Dick Groenenberg

Dick Groenenberg

Species evolve and so does the way we study them. In this era of high-throughput DNA sequencing there are virtually no limitations on obtaining data, but analyses of these datasets increasingly require computational skills. Since 2002 I have been working for Naturalis as a lab-techinician, researcher and currently as a bioinformatician. I obtained my PhD on "Molecular Taxonomy and Natural History Collections" in Leiden in 2012.


Bioinformatics, Phylogenetics, Stylommatophora, Next Generation Sequencing, Mitogenomics, ancient DNA, Galaxy, Scripting

Dr. D.S.J. (Dick) Groenenberg



+31 (0)71 751 1911


"Changes in DNA allow us to witness evolution and to reconstruct genealogical trees. The relation between genetics, morphology and taxonomy has never been more measurable."

During my MSc internship I learned that copse snails ('heesterslakken') exist in two forms; either with globular or depressed shells. The former is widespread and consists of only one species, whereas the latter is restricted to montane areas and has many (sub)species. In agreement with the morphology (outgroup comparision), our DNA study showed that a depressed shell represented the ancestral (plesiomorphic) condition. This demonstrated that mountain tops (or 'nunataks') can act as evolutionary islands and that the size of a distribution area ('commonness') doesn't have to be indicative of the age of a group. So my interest in molecules, cladistics and landsnails (especially Ariantinae) started.



  • Gittenberger E., Groenenberg D.S.J., Kokshoorn B., Preece R.C. 2006. Molecular trails from hitch-hiking snails. Nature 439: 409-409.
  • Groenenberg D.S.J., Beintema A.J., Dekker R.W.R.J., Gittenberger E. 2008. Ancient DNA elucidates the controversy about the Flightless Island Hens (Gallinula sp.) of Tristan da Cunha. PLoS ONE 3(3): e1835. 
  • Groenenberg D.S.J., Neubert E., Gittenberger E. 2011. Reappraisal of the "Molecular phylogeny of Western Palaearctic Helicidae s.l. (Gastropoda: Stylommatophora)": When poor science meets GenBank. 3 Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 61: 914-923.
  • Groenenberg D.S.J., Pirovano W., Gittenberger E., Schilthuizen M. 2012. The complete mitogenome of Cylindrus obtusus (Helicidae, Ariantinae) using Illumina next generation sequencing. BMC Genomics 13: 114.
  • Groenenberg D.S.J., Harl J., Duijm E., Gittenberger E. 2017. The complete mitogenome of Orcula dolium (Draparnaud, 1801); ultra-deep sequencing from a single long-range PCR using the Ion-Torrent PGM. 1 Hereditas 154: 10 p. 1-10.

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