Staff

Bert Van Bocxlaer

Dr. Bert Van Bocxlaer

Research Unit Palaeontology (WE13)
Krijgslaan 281 (S8 – B 1.058)
B-9000 Ghent
Belgium
Phone: 	+32 9 264 46 05
Fax:	+32 9 264 46 08
Email:  Bert.VanBocxlaer|at|ugent.be

Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of Natural History
10th & Constitution NW
Washington, D.C., 20560-0121, USA
Phone: 	+1 202 633 1316
Fax:	+1 202 786 2832
Email:  VanBocxlaerB|at|si.edu

Professional career

Bert is studying patterns and processes of diversification at the Justus Liebig University Giessen (with Christian Albrecht; dept. Animal Ecology and Systematics) and the Natural History Museum in Berlin (with Thomas von Rintelen; Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity). He is also affiliated with the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution (with Ellen Strong and Gene Hunt; depts. Invertebrate Zoology and Paleobiology) and the Limnology group of Ghent University (with Dirk Verschuren; dept. Biology). The "evolutionary laboratory" that he is exploring is that of freshwater molluscs of the East African Rift. These molluscs are a promising evolutionary model system and the East African Rift is an ideal setting of quasi replicates that allows the study of biosphere-geosphere interactions. Bert is exploring the dynamics of organismal diversification on various timescales; his main focus includes rates of evolution, the role of trait divergence in diversification, and the comparison of patterns of morphological disparity with molecular diversity on a continent-wide scale.

Education

  • Master Degree in Zoology, Ghent University, 2004
  • Master in Advanced Studies of Marine and Lacustrine Sciences, Ghent University, 2005
  • Academic Initial Lecturer Education, Ghent University, 2008
  • PhD in Sciences: Geology, Ghent University, 2011

Other interests

  • Schistosomiasis and host-parasite co-evolution.
  • Phenotypic evolution and the relationship between morphospace occupation and phylogeny.
  • Lacustrine versus riverine evolution, driving mechanisms and differential ecological forces.
  • Historic biogeography, migration and evolution of African freshwater molluscs and the impact of paleoclimate on these.
  • Evolutionary theory and its history.
  • Projects of my friends and students.

Progressional organisations

  • 2005-2011 Belgian Palaeontological Society - Member
  • 2010-2012 Royal Belgian Zoological Society – Member
  • 2012-Present Geological Society of America - Member
  • 2011-Present Paleontological Society of Washington - Member
  • 2010-Present Palaeontological Association – Member
  • 2010-Present Unitas Malacologica – Member
  • 2009-Present American Society of Naturalists – Member
  • 2007-Present Society for the Study of Evolution – Member
  • 2007-Present Paleontological Society – Member

Varia and Prices

  • 2012 Chairman at the Speciation in Ancient Lakes 06 congress, Bogor, Indonesia 26-30 August 2012.
  • 2011 Jean-Jacques and Berthe Symoens Prize in Tropical Limnology from the Belgian Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences (for my PhD dissertation).
  • 2010 Unitas Malacologia travel grant to attend the 17th World Congress of Malacology, Phuket, Thailand, 18-24 July 2010.
  • 2010 Unitas Malacologia best oral presentation prize, 17th World Congress of Malacology, Phuket, Thailand, 18-24 July 2010 (as co-author).
  • 2008 Jessup Award of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, USA 14 March 2008.
  • 2007 Freshwater Molluscs session chair at the Unitas Malacologica 16th World Congress of Malacology, Antwerp, 15-20 July 2007.
  • 2007 Geology and Soil Science poster prize at the PhD-symposium of the faculty of sciences of Ghent University, Ghent, 24 April 2007.

