Nicole de Voogd (Marine Biodiversity, Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
  3. Arie Vonk (Aquatic Environmental Ecology, IBED, University of Amsterdam)
08:30 Can beneficial microbes help mitigate plant growth-defense trade-offs under shading?
(Arjen Biere, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Symbiosis revisited: Sphagnum vs. its microbiome - Environmental controls on N2 fixation and Sphagnum performance in peatlands
(Eva van den Elzen, Radboud University Nijmegen)
Establishment problems of foundation species: knowledge from coastal wetlands
(Zhenchang Zhu, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
Changing species interactions and ecosystem functioning in the Anthropocene
(Lisette de Senerpont Domis, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Sponges bring life to shallow and deep coral reefs: From cells to ecosystems
(Jasper de Goeij, University of Amsterdam)
08:50 Contrasting responses of insect communities to grazing intensity in lowland heathlands
(Michiel Wallis de Vries, Dutch Butterfly Conservation / Wageningen University & Research)
Animal-microbiota dynamics vary across levels of biological organisation in wild birds
(Pieter van Veelen, University of Groningen)
Biophysical interactions close the Window of Opportunity for tidal marsh establishment
(Jim van Belzen, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
Third generation sequencing as a tool for African great ape conservation
(Ineke Knot, University of Amsterdam)
Survival in a feast-famine environment: Resource utilization and storage in cold-water coral Lophelia pertus
(Sandra Maier, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research)
09:10 How a specialist herbivore and competition affect the performance of invasive ragweed in Europe
(Suzanne Lommen, University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
The role of the belowground plant microbiome in climate change induced range shifts
(Kelly Ramirez, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Food or furniture – a study of an epiphyte and its invertebrate community
(Annieke Borst, Radboud University Nijmegen)
Integration of exotic plants into native insect herbivore networks
(Menno Schilthuizen, Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
Environmental and geological drivers of deep-sea sponge grounds
(Ulrike Hanz, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research / Utrecht University)
09:30 Short Break
09:40 Omnivorous predator affects performance of herbivores through induced plant defences
(Xiaoning Zhang, University of Amsterdam)
The persistent association of denitrifying Rhizobiales endophytes with Azolla: foul-play in the leaf pocket?
(Laura Dijkhuizen, Utrecht University)
Steering community establishment – how do sowing and soil inoculation affect above- and belowground communities over two decades
(Jasper Wubs, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Arsenic contamination in the groundwater and soil and subsequent transmission in the edible crops in Bengal Delta
(Sayan Bhattacharya, Nalanda University, India)
Benthic-pelagic coupling in tropical seagrass meadows
(Arie Vonk, University of Amsterdam)
10:00 Predicting soil legacy effects on plant communities and their herbivores
(Robin Heinen, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Microbiome analysis of the soil immune response
(Irene de Bruijn, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Harnessing or breaking facilitation: the dual role of positive interactions in coastal restoration
(Valérie Reijers, Radboud University Nijmegen)
Joint effects of warming, terrestrial DOC, and atmospheric nitrogen deposition on mountain lake microbial communities
(Marika Schulhof, University of California, USA)
How cold-water coral mounds on the Rockall Bank have outgrown themselves
(Furu Mienis, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research / Utrecht University)
10:20 Mutualistic interactions mitigate impacts of drought and grazing on salt marsh vegetation
(Marlous Derksen-Hooijberg, Radboud University Nijmegen)
Population-level profiling and analysis of the human microbiome
(Leo Lahti, University of Turku, Finland)
The return of Flat oyster in North Sea and Dutch coastal waters: restoring a biocoenosis
(Tom van der Have, Bureau Waardenburg)
The impact of artificial light at night on plant-pollinator interactions
(Eva Knop, University of Bern, Switzerland)
Trophic interactions between fish, corals and algae on a reef in Kenya
(Ronald Osinga, Wageningen University & Research)
10:40 Coffee and tea in the lounge
  Europe Hall
  Plenary 2: "What do phenotypic models of evolution tell us about reality?"
Highlight: Evolution is inherently difficult to study because it is a composite of processes that occur on different levels of biological organization, ranging from molecular to ecological. Evolutionary models traditionally reduce this complexity by assuming that traits have a simple genetic basis. In this way, development can be treated as a black box and evolution described at the level of the phenotype. We will discuss what we can and cannot learn from such phenotypic models and evaluate the need for a ‘more modern synthesis’ that takes into account the molecular basis of adaptation.
11:00 What to do when one person cannot master all methods?​ (Hanna Kokko, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zürich, Switzerland)
