Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

dr. M.C. (Carina) Hoorn

Associate Professor
  • Faculty of Science
    Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Visiting address
    Science Park A
    Science Park 904  
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  94240
    1090 GE  Amsterdam

PIFI award at Xinjiang Institute for Ecology and Geography (Urumqi, China)

My long-term research interest is the natural history of the Amazon region and its seaward extension, the Amazon Fan. In my research I have mostly focused on western Amazonia (Colombia, Peru, Brazil) and my most substantial scientific contributions were to identify the crucial role of Andean uplift on the evolution of Amazonia during the Cenozoic and to recognize the Neogene marine incursions into this region. 

In recent years my work has concentrated on interdisciplinary cooperation and data integration. This is best exemplified in a Science paper (Hoorn et al., 2010), where the links between biodiversity patterns and mountain uplift are explained in the context of the Andes-Amazonian system. More recently my work focussed on the interaction between mountain building, climate and biodiversity at large (Antonelli et al., 2018). Other examples of multidisciplinary, collaborative work are Amazonia, Landscape and Species Evolution (2010) and Mountains, Climate and Biodiversity (2018), both books are published by Wiley-Blackwell.

Between 2011 and 2015 I coordinated a research project in the framework of Climamazon, a European - Brazilian collaboration that investigated Amazon drainage basin. In this project we studied the onset and development of the Amazon River (see Hoorn et al., 2017) and the effects on primary productivity at sea (Lammertsma et al., 2018). Other research that I am involved in is centered on the integration of palynological and geological data with molecular phylogenies (e.g. Woutersen et al., 2018). 

Currently I participate as senior scientist in the ERC funded project entitled MAGIC with focus on the origin of the Asian monsoons. The collaboration with Asian colleagues took further shape during my Presidents International Fellowship Initiative with the Chinese Academy of Sciences at the Xinjiang Institute for Ecology and Geography in Urumqi.

The Tianshan Mountains (photo C.Hoorn)

I am geologist/paleoecologist and associate professor at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) of the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). In 1988 and 1994 respectively I obtained my MSc and PhD at this university, and in 2003 obtained an MSc degree in Science Communication at Imperial College London (UK). 

Currently I am Associate Editor for the Journal of Biogeography and coordinator for the special issue on Alexander von Humboldt. Furthermore, I am board member of the Treub Foundationand also of the Palynological Society of the Netherlands.

In 2018 I was visiting scientist at Xinjiang Institute for Ecology and Geography (Urumqi, China) through a fellowship of the the Chinese Academy of Sciences - International Fellowship Initiative (PIFI), and working on the topic “Changes in arid Central Asian flora across time and possible origins of typical taxa along the Paratethys Sea (including Nitraria, Caragana, Atraphaxis, Gymnocarpos, selected Chenopodiaceae). 

I am also collaborating scientist in the ERC funded research project entitled Monsoons of Asia caused Greenhouse to Icehouse Cooling (MAGIC) and participate in the Transamazon drilling project. The latter was awarded 1.5 million euros by the International Continental Drilling Project and drilling is projected to start in 2019. 


