prof. dr. ir. C. (Chris) Smit

Associate Professor in Experimental Conservation Ecology

prof. dr. ir. C. (Chris) Smit


Research units:

Research interests


I work on species interactions and consequences for the dynamics, biodiversity and spatial organization of natural communities. I typically use large-scale field studies in ecosystems where (large) herbivores play an important role (including temperate savannas, wood pastures, semi-arid steppes, temperate lowland forests, salt marshes, and riverine floodplains). I am much interested in facilitation, i.e. positive interactions between species, and how these interactions are shaped by the interplay of various (a)biotic factors. Furthermore, I work on ecology of fear, i.e. how large predators (and human activities) affect herbivore behaviour, with potential cascading impacts on the ecosystem. I aim to contribute to the advancement of fundamental ecological concepts with relevance for conservation (e.g. rewilding). 


Group members

 PhD students:

- Annelies van Ginkel (2014-present), jointly supervised by Dries Kuijper, Mammal Research Institute, Poland

- Qingqing Chen (2015-present), jointly supervised by Han Olff 

- Edisa Garcia-Hernandez (2016-present), jointly supervised by Joana Salles and Matty Berg

- Rik Veldhuis (2017-present), jointly supervised by Fons Smolders and Kris Verheyen

- Megan Korte (2017 - present), jointly supervised by Rampal Etienne and Louis van de Zande

- Bjorn Mols (2017 - present), jointly supervised by Dries Kuijper (MRI, Poland) and Joris Cromsigt (SLU, Umea, Sweden)

- Lisa Sanchez (2019 - present), joinlty supervised by Dries Kuijper (MRI, Poland)


Former members:

Mathias Dillen (PhD student 2013-2017)

Georgette Lagendijk (postdoc 2015-2017)

- Mart Verwijmeren (PhD student 2010-2016)

- Ruth Howison (PhD student, 2010-2015)

- Jasper Ruifrok (PhD student, 2010-2014)

- Roel van Klink (Postdoc, 2014)

- Steffi Nolte (Postdoc, 2013)


MSc students:

- Koen Brouwer (2017)

- Jelle Wichers (2017)

- Maarten Doornbos (2016)

- Puck Oomen (2016)

- Sanne Moedt (2016)

- Erik van Haeringen (2016)

- Marjanne Havinga (2016)

- Wypkelien van Gasteren (2015)

- Jildou Schotanus (2015)

- Martijn van der Ende (2015)

- Moniek Gommers (2015)

- Mark Eerkens (2015)

- Kasper Eising (2014)

- Aron te Winkel (2014)

- Kaylee van Dijk (2014)

- Nieck Kromkamp (2014)  

- Jurjen Maris (2013)

- Rutger Steever (2013)

- Myra Boers (2012)

- Marycha Franken (2012)

- Marinka van Puijenbroek (2012)

- Annelies van Ginkel (2012)

- Rogier van de Blaak (2012)

- Tjitse op de Hoek (2012)

- Hidde Zemel (2011)

- Else Langbroek (2011)

- Judith Westveer (2011)

- Liesbeth Versteegde (2010)

  1. Rewilding with large herbivores: Positive direct and delayed effects of carrion on plant and arthropod communities

    van Klink, R., van Laar-Wiersma, J., Vorst, O. & Smit, C., 2020, In : PLoS ONE. 15, 1, p. e0226946

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  2. Behavioral response of naïve and non-naïve deer to wolf urine

    van Ginkel, H. A. L., Smit, C. & Kuijper, D. P. J., 27-Nov-2019, In : PLoS ONE. 14, 11, e0223248.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  3. How does neighbourhood tree species composition affect growth characteristics of oak saplings?

    Dillen, M., Smit, C. & Verheyen, K., 1-Oct-2017, In : Forest ecology and management. 401, p. 177-186 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  4. Combined grazing and drought stress alter the outcome of nurse:beneficiary interactions in a semi-arid ecosystem

    Verwijmeren, M., Smit, C., Bautista, S., Wassen, M. J. & Rietkerk, M., Sep-2019, In : Ecosystems. 22, 6, p. 1295-1307 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  5. Small herbivores slow down species loss up to 22 years but only at early successional stage

    Chen, Q., Howison, R. A., Bakker, J. P., Alberti, J., Kuijper, D. P. J., Olff, H. & Smit, C., 26-Jul-2019, In : Journal of Ecology. 107, p. 2688-2696 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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  1. Replication Data for: Behavioral response of naïve and non-naïve deer to wolf urine

    Ginkel, van, A. (Creator), Smit, C. (Creator), Kuijper, D. P. J. (Creator), University of Groningen, 20-Sep-2019


  2. Data from: Phytophagous insects on native and non-native host plants: Combining the community approach and the biogeographical approach

    Meijer, K. (Creator), Zemel, H. (Creator), Chiba, S. (Creator), Smit, C. (Creator), Beukeboom, L. (Creator), Schilthuizen, M. (Creator), University of Groningen, 9-Jun-2015


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  1. The Collective Landscape

    Han Olff (Advisor), Theunis Piersma (Advisor), Raymond Klaassen (Advisor), Selin Ersoy (Advisor), Henk Folmer (Advisor), Allert Bijleveld (Advisor), Roeland Bom (Advisor), Christian Smit (Advisor), Yvonne Kahlert (Advisor), Laura Govers (Advisor)

    Activity: ConsultancyOutreachPopular

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Press / Media
  1. Even after death, animals are important in ecosystems

    Christian Smit & Roel van Klink


    2 items of Media coverage

    Press/Media: ResearchAcademic

  2. Vijf vragen over eendenkroos

    Christian Smit


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert CommentPopular

  3. Wat te doen als je oog in oog staat met een wolf

    Christian Smit


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: ResearchPopular

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