How well do we understand evolution? One (very) critical test is to stop merely asking whether we think we’ve understood why a certain set of traits evolved, but also whether we can say why something that would appear useful did not evolve in a specific taxon. Depending on who you ask, answers may vary from various phenotypic / ecological arguments to constraints posed by genetic architecture or perhaps insufficient additive genetic variation if the population is small. But who is right? It appears that a big problem plagueing our research may not be insufficient modelling skills, limitations of data acquisition or genomic methods, but the limitations of time and attention that makes none of us universally versed in all these methods. The remedy is obvious, but also difficult to achieve: more truly collaborative interaction between researchers with different skills. I will discuss these ideas with two examples: (1) how we should think about the recent surge of interest in epigenetic modifications’ role in the adaptive process, and (2) how to understand migrant birds’ evolutionary responses (or lack thereof) to recent climate change.
11.45 Is it important to worry about the molecular basis of evolving traits? (Sander van Doorn, Theoretical Biology, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)
The modern evolutionary synthesis provides a solid theory of selection, which allows us to describe accurately how a population with a given pattern of heritable variation will adapt over the course of a couple of generations. Yet, explaining, for example, why some characters are more variable than others, correlated to each other, or developmentally plastic remains a challenge. This makes it very hard to predict how the genetic architecture of evolving traits will change over somewhat longer timescales. Traditional theory is also ill-equipped to disentangle the relationship between molecular evolution and phenotypic adaptation, because it relies on simplistic models of the genotype-phenotype map. Being aware of these problems, the founding fathers of population genetics provided arguments for why phenotypic models are adequate for understanding evolution. Yet, several others have argued that evolutionary biology is in need of a theory of constraints just as much as a theory of selection. I will present examples from speciation theory and sensory ecology to illustrate this viewpoint, but will also highlight some of the obstacles on the road to developing more mechanistic models of evolution, motivated by recent work on the evolution of small signal transduction networks governing chemotactic movement in bacteria.
12:30 Lunch in the restaurant
13:30 Poster Session 2 (Even-numbered posters are presented and discussed)
  Europe Hall America Hall Asia Hall Africa Hall Vide Hall
15:00 Parallel 4a:
Eco-Evolutionary Theory
Parallel 4b:
New insights from large-scale ecology
Parallel 4c:
Movement ecology in the Anthropocene
Parallel 4d:
Trait-based approaches in community- and restoration ecology
Parallel 4e:
NERN’s national biodiversity knowledge agenda Nature4life
  Evolutionary and ecological dynamics are tightly linked, since evolutionary traits can affect ecological dynamics and the ecology determines which traits are selected for. Mathematical models are a crucial tool for understanding this complex interplay and to further develop theory on eco-evolutionary dynamics. In this session we focus on new theoretical insights concerning eco-evolutionary dynamics. Furthermore we welcome abstracts on recent technical and methodological developments contributing to the field to foster further collaboration between researchers. Large-scale ecology is rapidly progressing due to availability of big datasets and recent advances in technology and computing. In this session, we provide new insights into the distribution of life on Earth, and how biotic and abiotic components of the Earth system interact. We particularly welcome submissions that aim at understanding variation in taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity at continental and global scales, including historical and functional biogeography, macroecology, phylo-geography, macroevolution, and global change. All organisms, ranging from small plant seeds to large rhinoceros, move. Movement helps them to exploit heterogeneously distributed resources, avoid predation or ensure certain climatic conditions. In the Anthropocene, human influence has become a major modifier of organism movement, by destructing and fragmenting habitats, relocating resources, and changing climatic conditions. We aim to connect researchers that work on different aspects of human-influenced movement, in all types of ecosystems. To gain a complete overview, we welcome submissions on all organisms. Trait-based approaches have emerged as important tools to understand the impacts of environmental change on ecosystem structure and functioning, and have a high potential for guiding ecosystem restoration measures. Many trait-based approaches, however, ignore intraspecific variation in trait expression along environmental gradients, which hampers application in restoration practice. This session explores trait-based approaches that improve our understanding of the complex relations between traits, environment, community dynamics, and ecosystem functioning for community- and restoration ecology.. Biodiversity research can contribute to solutions for societal challenges now and in the future. To unite our field and enhance visibility the knowledge agenda Nature4life was formulated. The document is a joint initiative, combining institutes from the fields of biodiversity, ecology and evolution, and provides the potential contributions to societal challenges and the type of research required. During this session we want to further introduce the agenda and elaborate on the different perspectives and discuss the next steps to be taken as a community. It is not possible to submit presentation abstracts for this session, as the session conveners will build the programme of this session themselves.
