Dr Timo van der Niet

Timo van der Niet
Dr Timo van der Niet holds a PhD from University of Zurich.Throughout my career I have been driven by my fascination for the amazing diversity of form and function of flowering plants. During my PhD I discovered the richness of the Cape Floristic Region and Drakensberg Alpine flora, and ever since I have developed research projects that aim at unlocking the processes that have given rise to these remarkable and unique biodiversity hotspots. Together with students and colleagues I have published numerous papers on plant speciation and diversification, and factors governing community assembly, with the main focus on the role of pollinators in shaping these processes.
 Quote:   "I am fascinated by the amazing diversity of flowering plants, and use South African biodiversity hotspots to study the evolutionary processes such as adaptation and speciation underlying their origin."
Position:   Senior lecturer

MSc (Wageningen University and Research Center, the Netherlands), Ecology

PhD (University of Zurich, Switzerland), 

Systematic Botany Teaching qualification

Discipline:   Evolutionary Biology
Campus:   Pietermaritzburg
Telephone:   033 260 6492
Email:   vanderNiett@ukzn.ac.za
Research Areas    Evolutionary ecology, phylogenetic systematics, speciation, Orchidaceae, Cape Floristic Region, community ecology, Pollination ecology, plant speciation, biodiversity research
Recent Publications:


Bouman, R.W., Steenhuisen, S., Van der Niet, T. 2017. The role of the pollination niche in community assembly of Erica species in a biodiversity hotspot. Journal of Plant Ecology.


Ruchisansakun, S., Tangtorwongsakul, P., Cozien, R.J., Smets, E.F., Van der Niet, T. 2016. Floral specialization for different pollinators and divergent use of the same pollinator among co-occurring Impatiens species (Balsaminaceae) from Southeast Asia. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 181: 651-666.


Van der Niet, T., Peakall, R., Johnson S.D. 2014. Pollinator-driven ecological speciation in plants: new evidence and future perspectives. Annals of Botany 113: 199-211.


Van der Niet, T., Johnson, S.D. 2012. Phylogenetic evidence for pollinator-driven diversification of angiosperms. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 27: 353-361.


Van der Niet, T., Linder, H.P. 2008. Dealing with incongruence in the quest for the species tree: A case study from the orchid genus Satyrium. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 47: 154-174.

Research Profile:     Research Gate
Postgraduate Candidates:     PG Candidates

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