Kasper Hendriks

Kasper Hendriks

I study the evolution and ecology within terrestrial habitats, especially islands. Islands - either classical oceanic islands, mountain peaks, or alkaline limestone outcrops surrounded by acidic forest soils - are interesting for the study of evolution because they are discrete geographical entities with clear boundaries, making the study of its many unique species relatively easy. Furthermore, evolution tends to be more pronounced on islands compared to continents, with many island species evolving extreme traits, such as gigantism and dwarfism. The best known example of gigantism in plants is derived woodiness, implying that small herbaceous species evolved to larger shrubs or even trees after colonizing the islands. I am currently doing a postdoc to build the Tree of Life of the mustard family (Brassicaceae) to investigate why herbaceous lineages evolved so frequently into woody species 


Island evolution, biogeography, derived woodiness, Brassicaceae, next generation sequencing, phylogenetics

Dr. ir. Kasper P. Hendriks

Functional Traits

+31 (0)71 7519 600



As a postdoc researcher at Naturalis (and previously University of Osnabrück, Germany), I am working on the evolution of derived woodiness in the Brassicaceae plant family.

Most of the ~4000 species within the Brassicaceae plant family are herbaceous. However, about 400 species have evolved into shrubs or lianas. Interestingly, all the woody species have derived from herbaceous relatives, and result from about 100 independent evolutionary transitions. This case of massive, parallel evolution can teach us about what drives the evolution of woodiness. Using the latest next generation sequencing techniques, I am building the Brassicaceae Tree of Life to identify the ca. 100 transitions towards woodiness and to infer the influence of woodiness on species diversification.

Erysimum scoparium
Tree of Life


A selection of the topics I am working on currently.


  • Hendriks, K.P., Alciatore, G., Schilthuizen, M., Etienne, R.S. 2019. Phylogeography of Bornean land snails suggests long-distance dispersal as a cause of endemism. Journal of Biogeography.
  • Merckx V.S.F.T., Hendriks K.P., Beentjes K.K., Mennes C.B., Becking L.E., Peijnenburg K.T.C.A., Afendy A., Arumugam N., de Boer H., Biun A., Buang M.M., Chen P.-P., Chung A.Y.C., Dow R., Feijen F.A.A., Feijen H., Feijen-van Soest C, Geml J., Geurts R., Gravendeel B., Hovenkamp P., Imbun P., Ipor I., Janssens S.B., Jocqué M. Kappes H., Khoo E., Koomen P., Lens F., Majapun R.J., Morgado L.N., Neupane S., Nieser N., Pereira J.T., Rahman H., Sabran S., Sawang A., Schwallier R.M., Shim P.-S., Smit H., Sol N., Spait M., Stech M., Stokvis F., Sugau J.B., Suleiman M., Sumail S., Thomas D.C., van Tol J., Tuh F.Y.Y., Yahya B.E., Nais J., Repin R., Lakim M. & Schilthuizen M. 2015. Evolution of endemism on a young tropical mountain. Nature 524: 347-350.
  • Khalik, M. Z., Hendriks, K. P., Vermeulen, J. J., Schilthuizen, M. 2019. Conchological and molecular analysis of the “non-scaly” Bornean Georissa with descriptions of three new species (Gastropoda, Neritimorpha, Hydrocenidae). ZooKeys 840: 35.
  • Khalik, M. Z., Hendriks, K.P., Vermeulen, J. J., Schilthuizen, M. 2018. A molecular and conchological dissection of the “scaly” Georissa of Malaysian Borneo (Gastropoda, Neritimorpha, Hydrocenidae). ZooKeys 773: 1.
  • Njunjić I., Perrard A., Hendriks K.P., Schilthuizen M., Perreau M., Merckx V.S.F.T., Baylac M., Derharveng L. 2018. Comprehensive evolutionary analysis of the Anthroherpon radiation (Coleoptera, Leiodidae, Leptodirini). PLOS ONE 13: e0198367.
  • Njunjić, I., Perreau, M., Hendriks, K.P., Schilthuizen, M., Deharveng, L. 2016. The cave beetle genus Anthroherpon is polyphyletic; molecular phylogenetics and description of Graciliella n. gen. (Leiodidae, Leptodirini). Contr. Zool 85: 339-361.

All publications on Google Scholar


I am actively involved in the supervision of international master students.

I have travelled to Borneo with students various times, teaching about evolution and fieldwork in the tropics.

Sieving soil to collect microsnails
External video URL
Hiking through the dense jungle to reach limestone outcrops

In the

In 2012, I joined a large expedition to Mount Kinabalu & the Crocker Range on Borneo. The aim of the expedition, jointly organized by Naturalis and Sabah Parks, was to collect species new to science, and to reconstruct the general evolutionary patterns of plants and animals on the slopes of the mountain. The expedition was widely covered in the international media, such as Science, National Geographic, and various newspapers, and resulted in a letter in Nature.

NRC Handelsblad coverage of Mount Kinabalu & Crocker Range Expedition 2012