Profile of the advisor

Prof. dr. Han Olff is a recognized international expert on the structure and functioning of diverse communities and ecosystems, with special attention on how plants, herbivores, predators and decomposers interact in ecosystems. He combines leading experimental research activities in a range of temperate to tropical ecosystems, with a strong interest in the advancement of a various types new ecological theory. This work is not only of fundamental importance, but also highly relevant for local, regional and global nature protection and restoration plans.


Ecology, biodiversity, nature conservation, sustainable landscapes, food webs, interaction networks, ecosystem engineering.

Profile of the research group

The research group aims to contribute both to fundamental insights in structure and functioning of communities and ecosystems on ecological and evolutionary time scales, and to provide insights that help in conserving the biodiversity of our planet and the sustainable management of ecosystems.

Species in ecosystems often form complex networks of different kinds of interactions, such as between predators and prey, between consumers and abiotic resources, between mutualists, between hosts and pathogens, and between organisms through modification of physical environmental conditions. We study multiple interaction types simultaneously, in order to link species traits to community structure and dynamics on both ecological and evolutionary time scales. We conduct these studies in a variety of ecosystems to achieve generalizations and oversight.