Publications

  • Salzburger, W.*, Van Bocxlaer, B.* & Cohen, A. S. In Press. The ecology and evolution of the African Great Lakes and their fauna. Annual Reviews in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. (* = equal contributors)
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Albrecht, C. & Stauffer, J. R. Jr. 2014. Growing population and ecosystem change increase human schistosomiasis around Lake Malawi. Trends in Parasitology 30: 217-220.
  • Schultheiß, R., Van Bocxlaer, B., Riedel, F., Rintelen, T. von & Albrecht, C. In Press. Disjunct distributions of freshwater snails testify to a central role of the Congo system in shaping biogeographic patterns in Africa. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14: 42 doi:10.1186/1471-2148-14-42.
  • Cohen, A. S., Van Bocxlaer, B., Todd, J. A., McGlue, M., Michel, E., Nkotagu, H. H., Grove, A. T. & Delvaux, D. 2013. Quaternary ostracodes and molluscs from the Rukwa Basin (Tanzania) and their evolutionary and paleobiogeographic implications. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 392: 79-97.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Hunt, G. 2013. Morphological stasis in an ongoing radiation from Lake Malawi. Proceedings of the National Academy of Natural Sciences of the United States of America. Early edition. 110: 13892-13897. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1308588110.
  • Gurdebeke, P. R. & Van Bocxlaer, B. 2013. Conchological differentiation in an ongoing radiation of Lanistes gastropods from ancient Lake Malawi: How adaptive is shell morphology? Geologica Belgica 16: 118-119.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Salenbien, W., Praet, N. & Verniers, J. 2012. Stratigraphy and paleoenvironments of the early to middle Holocene Chipalamawamba Beds (Malawi, Africa). Biogeosciences 9: 4497-4512.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Schultheiß, R., Plisnier, P.-D. & Albrecht, C. 2012. Does the decline of gastropods in deep water herald ecosystem change in Lakes Malawi and Tanganyika? Freshwater Biology 57: 1733-1744. (cover article of the August 2012 issue)
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2011. Palaeobiology and evolution of the Late Cenozoic freshwater molluscs of the Turkana Basin: Unionidae Rafinesque, 1820, partim Coelatura (Bivalvia: Unionoidea). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 9: 523-550.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Verschuren, D., Schettler, G. & Kroepelin, S. 2011. Modern and early Holocene mollusc fauna of the Ounianga lakes (northern Chad): implications for the palaeohydrology of the central Sahara. Journal of Quaternary Science 26 (4), 433-447.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Schultheiß, R. 2010. Comparison of various morphometric techniques for shapes with few homologous landmarks based on machine-learning approaches to biological discrimination. Paleobiology. 36 (3), 497-515.
  • Schultheiß, R., Van Bocxlaer, B., Wilke, T. & Albrecht, C. 2009. Old fossils-young species: evolutionary history of an endemic gastropod assemblage in Lake Malawi. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 276: 2837-2846. Doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.0467
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Van Damme, D. 2009. Palaeobiology and evolution of the Late Cenozoic freshwater molluscs of the Turkana Basin: Iridinidae Swainson, 1840 and Etheriidae Deshayes, 1830 (Bivalvia: Etheroidea). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 7 (2), 129-161. Doi: 10.1017/S1477201908002587
  • Van Damme, D. & Van Bocxlaer, B. 2009. Freshwater molluscs of the Nile Basin, past and present. Pp 585-630 in: Dumont, H. J. (Ed.) The Nile: Origin, environment, limnology and human use. Monographiae Biologicae. Springer Verlag, Dordrecht.
  • Eggermont, H., Verschuren, D., Fagot, M., Rumes, B., Van Bocxlaer, B. & Kroepelin, S. 2008. Aquatic community response in a groundwater-fed desert oasis to Holocene desiccation of the Sahara. Quaternary Science Reviews. 27, 2411-2425. Doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.08.028
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Van Damme, D. & Feibel, C. S. 2008. Gradual versus punctuated equilibrium evolution in the Turkana Basin molluscs: Evolutionary events or Biological Invasions? Evolution. 62 (3), 511-520. (cover article of the March 2008 issue)
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2005. Changes in the malacofauna of Lake Malawi since mid-Holocene times. Geologica Belgica 8 (3), 124.

