Understanding evolution

Planten en schimmels

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 research includes comparative, descriptive, and experimental tools, and implements both field and collection-based research. Our goal is to address fundamental questions on the evolution of biodiversity, leading to novel and powerful insights into our natural world. 

Group leader

Dr. Vincent Merckx
vincent.merckx@naturalis.nl

Follow the group
on Twitter @UnderstandEvo

Our programmes
& research themes

A selection of the main topics we are working on.

    Derived woodiness

    Derived woodiness

    Why plants became woody during evolutionary history? As an evolutionary biologist, I am fascinated to understand the frequent habit transitions towards the woody growth form during evolutionary history of flowering plants.
    Read more
    Fungal evolution

    Fungal evolution

    Diversification of fungi in the order Russulales. Taxonomists create the language of biodiversity, enabling communication about different organisms among scientists and the general public. This essential work is particularly challenging in hyper diverse…
    Read more
    Floral development

    Floral development

    Defining predictive characters to understand angiosperm evolution. The research Erik Smets focuses on the evolution of flowering plants, the world’s most dominant plant group. Initially, he was fascinated by the huge diversity in floral morphology. Later,…
    Read more