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Systematics and Biodiversity


Admission requirements


  • BSc-course Biodiversity, theory and practice of systematics or equivalent knowledge of phylogenetic reconstruction.

  • MSc-course Advanced Statistics.


Coordinator: Dr. J.A. Miller and Dr. R.A. Vos



The main aim of this course is to introduce a number of approaches, methods and issues that are relevant to biological taxonomy and biodiversity in the wide sense, including actual and historical analyses of biodiversity and evolution. The following topics will be introduced and practiced:

  • Taxonomy as an information storage and – retrieval system in the age of Internet.

  • Phylogenetic analysis: concepts and applications.

  • Analysis of geographic structure and gene flow in and between populations.

  • Analysis of historic and stratigraphic patterns and the timing and geographic context of reconstructed phylogenies.

  • Data analysis and management applied to (spatial) biodiversity data.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
To provide a theoretical basis and some practical experience for the a successful MSc research project at Naturalis: good understanding of concepts of time and space; of collection data, data basing and data mining; of the practice of phylogeny reconstruction; environmental DNA; of geographic data and species distributions; and of the integration of paleontological and recent data.

Final qualifications:
Theoretical understanding of, and hands-on experience with, current methods for storage and retrieval of taxonomic information, with phylogeny reconstruction, ancestral state reconstruction and dating techniques, geographic analysis and ecological niche modeling.


From 29 November 2021 to 23 December 2021. Details will be provided in due time on Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, computer exercises, literature study, demonstrations.

Assessment method

Written reports, oral presentation, and examination.

The final grade consists of the following partial grades:

  • Exam, 50%, passing grade required

  • Written report, 20%, passing grade required

  • Oral presentation, 20%, passing grade required

  • Participation, 10%, passing grade required

Inspection and feedback on the examination

The examination will be available for inspection in January 2022 by appointment and up to the deadline for submitting grades to the department.


All information of lectures and papers will be available on Brightspace.

Reading list

Relevant literature will be made available on Brightspace.



Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for more information on how to apply.