As fellow worker of the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) I was jointly responsible for the scientific correctness of: Becuwe, M., Lingier, P., Deman, R., De Putter G., Devos, K., Rappé, G. & Sys, P. (2006). Ecologische atlas van de Paarse Strandloper en de Steenloper aan de Vlaamse kust 1947-2005. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ), Oostende, 2006; VLIZ special publication 33, 183 pp.

Abstracts

  • Rasser, M. W., C. Albrecht, M. Harzhauser, T. Neubauer, R. Schoch, and B. Van Bocxlaer. 2013. The puctuated equilibrium theory: evidence from gastropods reviewed. Abstract for oral presentation: World Congress of Malacology. Azores, 21-28 July, 2013. Açoreana, supplement 8: 93-94.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., G. Hunt, and E. Strong. 2013 Documentation of morphological stasis in an ongoing radiation of viviparid gastropods from Lake Malawi, Africa. Abstract for oral presentation: The Geobiology Symposium. Washington D.C., 22 February, 2013.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., G. Hunt, and E. Strong. 2012. Morphological stasis in an on-going radiation of Bellamya gastropods from ancient Lake Malawi. Abstract for oral presentation: 2012 GSA Annual Meeting. Charlotte, 4-7 November, 2012.
  • Schultheiß, R., B. Van Bocxlaer, C. Albrecht, M. Schrader, and T. Wilke. 2012. Adaptive and non-adaptive components of diversification in an endemic gastropod group in Lake Malawi. Abstract for oral presentation: 6th Speciation In Ancient Lakes congress. Bogor, 26-30 August, 2012.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., P. Gurdebeke, and R. Schultheiß. 2012. Adaptive morphological divergence in an ongoing radiation of Lanistes gastropods from Lake Malawi. Abstract for oral presentation: 6th Speciation In Ancient Lakes congress. Bogor, 26-30 August, 2012.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2010. Holocene morphospace expansion of Bellamya gastropods from Lake Malawi as potential evidence for punctuated morphological change. Abstract for oral presentation: Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting. Ghent, 17-20 December, 2010.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2010. Evolutionary rates of morphological change for a Holocene morphospace expansion in Bellamya gastropods from Lake Malawi. Abstract for oral presentation: 17th Benelux Congress of Zoology. Ghent, 22-23 October, 2010.
  • Rasser, M. W., Albrecht, C., Harzhauser, M., Schoch, R. & Van Bocxlaer, B. 2010. Punctuated Equilibrium reviewed: the gastropods point of view. Abstract for oral presentation: World Congress of Malacology. Phuket, 18-24 July, 2010. Tropical Natural History 10 (supp. 3), 167.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2010. Documentation of Punctuated Equilibrium punctuations in the morphology of Bellamya gastropods from Lake Malawi via quantitative genetic models. Abstract for oral presentation: World Congress of Malacology. Phuket, 18-24 July, 2010. Tropical Natural History 10 (supp. 3), 168.
  • Schultheiß, R., Van Bocxlaer, B., Wilke, T. & Albrecht, C. 2010. Gastropod evolution in Lake Malawi (Africa): lessons from endemic Bellamya and Lanistes species. Abstract for oral presentation: World Congress of Malacology. Phuket, 18-24 July, 2010. Tropical Natural History 10 (supp. 3), 170.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2010. Documentation of evolutionary punctuations in the morphology of Bellamya gastropods from Lake Malawi utilising quantitative genetic models. Abstract for oral presentation: BELQUA 2010 Annual Scientific Workshop. Brussels, 2 March, 2010.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Van Damme, D. 2009. Illuminating the black box of punctuated equilibrium evolution: evolutionary punctuations in Bellamya gastropods from Lake Malawi. Abstract for oral presentation: Miscellanea Paleontologica. Liège, 4 December, 2009.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Schultheiß, R. & Van Damme, D. 2009. Holocene morphospace expansion of Bellamya gastropods from Lake Malawi as potential evidence for punctuated morphological change. Abstract for oral presentation: Speciation in Ancient Lakes 05. Ohrid, 7-11 September, 2009.
