Bert Hoeksema

Bert Hoeksema

I am basically a marine naturalist with strong interests in the taxonomy, ecology, evolution and biogeography of reef corals. I obtained my MSc in marine biology from the University of Groningen (1984) and my PhD from Leiden University (1990). My PhD research was about the systematics and ecology of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae). My studies on reef corals started in 1982, when I was based at the same institute that is my present employer.


Taxonomy, phylogeny, corals, coral-associated fauna, coral reefs, marine biodiversity, marine biogeography, reef conservation, Caribbean, Indo-Pacific

Prof. dr. Bert W. Hoeksema

Senior researcher
Honorary Professor, University of Groningen
Marine Evolution & Ecology

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Coral reefs harbour a high biodiversity, much of which is still undiscovered and undescribed. As dominant reef-builders, corals are important for many reef-dwelling species as substrate or shelter, while they can serve as food source for other ones. 

My research concerns tropical marine biodiversity, its distribution patterns, how it evolved, and the role of species interdependencies herein. My fieldwork is focused on the taxonomy, evolution, and ecology  of reef corals. Since corals are threatened by global warming, pollution and unsustainable harvesting, research on these key organisms is crucial to support their conservation.



A selection of the topics I am working on currently.

  • Biodiversity of Dutch Caribbean coral reefs
  • Associated fauna of reef corals
  • The natural history of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae)
  • The evolution of reef corals
  • World List of Scleractinia (World Register of Marine Species)
  • Corals in the international aquarium trade
  • Rafting as a dispersal mechanism for corals
  • Corals on artificial substrates
  • Tropical marine invasive species


  • van der Schoot R.J., Hoeksema B.W. 2024. Host specificity of coral-associated fauna and its relevance for coral reef biodiversity. International Journal for Parasitology 54 (2): 65-88.
  • Vogel M.L., Hoeksema B.W. 2024. The role of aquaculture in the international trade of giant clams (Tridacninae) for the aquarium industry (2001–2019). Aquaculture 583: 740563.
  • Hoeksema B.W., Giyanto, Suharsono. 2019. The role of maximum shelf depth versus distance from shore in explaining a diversity gradient of mushroom corals (Fungiidae) off Jakarta. Diversity 11: 46
  • Hoeksema B.W., Pedoja K., Propawski Y. 2018. Long-distance transport of a West Atlantic stony coral on a plastic raft. Ecology 99: 2402–2404
  • Hoeksema B.W., Bongaerts P., Baldwin C.C. 2017. High coral cover at lower mesophotic depths: a dense Agaricia community at the leeward side of Curaçao, Dutch Caribbean. Marine Biodiversity 47: 67–70
  • Hoeksema B.W., Scott C., True J.D. 2013. Dietary shift in corallivorous Drupella snails following a major bleaching event at Koh Tao, Gulf of Thailand. Coral Reefs 32: 423–428
  • Hoeksema B.W., van der Meij S.E.T., Fransen C.H.J.M. 2012. The mushroom coral as a habitat. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 92: 647–663.
  • Erftemeijer P.L.A., Riegl B., Hoeksema B.W., Todd P.A. 2012. Environmental impacts of dredging and other sediment disturbances on corals: a review. Marine Pollution Bulletin 64: 1737–1765
  • Gittenberger A., Reijnen B.T., Hoeksema B.W. 2011. A molecularly based phylogeny reconstruction of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) with taxonomic consequences and evolutionary implications for life history traits. Contributions to Zoology 80: 107–132
  • Hoeksema B.W. 2007. Delineation of the Indo-Malayan centre of maximum marine biodiversity: The Coral Triangle. In: W. Renema (ed.) Biogeography, Time and Place: Distributions, Barriers and Islands, pp 117–178. Springer, Dordrecht
  • Hoeksema B.W. 1991. Control of bleaching in mushroom coral populations (Scleractinia: Fungiidae) in the Java Sea: stress tolerance and interference by life history strategy. Marine Ecology Progress Series 74: 225–237
  • Hoeksema B.W. 1989. Taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography of mushroom corals (Scleractinia: Fungiidae). Zoologische Verhandelingen, Leiden 254: 1–295

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