  • Licht, A., Dupont-Nivet, G., Win, Z., Swe, H. H., Kaythi, M., Roperch, P., ... Sein, K. (2018). Paleogene evolution of the Burmese forearc basin and implications for the history of India-Asia convergence. Geological Society of America bulletin. DOI: 10.1130/B35002.1 
  • Antonelli, A., Ariza, M., Albert, J., Andermann, T., Azevedo, J., Bacon, C., ... Edwards, S. V. (2018). Conceptual and empirical advances in Neotropical biodiversity research. PeerJ, 6. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5644 
  • Lammertsma, E. I., Troelstra, S. R., Flores, J. -A., Sangiorgi, F., Chemale, F. . J., do Carmo, D. A., & Hoorn, C. (2018). Primary productivity in the western tropical Atlantic follows Neogene Amazon River evolution. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 506, 12-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.05.048 
  • Antonelli, A., Kissling, W. D., Flantua, S. G. A., Bermúdez, M. A., Mulch, A., Muellner-Riehl, A. N., ... Hoorn, C. (2018). Geological and climatic influences on mountain biodiversity. Nature Geoscience, 11(10), 718–725. DOI: 10.1038/s41561-018-0236-z  [details] 
  • Woutersen, A., Jardine, P. E., Bogotá-Angel, R. G., Zhang, H-X., Silvestro, D., Antonelli, A., ... Hoorn, C. (2018). A novel approach to study the morphology and chemistry of pollen in a phylogenetic context, applied to the halophytic taxon Nitraria L. (Nitrariaceae). PeerJ, 6, [e5055]. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5055  [details] 
  • Bacon, C. D., Velasquez-Puentes, F. J., Hoorn, C., & Antonelli, A. (2018). Iriarteeae palms tracked the uplift of Andean Cordilleras. Journal of Biogeography, 45(7), 1653-1663. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.13350 
  • Hoorn, M. C., Perrigo, A. (Ed.), & Antonelli, A. (Ed.) (2018). Mountain, Climate and Biodiversity. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Hoorn, M. C., Perrigo, A., & Antonelli, A. (2018). Mountains, Climate and Biodiversity: An Introduction. In Mountains, Climate and Biodiversity Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Albert, J. S., Val, P., & Hoorn, C. (2018). The changing course of the Amazon River in the Neogene: center stage for Neotropical diversification. Neotropical Ichthyology, 16(3). DOI: 10.1590/1982-0224-20180033 
  • Condamine, F., Antonelli, A., Lagomarsino, L., Hoorn, M. C., & Liow, LH. (2018). Teasing Apart Mountain Uplift, Climate Change and Biotic Drivers of Species Diversification. In Mountains, Climate and Biodiversity


  • Hoorn, C., Bogotá-A, G. R., Romero-Baez, M., Lammertsma, E. I., Flantua, S. G. A., Dantas, E. L., ... Chemale Jr, F. (2017). The Amazon at sea: Onset and stages of the Amazon River from a marine record, with special reference to Neogene plant turnover in the drainage basin. Global and Planetary Change, 153, 51-65. DOI: 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.02.005  [details] 
  • Bermúdez, M. A., Hoorn, C., Bernet, M., Carillo, E., van der Beek, P. A., Garver, J. I., ... Mehrkian, K. (2017). The detrital record of late-Miocene to Pliocene surface uplift and exhumation of the Venezuelan Andes in the Maracaibo and Barinas foreland basins. Basin Research, 29(S1), 370-395. DOI: 10.1111/bre.12154  [details] 


  • Coutand, I., Barrier, L., Govin, G., Grujic, D., Hoorn, C., Dupont-Nivet, G., & Najman, Y. (2016). Late Miocene-Pleistocene evolution of India-Eurasia convergence partitioning between the Bhutan Himalaya and the Shillong Plateau: New evidences from foreland basin deposits along the Dungsam Chu section, eastern Bhutan. Tectonics, 35(12), 2963-2994. DOI: 10.1002/2016TC004258  [details] 
  • Villegas, S. S., van Soelen, E. E., Teunissen van Manen, M. L., Flantua, S. G. A., Santos, R. V., Roddaz, M., ... Hoorn, C. (2016). Amazon forest dynamics under changing abiotic conditions in the early Miocene (Colombian Amazonia). Journal of Biogeography, 43(12), 2424-2437. DOI: 10.1111/jbi.12769  [details] 
  • Bolinder, K., Norbäck Ivarsson, L., Humphreys, A. M., Ickert-Bond, S. M., Han, F., Hoorn, C., & Rydin, C. (2016). Pollen morphology of Ephedra (Gnetales) and its evolutionary implications. Grana, 55(1), 24-51. DOI: 10.1080/00173134.2015.1066424  [details] 
  • Han, F., Rydin, C., Bolinder, K., Dupont-Nivet, G., Abels, H. A., Koutsodendris, A., ... Hoorn, C. (2016). Steppe development on the Northern Tibetan Plateau inferred from Paleogene ephedroid pollen. Grana, 55(1), 71-100. DOI: 10.1080/00173134.2015.1120343  [details] 
  • Rydin, C., & Hoorn, C. (2016). The Gnetales: past and present. Grana, 55(1), 1-4. DOI: 10.1080/00173134.2015.1118530  [details] 


