Wageningen University has appointed Dr David Kleijn as Professor of Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation. The appointment takes effect on 1 July. He succeeds Professor Frank Berendse, who is retiring next spring. Dr Liesje Mommer has been appointed to a Personal Professorship at the Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation Group, also with effect from 1 July. The chair group is working on the development of strategies to preserve and enhance biodiversity, the functioning of natural ecosystems and associated ecosystem services.
Dr David Kleijn (Oostzaan, 1968) studied Plant Breeding at Wageningen University, where he received his PhD in 1997 for his study into the composition of field-edge vegetation and the impact of management on this vegetation. After receiving his PhD, Dr Kleijn worked as a researcher at Wageningen University, Radboud University Nijmegen and the University of Fribourg in Switzerland; since 2006 he has worked at Alterra Wageningen UR. His research has focused in part on the effectiveness of agricultural nature conservation schemes. In 2012, Dr Kleijn was appointed part-time Associate Professor at the Resource Ecology Group of Wageningen University.
Simultaneously with the appointment of Dr Kleijn, the Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology Group will change its name to the Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation Group. As professor, Dr Kleijn will continue to focus on the preservation of the most vulnerable species and the impact of agriculture on natural habitats. The underlying aim of his research is to arrive at practical, sustainable solutions by understanding the underlying mechanisms.
In 2000, Dr Liesje Mommer (Heerlen, 1976) graduated cum laude in Biology from Wageningen University. She obtained her PhD at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2005 for her study on how plants adapt to flooding. After that, Dr Mommer worked for several years as a postdoc at the universities of Nijmegen and Wageningen. In 2009 she received a VENI grant, which she used to fund her research at Wageningen University for the next four years, and in 2013 she was appointed Associate Professor. Her field of expertise is plant ecology, in particular the underground interactions between plants. In May of this year, Dr Mommer received a VIDI grant to fund research on the role of underground fungi in these interactions.