Researchers and specialists


Our work is strongly internationally oriented; our scientists work closely with colleagues from different universities and from all other major natural history institutes in the world. The emphasis of Naturalis' scientific research is on nature in Brazil, South East Asia and the Caribbean.

Please contact the Research Coordination Office with questions about PhDs, postdocs, financing and teaching:

Research groups
and departments

Bijenorchis op BioScience Park in Leiden

Evolutionary Ecology

We have a general interest in contemporary evolution and are specifically focused on the adaptation of organisms to ecological changes in their environment. We study how ancient and more recent man-made environments, such as the city biome, create…
Read more
Planten en schimmels

Understanding evolution

We study how the interplay of interactions determines evolutionary processes. We integrate a combination of phylogenetic, ecological, genomic, morphological, and anatomical approaches and apply these to several target taxa, mainly in plants and fungi. Our…
Read more
Amazone woud

Tropical botany

The tropics contain the overwhelming majority of Earth’s plant diversity. Describing species, understanding their distributions, evolutionary and ecological relationships, and recognizing their role in human societies – themes in the Tropical Botany…
Read more
researcher at sea

Marine biodiversity

Our seas and oceans are changing rapidly: increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations cause warming, acidification, and deoxyxenation at rates higher than in the previous millions of years. These global challenges interact with regional and local processes…
Read more

Taxonomy & systematics

Naming and describing the earth’s organisms (taxonomy) and arranging them in a system of evolutionary origins (systematics) is one of the main tasks of Naturalis. Our research group collects, describes, and investigates plant and animal species. We do this…
Read more
Pollination by bee

NL Biodiversity and Society

Our mission is to generate scientific knowledge and facilitate societal partners to strengthen biodiversity. We do scientific research, develop biodiversity tools, and give advice to partners. We combine science, policy and practice. Our expertise areas…
Read more

Vertebrate evolution, development and ecology

Vertebrate history ranges back in time over 535 million years documenting major changes in biodiversity, evolutionary success and ecological adaptations. Although vertebrates are a relatively small group in the animal kingdom, their skeletons are well…
Read more
Teide Echium wildprettii7

Functional Traits

Since plants cannot run away, they have developed a wide array of functional adaptations throughout evolution to survive changing conditions. Our research group focuses on wood formation, one of the most fundamental evolutionary innovations that gave rise…
Read more

Plankton Diversity and Evolution

We study the organisms that drift with ocean currents. Plankton are at the basis of marine foodchains and are sensitive indicators of climate change. We employ a combination of phylogenetic, morphological and genomic approaches to obtain a better…
Read more


Researchers in the field

Research Coordination Office (RCO)

The Research Coordination Office (RCO) supports the Naturalis Research and Education (R&E) sector with the aim to realise the institute’s ambition to perform excellent and high impact science. We assist in positioning the institute strategically in the…
Read more

ICT more than just data

For an optimal exchange of digital biodiversity information, our advanced IT infrastructure is linked to worldwide networks and databases. Naturalis provides more than just data. We also develop tools to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and the use of…
Read more

Naturalis laboratories

The Naturalis laboratories offer a wide range of opportunities to perform biological or geological scientific analyses. A group of 8 research technicians with specialist knowledge annually support 80 students, 60 internal research projects, 10PhDs, 40…
Read more


Scientific Advisory Board

Currently our Board exists of:

  • Prof. Dr Paul Brakefield (Chairman, ad interim) - Director of the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology
  • Prof. Eric Schranz - Professor of Biosystematics at Wageningen University & Research 
  • Prof. Dr. Richard Lane - Independent consultant in international health, biodiversity and science policy
  • Prof. Dr. David Harper - Professor of Palaeontology at Durham University, UK
  • Prof. Dr. Dennis Stevenson - Deputy director of laboratory research and curator of botany at New York Botanical Garden
  • Professor Peter de Ruiter - Professor of Theoretical Ecology with Biometris at Wageningen University and Research.
  • Dr. Roy Erkens - senior lecturer on Evolution and Biodiversity at Maastricht University