  • Baker, P. A., Fritz, S. C., Silva, C. G., Rigsby, C. A., Absy, M. L., Almeida, R. P., ... Willard, D. A. (2015). Trans-Amazon Drilling Project (TADP): origins and evolution of the forests, climate, and hydrology of the South American tropics. Scientific Drilling, 20, 41-49. DOI: 10.5194/sd-20-41-2015  [details] 
  • Bogotá-A, R. G., Hoorn, C., Star, W., Langelaan, R., Banks, H., Galeano, G., & Bernal, R. (2015). Pollen morphology of Sabinaria magnifica (Cryosophileae, Coryphoideae, Arecaceae). Phytotaxa, 207(1), 135-140. DOI: 10.11646/phytotaxa.207.1.9  [details] 
  • Boonstra, M., Ramos, M. I. F., Lammertsma, E. I., Antoine, P. -O., & Hoorn, C. (2015). Marine connections of Amazonia: Evidence from foraminifera and dinoflagellate cysts (early to middle Miocene, Colombia/Peru). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 417, 176-194. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.10.032  [details] 


  • Hoorn, C., Bernardes-de-Oliveira, M. E. C., Dino, R., Garcia, M. J., Antonioli, L., da Costa Casado, F., & Hooghiemstra, H. (2014). Neogene climate evolution in Amazonia and the Brazilian Northeast. In I. de Souza Carvalho, M. J. Garcia, O. Strohschoen, & C. Cunha Lana (Eds.), Paleontologia: Cenários de vida. - Volume 5: Paleoclimas (pp. 277-310). Rio de Janeiro: Editora Interciência. [details] 
  • Bosboom, R. E., Abels, H. A., Hoorn, C., van den Berg, B. C. J., Guo, Z., & Dupont-Nivet, G. (2014). Aridification in continental Asia after the Middle Eocene Climatic Optimum (MECO). Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 389, 34-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.12.014  [details] 



  • Hoorn, C., Straathof, J., Abels, H. A., Xu, Y., Utescher, T., & Dupont-Nivet, G. (2012). A late Eocene palynological record of climate change and Tibetan Plateau uplift (Xining Basin, China). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 344-345, 16-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.05.011  [details] 
  • Xu, Y., Zhang, K., Wang, G., Jiang, S., Chen, F., Xiang, S., ... Hoorn, C. (2012). Extended stratigraphy, palynology and depositional environments record the initiation of the Himalayan Gyirong Basin (Neogene China). Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 44, 77-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.jseaes.2011.04.007  [details] 
  • Ochoa, D., Hoorn, C., Jaramillo, C., Bayona, G., Parra, M., & de la Parra, F. (2012). The final phase of tropical lowland conditions in the axial zone of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia: evidence from three palynological records. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 39, 157-169. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsames.2012.04.010  [details] 


  • Hoorn, C. (2011). Rocky ground. New Scientist, 211(2822), 26. DOI: 10.1016/S0262-4079(11)61760-0 
  • Hoorn, C., Wesselingh, F. P., ter Steege, H., Bermudez, M. A., Mora, A., Sevink, J., ... Antonelli, A. (2011). Origins of biodiversity: response. Science, 331(6016), 399-400. DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6016.399  [details] 
  • Wesselingh, F. P., & Hoorn, C. (2011). Geological development of Amazon and Orinoco basins. In J. S. Albert, & R. E. Reis (Eds.), Historical biogeography of neotropical freshwater fishes (pp. 59-67). Berkely: University of California Press. [details] 


  • Hoorn, C., Roddaz, M., Dino, R., Soares, E., Uba, C., Ochoa-Lozano, D., & Mapes, R. (2010). The Amazonian Craton and its influence on past fluvial systems (Mesozoic-Cenozoic, Amazonia). In C. Hoorn, & F. P. Wesselingh (Eds.), Amazonia: landscape and species evolution: a look into the past (pp. 103-122). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781444306408.ch7  [details] 
  • Hoorn, C., Wesselingh, F. P., Hovikoski, J., & Guerrero, J. (2010). The development of the Amazonian mega-wetland (Miocene; Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia). In C. Hoorn, & F. P. Wesselingh (Eds.), Amazonia: landscape and species evolution: a look into the past (pp. 123-142). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781444306408.ch8  [details] 
  • Hoorn, C., Wesselingh, F. P., ter Steege, H., Bermudez, M. A., Mora, A., Sevink, J., ... Antonelli, A. (2010). Amazonia through time: Andean uplift, climate change, landscape evolution, and biodiversity. Science, 330(6006), 927-931. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194585  [details] 
  • Jaramillo, C., Hoorn, C., Silva, S. A. F., Leite, F., Herrera, F., Quiroz, L., ... Antonioli, L. (2010). The origin of the modern Amazon rainforest: implications of the palynological and palaeobotanical record. In C. Hoorn, & F. P. Wesselingh (Eds.), Amazonia: landscape and species evolution: a look into the past (pp. 317-334). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781444306408.ch19  [details] 
  • Wesselingh, F. P., Hoorn, C., Kroonenberg, S. B., Antonelli, A., Lundberg, J. G., Vonhof, H. B., & Hooghiemstra, H. (2010). On the origin of Amazonian landscapes and biodiversity: a synthesis. In M. Hoorn, & F. P. Wesselingh (Eds.), Amazonia: landscape and species evolution: a look into the past (pp. 421-431). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781444306408.ch26  [details] 


