Personal profile


Prof. Dr Marcel E. Visser is the head of the Animal Ecology Department at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and he is widely recognized as a world-leading expert on the ecological and evolutionary impact of anthropogenic environmental changes. His pioneering research on how climate change disrupts natural systems used long-term studies on wild species. The work he led on how climate change leads to phenological mismatches within food chains has turned his model species, the great tit, into the poster child for climate change impact.

His work on wild long-term populations is complemented with studies in aviaries, and by genomic work, among which the sequencing of the great tit genome. He combines fieldwork, aviary work and molecular techniques in single projects, for instance by using genomic selection to create selection lines for timing of reproduction in great tit, and then use these lines to look at epigenetic regulation of gene expression as well as to measure fitness consequences of timing in the wild. He is managing the four long-term study populations of hole-nesting species that have ran at the NIOO from 1955 onwards.

Prof. Visser has been awarded a NWO-VICI and an ERC Advanced grant, and has been elected as a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). He is co-founder and inaugural president of the Netherlands Society for Evolutionary Biology (NLSEB). He is co-founder of the Study of Populations of Individuals – Birds (SPI-birds, see and lead PI of the LTER-LIFE infrastructure that aims to build Digitial Twins of ecosystems (see and one of the national coordinators of Long-Term Ecosystems Studies – Netherlands (LTER-NL, see

External positions

Head of Department, Netherlands Inst Ecol, NIOO KNAW

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or