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About usHow to find usprof. dr. H. (Han) Olff

prof. dr. H. Olff

Professor of Community and Conservation Ecology
prof. dr. H. Olff
+31 50 36 32214 (office: +31 50 363 6133)

Han Olff

(For publications, see "Research" in the menu on the left)

Date of birth: 5 March 1962, Heerde, The Netherlands  
Nationality: Dutch


Educational history:

1982 – 1988 M. Sc., Biology (Doktoraal Nieuwe Stijl, March 1988), University of Groningen. MSc projects in evolutionary ecology at the Netherlands Institute of Ecological Research, Oostvoorne and in plant physiology/genetics at the University of Groningen
1990 (January - April) Graduate course in theoretical population ecology, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour, University of Minnesota, USA (Prof. D. Tilman)
1990 (August) Graduate course in the analysis of ecological data, Agricultural University Wageningen (Dr. C.J.F. ter Braak)
1988-1992 PhD position financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (BION-NWO) at the Laboratory for Plant Ecology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands (supervisors Prof. J. van Andel, Prof. J.P. Bakker & Prof. D. Tilman (UNM)). Thesis: On the mechanisms of vegetation succession. Graduation: September 1992 (cum laude).
1997 (Sep-Oct) Postgraduate training ‘Project management’
1998  (Oct-Nov) Postgraduate training ‘Effective Leadership’
2000 (August) Licensing course for experimental work with vertebrates (Wageningen/Utrecht University)


Professional career:

1992 - 1993

Post-doc position at the Centre for Agrobiological Research (CABO-DLO), Wageningen, The Netherlands (with Prof.F. Berendse). Theme: Modelling of vegetation succession and nutrient cycling with applications to nature restoration projects

1994 – 1998

Assistant professor at the Nature Conservation and Plant Ecology Group (lead by Prof. F. Berendse), Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University

1999 – 2000

Assistant profesor at the Tropical Nature Conservation and Vertebrate Ecology Group, Wageningen University

2000 – 2002

 Associate Professor at the Tropical Nature Conservation and Vertebrate Ecology Group, Wageningen University

2002 - Present

Full professor of Community and Conservation Ecology, University of Groningen

2011- present

Director of the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies (CEES), University of Groningen


Research and publications:



Longer research-stays abroad:  


Jan – Apr 1990 Stay as guest PhD at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, with Prof. D. Tilman
Aug - Sep 1996 Research in Tarangire and Manyara National Parks, Tanzania
Jul – Dec 1999 Stay as a visiting faculty at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Utah State University at Logan, USA, with Prof. M.E. Ritchie

Jan 1999 –

May 2001

8 visits of each 2-4 weeks to South Africa, to perform research in the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi park, South Africa and to visit the University of Cape Town (Prof. W.J. Bond and Prof. W. Stock), University of Pietermaritzburg (Prof. J. Hearne) and the University of Witwatersrand (Prof. N. Owen-Smith)
Jun – Dec 2001 Stay as a Research Associate Professor of Biology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA, with Prof. J.H. Brown and Prof. B.T. Milne
Apr - Aug 2009 Stay as a Visiting Professor at the University of British Columbia, Department of Zoology, with Prof. A.R.E. Sinclair


Other affiliations and services:

1976 – 1985

Active in many committees and boards, of the “Nederland Jeugdbond voor Natuurstudie” (NJN)

1992  - 1993

Editor of the Dutch journal for landscape ecology "Landschap".


Organiser (with V.K. Brown and R.H. Drent) of the BES /NEVECOL international conference 'Herbivores: Between plants and predators', held in Wageningen University

1993 – 1999

Secretary of the Working Group for Terrestrial Ecology of the Life sciences division of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (SLW-NWO)

1994 – 1999

Meetings secretary of the Netherlands Ecological Society (NEVECOL), main organiser of 10 different conferences and scientific meetings

1998 – 1999

Associate editor of the international journal Acta Oecologica

1998 – 1999

Chairman of the educational committee that organises the undergraduate educational program in Forestry and Nature Conservation Studies, Wageningen University

2001 – current

Coordinator for the BSc/ MSc program contributions of Tropical Nature Conservation Group, Wageningen University

2001 - current

Member of the graduate admissions committee for the Environmental Sciences programs of Wageningen University

2001 - 2003

Member of the "Serengeti Ecosystem" working group, funded by the US-NSF at the National Centre of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara, US


Co-organiser (With J.H. Brown & J.F. Gillooley) of the conference "Towards an ecology based on first principles: body size, temperature and stoichiometry" held at the Santa Fe Institute, April 2002.

2002 - 2004

Member of the selection committee for 'VENI' postdocs funded by Netherlands organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)

2007 - current Member of the board of the Netherlands Ecological Research Network (NERN)
2008-2011 Chairmain of the board of the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen
2010-2011 Member of the second International Committee for the Management of the Oostvaardersplassen (ICMO-2)
2012 Member of the KNAW committee "Visie Nieuwe Biologie"



Extensive teaching experience (lectures, labs, field courses) both at undergraduate and graduate level in the following fields: Introductory ecology, Data analysis and methodology in ecology, Population ecology, Community ecology, Landscape ecology, Systems ecology, Conservation Biology, Biocomplexity

>50 MSc projects supervised during 1992 – 2009

Advisor (promotor) of the following PhD students (with year of graduation):

1. Barend van Gemerden (2004)

2. Liesbeth Bakker (2005)

3. Nicole Hagenah (2006)

4. Joris Cromsigt (2006)

5. Bernd Freymann (2009)

6. Mariska te Beest (2010)

7. Grant Hopcraft (2010)

8. Sanne de Visser (2011)

9. Ciska Veen (2011)

10. Erustus Kanga (2011)

11. Alejandro Ordonez Gloria (2011)

12. Eelke Folmer (2012)

13. Maarten Schrama (2012)

14. Nina Bhola (2013)

15. Francesco Encinas Viso (2013)

16. Carol Garzon Lopez (2013)

Jasper Ruifrok

Cleo Gosling

Matthijs van der Geest

Jasper Ruifrok

Ruth Howison

Wimke Fokkema

Sidi Cheikh

Hacen El-Hacen 




Last modified:21 July 2013 5.04 p.m.

Contact information

Community and Conservation Ecology

Job title:
Professor of Community and Conservation Ecology
+31 50 36 32214 (office: +31 50 363 6133)