My research interest are (riparian) plant community composition and decomposition, for which I use the tea bag index.
I have a general interest in factors that drive community assembly with a specific interest in riparian ecology, plant-soil interactions and restoration.
As riparian zones provide crucial services to the water bodies they border, it is important to understand the processes that maintain and structure them. Especially how past events and the timing of events affect current day processes fascinates me. For instance, the order of arrival of species can drive the vegetation composition in a certain direction, and past events can have long lasting effects as the rate of vegetation change is very slow.
Second, I investigate global patterns of decomposition, which is an important process in the carbon cycle. With an international team I developed an elegant, simple and cheap method to determine decomposition rates. Within the Teatime4science project we want to collect data with help of citizen scientists and researchers from all over the world, and create a global map. Learn more about this project here or follow it on facebook or twitter.
In my research, I've always combined both fundamental and applied questions. Therefore, I was a member of the Dutch advisory board for fen management and the Centre for Wetland Ecology (collaboration between Dutch and Flemish scientists working on wetland ecology). I also work at Utrecht university until the end of 2018.