  • Schultheiß, R., Van Bocxlaer, B., Wilke, T. & Albrecht, C. 2009. Concordant patterns of gastropod evolution in Lake Malawi. Abstract for oral presentation: Speciation in Ancient Lakes 05. Ohrid, 7-11 September, 2009.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Schultheiß, R. 2009. Performance of various morphometric techniques for shapes with few homologous landmarks based on machine-learning approaches to discrimination. Abstract for oral presentation: 6th national conference on morphometry and shape evolution. Montpellier, 26-28 May, 2009.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Schultheiβ, R. 2009. Comparison of morphometric techniques for shapes with few homologous landmarks based on machine-learning approaches to biological discrimination. Abstract for Poster: Doctoraatssymposium of the Faculty of Sciences of Ghent University: Ghent, 28 April, 2009.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Schultheiβ, R. 2008. Comparison of morphometric techniques for shapes with few homologous landmarks and their effect on the morphological complexity bias. Abstract for Poster: Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting 2008. Glasgow, 18-21 December, 2008.
  • Schultheiß, R., Van Bocxlaer, B., Wilke, T. & Albrecht, C. 2008. Patterns of morphometrical and molecular diversification in an endemic gastropod radiation. Abstract for oral presentation: 14th European meeting of PhD students in Evolutionary Biology, EMPSEB. Einsiedeln, 8-13 September, 2008.
  • Van Damme, D. & Van Bocxlaer, B. 2007. Geological dates and molecular rates: the invasion of Biomphalaria (Gastropoda: Planorbidae) in Africa and the evolution of the human blood-fluke Schistosoma mansoni (Trematoda: Schistosomatidae) from a palaeontological viewpoint. Abstract for poster: Gents Afrika Platform: 1th annual meeting Heritage and/as reproduction in Africa – Outcomes and Limits: Gent, 18 December, 2007.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Van Damme, D. & Feibel, C. S. 2007. The Turkana mollusks reconsidered: punctuational evolutionary events or biological invasions? Abstract for oral presentation: Unitas Malacologica 16th World Congress of Malacology: Antwerp, 15-20 July, 2007.
  • Van Damme, D. & Van Bocxlaer, B. 2007. On the invasion of Biomphalaria (Gastropoda: Planorbidae) in Africa and the evolution of the human bloodfluke Schistosoma mansoni: the palaeontological evidence. Abstract for poster: Unitas Malacologica 16th World Congress of Malacology: Antwerp, 15-20 July, 2007.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Van Damme, D. & Feibel, C. S. 2007. The Cenozoic freshwater molluscs of the Turkana basin as prime example of punctuated equilibrium evolution: a re-assessment. Abstract for poster: Doctoraatssymposium of the faculty of sciences of Ghent University: Ghent, 24 April, 2007.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., Van Damme, D. & Feibel, C. S. 2007. The Cenozoic freshwater molluscs of the Turkana basin as prime example of punctuated equilibrium evolution: a re-assessment. Abstract for poster: Progressive Palaeontology: Bristol, 13-14 April, 2007.
  • Verschuren, D., Cocquyt, C., Eggermont, H., Fagot, M., Van Bocxlaer, B., Conley, D., Schettler, G. & Kroepelin, S. 2006. Aquatic community response to salinity increase in a groundwater-fed lake system during late-Holocene desiccation of the central Sahara desert. Abstract for poster: 10th International Paleolimnology Symposium: Minnesota, 25-29 June, 2006.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Van Damme, D. 2005. The Malacofauna of Lake Malawi since mid-Holocene times. Abstract for poster: International Conference – Africa’s Great Rift: Diversity and Unity: Brussels, 29-30 September, 2005.

