About the seminars

The Nature of Life Seminars are organized by the Department of Ecological Science (AEW). We invite exciting international and national speakers, aiming to include both well-known established ecologists and rising young stars. The topics cover a broad ecological spectrum and are of interest not only to all ecologists, but also to most other biologists, environmental scientists and earth scientists.

When and where are the seminars held?

The seminars are held every 2nd Tuesday of the month and always start at 15:45 hrs. The location is usually in the W&N building, entrance and address: De Boelelaan 1085 at the VU University in Amsterdam. Prior to the seminar the speaker will visit the Department of Ecological Sciences. The seminar closes with an informal meeting with drinks and bites and an opportunity to contact the speaker directly. For an abstract of upcoming and previous seminars for this year and earlier, please see below.


If you have suggestions about other speakers to invite, do please contact any of the following people:
James Weedon / Wouter Halfwerk / Milou Huizinga / Yumi Nakadera

Dr. Maurine Neiman, University of Iowa – 8 June 2021

Sex in the Wild (and Especially in New Zealand) ABSTRACT Why most eukaryotes reproduce sexually even though asexual reproduction is much simpler and less costly remains […]

Dr. Jen Perry, University of East Anglia – 11 May 2021

The adaptive evolution of male and female aggression in fruit flies and beyond ABSTRACT Displays of intense intrasexual aggression are frequent in many animals. Aggressive behaviour […]

Dr. Andrew Davies, Harvard University – 13 April 2021

Quantifying landscape scale animal impacts on ecosystem processes ABSTRACT Animals affect ecosystems in complex and profound ways, but understanding how observed effects scale up to influence […]

Professor Chris Jiggins, University of Cambridge – 9 March 2021

Convergent evolution in butterflies, from chemicals to colour patterns ABSTRACT What are the origins of biodiversity? There is much we still don’t understand about the evolution […]

Dr. Melissah Rowe, NIOO-KNAW – 12 January 2021

ABSTRACT All organisms host microbial communities in and on their bodies, and these microbiomes can have major impacts on host biology. For example, research over the […]

Dianneke van Wijk and Prof. dr. Wolf Mooij, NIOO-KNAW/WUR – 8 December 2020

ABSTRACT For decades we, and with us many others, have heard the warnings of overexploitation, environmental pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss summarized as the ‘the […]

Dr. Thea Whitman, University of Wisconsin – Madison – 10 November 2020

ABSTRACT Global fire regimes are changing, with shifts in wildfire duration, frequency, and severity predicted for North American forests over the next 100 years. Additionally, in […]

Dr. Holger Goerlitz, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology – 13 October 2020

    Nature of Life seminars Date       :   13 October 2020 Time       :   15.45 hours Location:   Online  

Prof. Dr. Caroline Nieberding, UCLouvain – 12 May 2020

ABSTRACT Over the last decade, it has become clear that most animals learn including short lived and non-social ones. Although learning is expected to increase adaptation […]

Dr. Sander Veraverbeke, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam – 10 March 2020

ABSTRACT The boreal region encompasses approximately 30 % of the world’s forests and the arctic-boreal region stores about 35 % of the world’s soil carbon. Climate […]

Dr. Katrin Heer, Philipps University Marburg, Germany – 14 January 2020

ABSTRACT Global change confronts forest ecosystems with many challenges ranging from changing environmental conditions to habitat loss and fragmentation. Trees as the foundation species of our […]

Dr. Ben Wielstra, Leiden University/Naturalis Biodiversity Centre – 10 December 2019

ABSTRACT Speciation typically involves a stage in which species can still exchange genetic material. Interspecific gene flow is facilitated by the hybrid zones that such species […]