Evolution, Ecologie et Paléontologie
( Evo-Eco-Paléo )

Unité Mixte de Recherche UMR 8198

Bert Van Bocxlaer

Bert Van Bocxlaer
CNRS Junior Research Scientist (CR-CNRS)

UMR 8198 – Evolution-Ecology-Paleontology
Cité scientifique, Bât. SN5, bureau 326
F-59655 Villeneuve d’Ascq – FRANCE
Tel: +33 3 20 43 40 15
Mail: bert.van-bocxlaer|at|univ-lille.fr


Team: Paleo (50 %) and Evo-Eco (50 %)
Topics: paleobiology, evolutionary ecology

Other affiliations:

I am also a research associate at the Limnology Unit of the Department of Biology at Ghent University (Belgium) and at the Department of Invertebrate Zoology of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (DC, USA)

Other pages:


Research Interests:

I am integrative evolutionary biologist broadly interested in patterns and processes of organismal diversification, associated changes in morphological disparity, organism-environment interactions, and how diversity is structured in space and over time. What mechanisms are causing differentiation among populations, and ultimately reproductive isolation? How do speciation processes interact in space and time to result into evolutionary radiations? Do speciation mechanisms determine how prone the resulting taxa eventually are to extinction? How can we explain the remarkable differences in 'evolutionary success', often in even closely related branches of the tree of life? I am studying extant and fossil biota to address these and other questions. To do so, I integrate microevolutionary and macroevolutionary approaches, ranging from the study of genomic and morphological data from natural and experimental propulations in an environmental context, to contrasting predictions of evolutionary theory with empirical data. My main model system is the freshwater mollusks of the East African Great Lakes.



Guest lecturer in Quantitative Paleontology and Methods in Evolution.


Short CV:

2017 - present:  Junior researcher of the French National Centre for Scientific Research at UMR 8198 – Evolution-Ecology-Paleontology
2016:        Postdoctoral researcher of the Flanders Research Foundation at the Department of Biology of Ghent University
2014 - 2016:   Postdoctoral researcher of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Department of Animal Ecology and Systematics of the Justus Liebig University, Giessen and the Leibniz Institute for Research in Evolution and Biodiversity at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin (Germany)
2012 - 2014: Peter Buck Postdoctoral researcher of the Smithsonian Institution in the departments of Invertebrate Zoology and Paleobiology of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (DC, USA)
2011 - 2012: Postdoctoral researcher of the Belgian American Educational Foundation in the Department of Paleobiology of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (DC, USA)
2007 - 2011:  PhD in Sciences, Geology (Paleobiology) at the Department of Geology of Ghent University (Belgium). Title: Paleobiology and evolution of the late Cenozoic freshwater molluscs of the East African Rift


Representative publications:

  • Sun, J., H. Mu, J. C. H. Ip, R. Li, T. Xu, A. Accorsi, A. Sánchez Alvarado, E. Ross, Y. Lan, Y. Sun, A. Castro-Vazquez, I. A. Vega, H. Heras, S. Ituarte, B. Van Bocxlaer, K. A. Hayes, R. H. Cowie, Z. Zhao, Y. Zhang, P.-Y. Qian, J.-W. Qiu. 2019. Signatures of divergence, invasiveness and terrestralization revealed by four apple snail genomes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 36 (7): 1507-1520.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., E. E. Strong, R. Richter, B. Stelbrink, and T. von Rintelen. 2018. Anatomical and genetic data reveal that Rivularia Heude, 1890 belongs to Viviparinae (Gastropoda: Viviparidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 182: 1-23.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B. 2017. Hierarchical structure of ecological and non-ecological processes of differentiation shaped ongoing gastropod radiation in the Malawi Basin. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284: e20171494. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1494. (press release by the CNRS Institut Ecologie et Environnement [in French]: http://www.cnrs.fr/inee/communication/breves/b303.html)
  • Wilke, T., B. Wagner, B. Van Bocxlaer, C. Albrecht, D. Ariztegui, D. Delicado, A. Francke, M. Harzhauser, T. Hauffe, J. Holtvoeth, J. Just, M. J. Leng, Z. Levkov, K. Penkman, L. Sadori, A. Skinner, B. Stelbrink, H. Vogel, F. Wesselingh, and T. Wonik. 2016. Scientific drilling projects in ancient lakes: Integrating geological and biological histories. Global and Planetary Change 143: 118-151.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., C. Clewing, J.-P. Mongindo, A. Kankonda, O. Wembe and C. Albrecht. 2015. Recurrent camouflaged invasions and dispersal of an Asian freshwater gastropod in tropical Africa. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:33 (18p).
  • Salzburger, W.*, B. Van Bocxlaer*, and A. Cohen. 2014. Evolution and ecological history in the African Great Lakes. Invited contribution. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 45: 519-545. (* equal contributors)
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., C. Albrecht, and J. R. Stauffer Jr. 2014. Growing human population and ecosystem change increase schistosomiasis around Lake Malawi. Trends in Parasitology 30: 217-220. (cover article of the May 2014 issue; editorially featured)
  • Schultheiß, R., B. Van Bocxlaer, F. Riedel, T. von Rintelen, and C. Albrecht. 2014. 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 (12p). (editor’s choice article; highly accessed)
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., and G. Hunt. 2013. Morphological stasis in an ongoing gastropod radiation from Lake Malawi. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA. 110: 13892-13897.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., and R. Schultheiß. 2010. Comparison of various morphometric techniques for shapes with few homologous landmarks based on machine-learning approaches to biological discrimination. Paleobiology 36: 497-515.
  • Schultheiß, R., B. Van Bocxlaer, T. Wilke, and C. Albrecht. 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.
  • Van Bocxlaer, B., D. Van Damme, and C. S. Feibel. 2008. Gradual versus punctuated equilibrium evolution in the Turkana Basin molluscs: Evolutionary events or Biological Invasions? Evolution 62: 511-520. (cover article of the March 2008 issue; press release in Nature 452: 785; included in Faculty of 1000)