Prof. dr. J.C. Biesmeijer Special Chair Functional Biology

21 February 2013

Professor J.C. Biesmeijer (1964) has been named Professor by Special Appointment of Functional Biodiversity at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of its Faculty of Science (FNWI). The chair was designated on behalf of the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre.

Koos Biesmeijer conducts research at the interface between biological diversity, the effective performance of ecosystems and the provision of ecosystem services. It is common knowledge that many species are threatened with extinction, especially due to human activity such as intensive land-use and the extraction of raw materials and natural resources.  It is also becoming increasingly obvious that our existence is closely intertwined with the level of biodiversity on our planet and the ecosystem services provided by this biodiversity.  However, we still have a great deal to learn about the way in which biodiversity provides these services and the most optimal way of utilising them.

Amongst other aspects, Biesmeijer studies how pollinators (both honey bees and wild pollinators) contribute to the production of fruit and vegetables. He also studies pest-control methods based on the use of natural enemies and assesses how our agriculture systems can more effectively combine crop production and biodiversity. Knowledge of the effective performance of natural ecosystems is crucial when creating sustainable systems with the capacity to supply multiple ecosystem services.  This field of research involves collaboration between both experimental, ecological studies and computing science and model studies, often in the context of broad alliances.

Biesmeijer serves as scientific director of the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in Leiden. He previously held positions at Utrecht University (where he also obtained his doctorate), Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Leeds University in the United Kingdom and the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. He has published in periodicals such as Science, TREEProceedings of the Royal Society, and has contributed to documents such as the ‘UK National Ecosystem Assessment’.

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