Since 1978 I am engaged in research on the ecology and biogeography of unicellular organisms in the polar regions, more precisely testate amoebae and diatoms.
The research deals with questions on the occurrence (where,how, why) of these organisms in the polar regions and their reaction on climate change. Together with members of my team, I discovered several new taxa which do only occur in the Arctic. When did they speciate, how were they dispersed? What was the role of the Ice Ages in this process? How will their communities react and deal with a changing Arctic, when there will be for instance more or less snow cover? Or when the vegetation cover alters and the vegetation season grows?
These questions are approached by doing field work probing at the actual biodiversity and by warming experiments, as well during summer as winter times.
From my first expedition in Greenland in 1978 on, I was gripped by the polar landscape. This ignited my passion for these regions. I try to communicate this to a broader audience via writing books on the Arctic, giving lectures and guiding in expeditions. My latest book The Future Polar Bear deals with the impact of the vanishing sea-ice on Arctic ecosystems.
Statute & functions
Bijzonder academisch personeel
- emeritus with assignment