  1. Hanna ten Brink (Theoretical Ecology, IBED, University of Amsterdam)
  2. Boris Kramer (Evolutionary Systems Biology, University of Groningen)
  1. Daniel Kissling (Computational Geo-Ecology, IBED, University of Amsterdam)
  2. Hans ter Steege (Biodiversity Dynamics, Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
  1. Thomas Lameris (Animal Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  2. Frank van Langevelde (Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University & Research)
  3. Casper van Leeuwen (Ecology and Biodiversity, Utrecht University)
  1. Michiel Verhofstad (Aquatic Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
  2. Ralf Aben (Aquatic Ecology & Environmental Biology, Radboud University Nijmegen)
  3. Jerry van Dijk (Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University)
  4. Oscar Franken (Animal Ecology, VU University Amsterdam)
  1. Koos Biesmeijer (Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
  2. Johan Mols (Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
  3. Nieke Knoben (Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
15:00 A genetic matrix population model for eco-evolutionary dynamics
(Charlotte de Vries, University of Amsterdam)
Recent progress in large-scale ecology
(Daniel Kissling, University of Amsterdam)
Movement ecology in the Anthropocene – session introduction
(Thomas Lameris, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)
Introducing trait-based approaches in community- and restoration ecology
(Jerry van Dijk, Utrecht University)
Nature4Life Nationale Kennisagenda Biodiversiteit
(Koos Biesmeijer (Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
15:20 Disentangling the contribution of natural selection and population regulation to patterns of phenotypic expression
(Romain Richard, University of Amsterdam)
Phylogenetic signal for environmental niche drives the main plant biogeographic patterns of Amazonia
(Kyle Dexter, University of Edinburgh, UK)
Rapid evolution of phenology during the recent range expansion of a Mediterranean plant species
(Nicky Lustenhouwer, Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Traits-based estimates of diversity across different scales in tundra ecosystems
(Eefje de Goede, Leiden University)
(Han Olff, University of Groningen)
15:40 A locally and regionally dynamic framework for community assembly
(Alex Pigot, University of Groningen)
Identifying plant and animal traits shaping plant-frugivore networks across the Andes
(Irene Bender, German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig / Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg / Senckenberg BiK-F, Germany)
Trees versus grass: Cattle habitat preferences depend on climate
(Edwin Bargeman, Wageningen University & Research)
Using root traits to explain changes in biodiversity effects over time
(Lisette Bakker, Wageningen University & Research)
Multitrophic interactions: fundamental knowledge for sustainable food production
(Joop van Loon, Wageningen University and Research)
16:00 Short break
16:10 Ignoring incipient species
(Richel Bilderbeek, University of Groningen)
LiDAR remote sensing and functional diversity as applied in the Netherlands and the Amazon forest
(Jesús Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Naturalis Biodiversity Center)
Individual modelling of a dolphin near extinction
(Geerten Hengeveld, Wageningen University & Research)
From stress to process: species traits as predictor of hydrological effects on soil fauna and, subsequently, litter decomposition
(Astra Ooms, VU University Amsterdam)
(Peter de Ruiter, University of Amsterdam)
16:30 Fuel, cargo and the division of labour: a modelling approach
(Lia Hemerik, Wageningen University & Research)
Frugivory and plant radiations: which ecologies promote speciation in the tropics?
(Renske Onstein, University of Amsterdam)
Human-induced habitat changes influence multiple behavioural stages of dispersal in fragmented habitats
(Hugo Robles, University of Antwerp, Belgium)
Dispersal strategies of aquatic macroinvertebrates after restoration practices
(Judith Westveer, University of Amsterdam)
Ecology for a circular economy
(Louise Vet, Netherlands Institute of Ecology)   
16:50 Estimating and interpreting migration of Amazonian forests
(Edwin Pos, Utrecht University)
A framework for quantifying long-term 10-100ky environmental effects on biodiversity of volcanic and continental islands
(Kenneth Rijsdijk, University of Amsterdam)
Limited dispersal evolves through environmental heterogeneity in harsh environments
(Monique de Jager, Utrecht University)
Plant functional diversity and nutrient availability during fen restoration
(Casper van Leeuwen, Utrecht University)
Green circles: nature as a partner on the road to sustainability
(Paul Opdam, Wageningen University and Research) 
  Europe Hall
17:20 Awards and Closing Ceremony
  • NecoV Poster Prize (Maurice Hoffmann)
  • NERN Award (Member of the NERN Evaluation Committee
  • Final words (Louise Vet)
18:00 Farewell drinks
18:30 Dinner and NERN board meeting
19:30 End / Travel Home (Shuttle available between Conference Centre and Lunteren Station)