  • Figueiredo, J., Hoorn, C., van der Ven, P., & Soares, E. (2009). Late Miocene onset of the Amazon River and the Amazon deep-sea fan: Evidence from the Foz do Amazonas Basin. Geology, 37(7), 619-622. DOI: 10.1130/G25567A.1  [details] 


  • De Franceschi, D., Hoorn, C., Antoine, P-O., Cheema, I. U., Flynn, L. J., Lindsay, E. H., ... Welcomme, J-L. (2008). Floral data from the mid-Cenozoic of central Pakistan. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 150(1-4), 115-129. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2008.01.011  [details] 
  • Dupont-Nivet, G., Hoorn, C., & Konert, M. (2008). Tibetan uplift prior to the Eocene-Oligocene climate transition: Evidence from pollen analysis of the Xining Basin. Geology, 36(12), 987-990. DOI: 10.1130/G25063A.1  [details] 


  • Hoorn, C. (2006). Mangrove forests and marine incursions in Neogene Amazonia (Lower Apaporis River, Colombia). Palaios, 21(2), 197-209. DOI: 10.2110/palo.2005.p05-131 
  • Hoorn, C., & Vonhof, H. B. (2006). Neogene Amazonia: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, 21(1-2), 1-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsames.2005.09.002 


  • Irion, G., Räsänen, M., de Mello, N., Hoorn, C., Junk, W., Wesselingh, F. P., ... Góes, A. M. (2005). D. Rossetti, P. Mann de Toledo, A.-M. Góes, New geological framework for Western Amazonia (Brazil) and implications for biogeography and evolution, Quaternary Research 63 (2005) 78-89 (multiple letters). Quaternary Research, 64(2), 279-282. DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2005.04.003 


  • Hoorn, C. (2002). Going Dutch. New Scientist, 175(2359), 44-47.


  • Hoorn, C., Ohja, T., & Quade, J. (2000). Palynological evidence for vegetation development and climatic change in the Sub-Himalayan Zone (Neogene, Central Nepal). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 163(3-4), 133-161. DOI: 10.1016/S0031-0182(00)00149-8 


  • Hoorn, M. C. (1997). Palynology of the Pleistocene glacial/interglacial cycles of the Amazon fan (holes 940A, 944A, and 946a). In D. J. W. Piper, R. D. Flood, A. Klaus, & L. C. Peterson (Eds.), Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results (pp. 397-409). (vol. 155). College Station, TX: Ocean Drilling Program. [details] 





  • Hoorn, C., & Wesselingh, F. P. (2010). Amazonia: landscape and species evolution: a look into the past. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781444306408  [details] 
  • Hoorn, C., & Wesselingh, F. P. (2010). Introduction: Amazonia, landscape and species evolution. In C. Hoorn, & F. P. Wesselingh (Eds.), Amazonia: landscape and species evolution: a look into the past (pp. 1-6). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781444306408.ch1 , 10.1002/9781444306408.ch1  [details] 
  • Figueiredo, J., Hoorn, C., van der Ven, P., & Soares, E. (2010). Late Miocene onset of the Amazon River and the Amazon deep-sea fan: Evidence from the Foz do Amazonas Basin: Reply. Geology, 38(7), e213. DOI: 10.1130/G31057Y.1  [details] 


  • Dupont-Nivet, G., Hoorn, C., & Konert, M. (2009). Erratum: Tibetan uplift prior to the Eocene-Oligocene climate transition: Evidence from pollen analysis of the Xining Basin. Geology, 37(6), 506. DOI: 10.1130/0091-7613-37.6.506  [details] 


  • Hoorn, C., Aalto, R., Kaandorp, R. J. G., & Lovejoy, N. R. (2006). Miocene semidiurnal tidal rhythmites in Madre de Dios, Peru: Comment. Geology, 34(1). DOI: 10.1130/G22115.1 


