The core of Naturalis’ activities concerns biodiversity, and the motivation of most of its scientists is a fascination with biodiversity. Biodiversity, the widely varied manifestation of life, is particularly evident in morphological diversity: disparity in the shape and function of organisms and their constituent parts.
Therefore, in 2015, Naturalis has started a research group to investigate the evolutionary processes that are responsible for the sheer boundless morphological diversity. This is the group “Endless Forms”, named after Darwin’s famous final sentence in On the Origin of Species.
Our researchthemes & structure
Our research is structured as follows:
- scale of temporal processes (micro-evolution, meso-evolution, macro-evolution)
- methodology (experimental, descriptive or analytical)
- conceptual themes (selection and constraints; biotic and abiotic selection; key innovations; species-level specializations)
- fundamental and applied science
To address the major questions with different approaches, Endless forms has six research teams, each with its' own specialization and each grouped around one permanent researcher:
- Barbara Gravendeel Lab: plant evolution
- Martin Rücklin Lab: palaeobiology of early jawed vertebrates
- Frietson Galis Lab: body plan evolution animals, developmental constraints
- Menno Schilthuizen Lab: urban evolution; evolutionary diversification in genitalia and snail shells
- Anne Schulp Lab: palaeontology, fossil vertebrates
- Freek Vonk Lab: evolution and genomics of venom delivery in snakes
Endless Forms organises and contributes to several courses in the BSc and MSc biology curricula of Leiden University. We also created a MOOC (“Evolution Today”), which is on Coursera. In addition, we regularly offer positions for students from all universities to do their final year projects with us. If you are interested, contact any of the Endless Forms research team heads.
Collaborations of Endless Forms
- Within Naturalis, we extensively use the collections, the computational facilities, and the molecular and morphology labs.
- In Leiden, we closely collaborate with research groups and labs at the Institute of Biology Leiden, the University of Applied Sciences Leiden, and Leiden University Medical Centre.
- In the Netherlands we collaborate mainly with Utrecht University, Groningen University, Radboud University Nijmegen and Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam.
Drop by atEndless forms
Interested? Feel free to drop by!
For example on
- our twice-monthly group meetings (2nd and 4th Thursday of each month, 16.00 h at BaseClear Sylviusweg 74 and the restaurant of the Vondellaan 55, respectively),
- our monthly journal club (every first Tuesday of the month, 18:00 h, in café Meneer Jansen in Leiden).
We work in two locations: On the 3th floor of the main building of Naturalis (currently the temporary office at Vondellaan 55, Leiden), and on the 6th floor of the Sylvius Lab (Sylviusweg 72, Leiden).