Fees 1

MSc students / PhD candidates (2 days, with Bed & Breakfast) € 150,- € 175,-
Others (2 days, with Bed & Breakfast) € 175,- € 200,-
Single room surcharge €   40,- €   40,-
MSc students / PhD candidates (2 days, without Bed & Breakfast) € 120,- € 145,-
Others (2 days, without Bed & Breakfast) € 150,- € 175,-
MSc students / PhD candidates (1-day visitor) €   75,- € 100,-
Others (1-day visitor) €   90,- € 115,-

1 The participation fee includes coffee/tea/water, lunches, and dinners.
2 The Early-Bird Fee applies to anyone who REGISTERS ON OR BEFORE 17 JANUARY 2017

  • If you need an invoice to complete your payment, please send an email to, including ALL relevant details that should be mentioned on the invoice (e.g., purchase order no., specific addresses, attendees, etc.).
  • The Early-Bird policy is such that the moment of REGISTRATION (and not payment) is leading for determining the fee that applies to you.
  • Please make sure that your payment is arranged within two weeks after your registration.
  • It is the participant's responsibility to make sure that payment is completed correctly and in time.

NERN Cancellation Conditions

  • Up to 4 (four) weeks prior to the start of the event, cancellation is free of charge.
  • Up to 2 (two) weeks prior to the start of the event, a fee of € 100,- will be charged.
  • In case of cancellation within two weeks prior to the start of the event, a fee of € 150,- will be charged.
  • If you do not show at all, a fee of € 150,- will nevertheless be charged, plus € 25,- administration fee.

Note: If you would like to cancel your registration, ALWAYS inform us (and do note that you will be kept to the cancellation conditions)


Organising Committee

  • Dries Bonte, Ghent University
  • Hans Cornelissen, VU University Amsterdam
  • Christiaan Both, University of Groningen
  • Liesje Mommer, Wageningen University & Research
  • Daniel Kissling, University of Amsterdam
  • Patrick Jansen, Wageningen University & Research
  • Merel Soons, Utrecht University
  • Dedmer van de Waal, Netherlands Institute of Ecology
  • Johan van de Koppel, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
  • Maurice Hoffmann, Netherlands Flemish Ecological Society
  • Nadia Soudzilovskaia, Leiden University
  • Lennart Suselbeek, Netherlands Ecological Research Network
  • Claudius van de Vijver, Netherlands Ecological Research Network

More information

Dr Claudius van de Vijver (NERN)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485116

Dr. Lennart Suselbeek (NERN)
Phone: +31 (0) 317 485426


To register, please enter your details below and click "Register".