This section will keep visitors up to date on the project. I will try to post something regularly...

September 2014: Conference and Data Arrival

The first week of September I attended a conference in Fribourg (Switzerland), entitled "Genomics of the Speciation Continuum". Two days filled with interesting talks (specifically Ole Seehausen on cichlid speciation). And I proudly presented a poster summarizing some preliminary results of my phylogenomic analyses. When I arrived back in Wageningen, I got the news my final data has arrived. I can now start the "real" analyses. Can't wait!


March 2014: Charles Darwin in Cambridge

It has been a while since I updated this section. I am very busy with the analysis of the whole genome data of several goose species and more are on the way! In the meantime I have visited a great course in Cambridge about the History and Legacy of Charles Darwin. Apart from lectures in the beautiful Madingley Hall, we also went for a stroll through the streets of Cambridge. It is here that Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA. So, without them I would not be able to do my PhD right now. The only sad part is that their accomplishment is only remembered by an old metal plate. And their lab has been turned into a bicycle shed...

November 2013: Popular Science Writing

Because I am working with geese and the Netherlands are faced with a huge "goose problem", I decided to take a course on communicating with the broad public and the media. During the course I realized that I love to write popular science. In the past, I tried to manage a blog on evolutionary stories, but because only a dozen people actually read it, I decided to stop the blog. Recently, I discovered the Dutch website And after contacting the editors of the site, I started working as a freelancer. You can find my articles on the following link:

19 - 24 August 2013: European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB)

At the end of August I attended the ESEB conference in Lisbon. Monday evening started with a relaxed bbq among all 1500 participants. I met up with my supervisor (Pim) for a nice start to this exciting week. Tuesday to Friday, there were lectures from 08.30 until 19.15, followed by a poster session with free wine. the conference ended on Saturday with a few plenary talks and the obligitary prizes and awards. Although very tiring, this was the best conference I visited so far. I caught up with some people I met in Uppsala and made some new friends. So Lisbon: obrigado!


3 June 2013: Samples to the lab!

I collected all blood samples for the first analysis. To keep it simple I included just 8 species belonging to the genus Anser. The lab of Animal Breeding and Genomics (ABG) will now take care of the DNA extraction. Next week the DNA samples are send to BGI in China for the sequencing. After a few months, I will receive huge files containing whole genome sequences of the 8 species. And then the real work can start!

3 - 7 April 2013: Conference and Lab visit in Uppsala (Sweden)

In the beginning of April I travelled to Sweden to attend a one-day conference on Genetics of Adaptation, hosted by John McKay. But since heading of to Sweden for one day is not something you can easily sell to your supervisors I combined the conference with a visit to the lab of Hans Ellegren and Jochen Wolf. And this turned out to be a splendid idea! I arranged some informal meetings with PhD-students and Postdocs working on hybridization of flycatchers or crows. So, I headed back to the Netherlands (and Belgium) with a bunch of new ideas and important insights, which will certainly increase the quality of my research. 


18 March 2013: Bloodsampling

To obtain DNA sequences you need tissue or blood from the animals. Birds still have nucleated red blood cells, which results in high quality DNA from blood samples. So, time to collect some blood samples. Together with Gerard Muskens from Alterra, I visited the bird parc Avifauna. They provided it us with 5 different species: Ross' Goose, Swan Goose, Cackling Goose, Red-breasted Goose and Magpie Goose. Afterwards, we headed back to Wageningen to sample two more species at the NIOO. They are doing experiments on Canada Goose and Pink-footed Goose, so two new species can be ticked off from the list. I hope to have collected blood from all species by the end of March. Next, DNA will be extracted and sequenced. And then I just have to wait for the data to come flowing in...


8-11 January 2013: Goose Specialist Group Meeting

The 7th of January I left for Arcachon in France for my first scientific conference during my PhD. The entire week everybody working on geese gathered to talk about their work and of course to network. I delivered a short and light-harted presentation on hybridization in geese, that was very much appreciated. After an enjoyable week I traveled back home and started working on my first "publications": one short story on gene flow and species boundaries for the Goose Bulletin and an article summarizing the occurrence of hybrid geese for Wildfowl. A nice experience, I cannot wait for the next meeting (the next goose conference is in China!).

Arcachon group picture


30 October 2012: Go-decision

After six months of hard work my research proposal, entitled "Hybridization in Geese: Maintenance of Species Boundaries despite Introgression", has been approved. Finally, the real work starts. Although reading and writing was great fun, it is time for something different. So, I started learning to programme (using Perl), which will come in handy when I have to handle large datasets. 




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