Evolutionary & Population Biology (IBED-EPB)
The department of Evolutionary and Population Biology (EPB) is newly formed from three chair groups: Population Biology; Evolutionary Biology and part of Experimental Plant Systematics. Our research is on experimental and applied ecology and evolution, and focuses on understanding the fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes and mechanisms that link individuals, populations and communities of microorganisms, plants, and animals, and that ultimately drive community dynamics and speciation and determine biodiversity patterns.
We aim to understand ecological and evolutionary processes that determine persistence of populations, species and ecosystems. This knowledge is paramount for predicting the consequences of human impact on nature. In doing so, we combine fundamental and applied research on ecosystem services and natural ecosystems, dynamics and evolution of endangered and invasive species, evolution in the face of climate change, and sustainable crop protection. Our research also addresses several key questions of the Dutch Research Agenda (2015): “How do new species arise”, “How do ecosystems function”, “How to make agricultural production systems sustainable (with one of the 3 sub questions: How can we optimize biological control, thus reducing the use of pesticides?)”, and EPB staff is part of the development and implementation of research in the theme “Origin of life”, in particular ‘Predicting evolution’.
We aim to contribute to a sustainable future and we therefore encourage students to study the fundamental ecological and evolutionary processes that underpin the development of sustainable agriculture, the evolution of resistance, nature conservation and ecological risk assessments. We see a strong link between research and teaching in the Bachelor's and Master's phases as a cornerstone of an academic education. Both during courses and internships, students are exposed to and participate in ongoing research. Our department coordinates the master programmes in Ecology and Evolution and General Biology, and the BSc minor programmes Ecology and Evolution, Ecology and Global Change, and Evolutionary Psychobiology.