Via a lecture during the course Frontiers in Biology I became familiar with the research about multitrophic interactions of range expanding plant species of the Terestrial Ecology Department of the NIOO. This topic interested me that much that I attempted to arrange an MSc-thesis project at the NIOO.
However, during my introductory meeting with Wim van der Putten, who leads the nematology-related research in the NIOO, I also heard about the research of Koen Verhoeven on epigenetics in dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). Epigenetics is one of the hot topics in ecology and I left my plans of doing research on range-expanders for a study on epigenetic and phenotypic variation in natural clonal lines of dandelion. For half a year I did a lot of diverse lab work, greenhouse experiments and diverse (statistical) analyses which lead to cool data that can probably be used for a publication later on. The NIOO is a wonderful place full of kind, enthusiastic and ambitious scientists and therefore a very nice place to do a thesis or internship, especially when you aim to do a PhD in the future. In the end also my intentions of doing research on range-expanders were satisfied as I got offered a PhD-position in a new line of research on plant-soil interactions of species that expand northward through Europe.