dr. JP (Peter) van der Sleen

dr. JP (Peter) van der Sleen

Lecturer / Researcher, Researcher/lecturer

My research activities have included studies in tropical, temperate and arctic regions, and involved trees and fishes. Across these biomes and organisms, my focus has been on the relationships between environmental conditions and the vital rates of an organism, such as growth and recruitment. One of the main questions that intrigues me, is how the environmental sensitivity of such vital rates drive temporal change in populations.

The importance of research on temporal variability in the abundance of plants and animals is ever mounting. Human activities, such as harvesting and habitat destruction, as well as climate change, currently impose major challenges on populations and communities. Yet our understanding of how climatic variability and changed habitat conditions translate into altered patterns of abundance is often very basic. Furthermore, disentangling the effects of human activity from demographic and environmental stochasticity as drivers of change in populations continues to present a major challenge. The goal of my research is to understand the drivers of temporal fluctuations in plant and animal abundance, to the level it can be used to predict the responses of species to global change.

A particular (geographical) area of focus are Amazonian floodplains, which are amongst the most biologically diverse habitats on earth and that provide ecosystem services on which millions of people depend. Yet, floodplain ecosystems in the Amazon basin face a multitude of threats, including increasing land-use intensity, ongoing climate change, and the continued development of hydropower production. I hope my work will contribute to the design conservation efforts and landscape management that supports both human wellbeing and biodiversity.



Field Guide to the Fishes of the Amazon, Orinoco, and Guianas