Invited lectures without abstract

  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2014. Patterns and processes of diversification in the late Cenozoic freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Uppsala University, 18 March, 2014.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2014. Patterns and processes of diversification in the late Cenozoic freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 13 February, 2014.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2014. Diversification of freshwater gastropods in Darwin's Dreamponds. Museum d'Histoire naturelle de la Ville de Genève, 14 January, 2014.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2013. Diversification in Darwin's Dreamponds: Paleobiology and evolution of the freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Instituto de ciencias naturales – Jueves de la Biodiversidad; Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 5 December, 2013.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2013. Evolution of the freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Université Montpellier 2, 5 November, 2013.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2013. Paleobiology and evolution of the late Cenozoic freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Special lecture in Integrative Biology; Université Lille 1 – Sciences et Technologies; Lille, 10 September, 2013.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2013. Paleobiology and evolution of the late Cenozoic freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Special lecture in Invertebrate Paleontology; American Museum of Natural History, New York, 8 May, 2013.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2013. Paleobiology and evolution of the late Cenozoic freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Departmental lecture in Invertebrate Zoology; National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1 May, 2013.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2013. Paleobiology and evolution of the late Cenozoic freshwater mollusks of the East African Rift. Ad Hoc lecture in Paleobiology; National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 23 April, 2013.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2012. Palaeobiology and evolution of the late Cenozoic freshwater molluscs of the East African Rift. Macroevolution Seminar and Master student lecture; University of Copenhagen, Department of Biology, Section Ecology and Evolution, Copenhagen, 12 October, 2012.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2012. Patterns of diversification in a young gastropod species flock in Lake Malawi. Combined Wallacea and Geological Research Seminars, 28 June, 2012.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2011. Paleobiologie en evolutie van de Laat-Cenozoïsche zoetwaterweekdieren van de Oost-Afrikaanse Rift. [In Dutch] Nautilus Ghent, 8 September, 2011.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2011. Paleobiology and evolution of the late Cenozoic freshwater molluscs of the East African Rift. Ghent University, Ghent, 18 February, 2011.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2010. Paleobiology and evolution of the freshwater malacofauna of the East African Rift System. Katholic University of Louvain, Louvain, 25 June, 2010.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2009. Paleobiology and evolution of the Neogene malacofauna of the East African Rift System (Malawi, Turkana and Albertine Basin). University of Kisangani, Kisangani, 09 July, 2009.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2009. Speciatie in het fossiel archief: evidentie van Afrikaanse zoetwatermollusken. [In Dutch] Belgian Paleontological Society, Antwerp, 5 Maart, 2009.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. & Schultheiß, R. 2008. Morphometric techniques for shapes with few homologous landmarks and their effect on the morphological complexity bias. Journée des doctorants, Lille, 5 December, 2008.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2008. Paleobiology and evolution of the Neogene malacofauna of the East African Rift System (Malawi, Turkana and Albertine Basin). Jessup Award lecture, Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, 14 November, 2008.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2008. Graduele of onderbroken evenwichten evolutie: de Turkana weekdieren herbekeken. [In Dutch] Evolutietheorie.be lecture, Ghent, 7 July, 2008.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2007. Biogeography course lecture: the impact of historical biogeography to the interpretation of evolutionary pattern in the fossil record. Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen, Giessen, 11 December, 2007.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2007. Are the Turkana Basin molluscs prima facie evidence for Punctuated Equilibrium Evolution? Journée des doctorants, Ghent, 5 December, 2007.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2006. The freshwater molluscs of Lake Malawi: Morphological changes since the Mid-Holocene. Justus-Liebig Universität Giessen, Giessen, 8 May, 2006.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2006. Palaeobiology of the Neogene malacofauna of the East African Rift System (Malawi, Turkana and Albertine Basin) - Project outlines. Journée des doctorants, Liège, 11 December, 2006.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2006. Project outlines using the Prosobranchia as example. Turkana Mollusc Workshop: Amsterdam, 16-17 February 2006.