  • Hooghiemstra, H., Ran, E. TH. H., Mommersteeg, H. J. P. M., van 't Veer, R., Wijninga, V. M., & Hoorn, M. C. (1996). History of vegetation and climate of the Sabana de Bogota during the Quaternary: the Funza cores. In Libro de Resumenes, VII Congreso Colombiano de Geologia / II Seminario sobre el Cuaternario en Colombia (pp. 112-115). Bogota: Congreso Colombiano de Geologia. [details] 


  • Hooghiemstra, H., Hoorn, M. C., Helmens, K. F., Wyninga, V. M., Ran, E. TH. H., Cleef, A. M., ... van der Hammen, T. (1994). Miocene to Pleistocene geo-ecological development of Amazonian and Andean Colombia: tectonics, basin development, migration, evolution and climatic change. In J. F. W. Herngreen (Ed.), Volume of Abstracts 4th European Palaeobotanical and Palynological Conference (pp. 39-43). Heerlen: Stichting Geologie en Paleontologie. [details] 
  • Hoorn, M. C. (1994). An environmental reconstruction of the palaeo-Amazon river system (Middle to late Miocene, N.W. Amazonia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 112, 187-238. DOI: 10.1016/0031-0182(94)90074-4  [details] 
  • Hoorn, M. C. (1994). Fluvial palaeoenvironments in the intracratonic Amazonas Basin (Early Miocene-early Middle Miocene, Colombia). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 109, 1-54. DOI: 10.1016/0031-0182(94)90117-1  [details] 


  • Hooghiemstra, H., & Hoorn, C. (2010). Dedication to Thomas van der Hammen. In C. Hoorn, & F. P. Wesselingh (Eds.), Amazonia: landscape and species evolution: a look into the past (pp. vii-viii). Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. DOI: 10.1002/9781444306408.fmatter  [details] 


  • Bogota Angel, R. G., Pinto, R., Do Carmo, D., Chemale, F., Neto, O., Soares, E., & Hoorn, M. C. (2013). Neogene plant biome evolution in the Amazon drainage basin: Evidence from marine well-2, Foz do Amazonas (Brazil). Abstract from Simposio de Geologia da Amazonia, .
  • Lammertsma, E. I., Sangiorgi, F., Chemale, F., Do Carmo, D., Pinto, R., Neto, O., ... Hoorn, M. C. (2013). The Amazon Fan as key to understand the evolution of marine life in the western Equatorial Atlantic: Preliminary results of a dinoflagellate study (Neogene, Foz do Amazonas, Brazil). Abstract from Simposio de Geologia da Amazonia, .
  • Lammertsma, E. I., Bogota Angel, R. G., Sangiorgi, F., Chemale, F., Do Carmo, D., Pinto, R., ... Hoorn, M. C. (2013). Insights on Neogene evolution of the Amazon drainage basin and algal blooms at the Brazilian Atlantic Coast. Abstract from Congresso de Paleontologia, .
  • van Soelen, E., Hoorn, M. C., Santos, R. V., Roddaz, M., Sinninge Damste, J., & Kim, J. H. (2013). Miocene environmental conditions in the Upper Amazon Basin.. Abstract from 26th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry (IMOG 2013), .

Talk / presentation

  • Hoorn, M. C. (speaker) (29-10-2013). The evolution of the mighty Amazon River and the debate about its onset., Invited Seminar, Freie Universitat Berlin.
  • Hoorn, M. C. (speaker) (24-9-2013). Evolution of the Amazon drainage basin and implications for life on land and at sea., Invited Seminar, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Belem, Brazil.
  • Hoorn, M. C. (speaker) (12-7-2013). Neogene palynology of the Neotropics, AASP International Pollen & Spores course, Utrecht University.
  • Hoorn, M. C. (speaker) (28-3-2013). CLIMAMAZON and the research on evolution of the Amazon drainage basin and climate history, Invited seminar for MSc students of Mestrado de Analise Geoambiental, Guarulhos, Brazil.
  • Hoorn, M. C. (speaker) (19-9-1994). An environmental reconstruction of the paleo-Amazon river system (Middle to Late Miocene, N.W. Amazonia, European Conference of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Heerlen.


  • Hoorn, M. C. (1994). Miocene palynostratigraphy and palaeo-environments of northwestern Amazonia: Evidence for marine incursions and the influence of Andean tectonics [details] 
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