Plenary Speakers


Tom Wilke:

Tom Wilke is an evolutionary biologist at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany. He is Vice President of the German Malcological Society (DMG), Past President of the Society for Speciation in Ancient lakes (SIAL) and Coordinator of the German-Colombian Center of Excellence in Marine Sciences (CEMarin). He has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers, books and book chapters.

Tom’s major scientific interests are patterns and processes of speciation and radiation in space and time.

Specifically he is studying:

i) the link between geological and biotic evolution in invertebrate groups in long-lived lake systems, ii )the processes driving the spatial distribution of biodiversity in ancient lakes, iii) phenotypic adaptations of mollusks in response to environmental change, iv) co-evolution and infection risks in the intermediate snail host of schistosomiasis in SE Asia, and v) and the invasion biology of selected aquatic mollusk groups. Tom is also working on the theoretical background of molecular clock approaches and their applicability to invertebrates.



Jeff McKinnon:

Jeff McKinnon is a Professor in, and Chair of, the Department of Biology at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. He was previously Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and has held visiting appointments at the University of Queensland, Simon Fraser University, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Harvard University and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

He first developed an interest in ancient lakes when, as an undergraduate, he visited family members working at the INCO mine at Soroako on Lake Matano, Sulawesi. He has worked on color polymorphism maintenance, speciation, the evolution of sexual dimorphism, and related topics in telmatherinid fish from Lake Matano and Lake Towuti; African cichlids  and sticklebacks, as well as other taxa. He earned his PhD from Harvard University, his MSc from the University of Guelph and his BSc from the University of British Columbia. His work has been supported by NSF (USA), NIH (USA), CIDA (Canada) and other organizations and agencies.



Bert Van Bocxlaer:

Bert Van Bocxlaer received his PhD in paleobiology in 2011 from Ghent University after master studies in zoology and marine and lacustrine sciences. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and currently is an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the Justus Liebig University in Giessen.

His research focusses on patterns and processes of organismal diversification. Freshwater mollusks are his main model organism and he focusses on the East African Great Lakes as a natural laboratory of quasi-replicate systems for comparative studies.

The main aim of his research program is to integrate paleontological and ecological data into a synthetic perspective on evolutionary biology. Given the different nature of the data that can be obtained from fossil and extant taxa, he also has a strong interest in the relation between genotype and phenotype, character evolution, and in the roles of evolutionary processes in generating organismal diversity.



Hendrik Vogel:

Hendrik Vogel received his Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Cologne, Germany in 2009. His research focus is in Limnogeology, and he is particularly interested in the geological record of large and long-lived (“ancient”) lake systems in different climatic, geographical, and geological settings. Most of his past and current work is embedded in interdisciplinary projects with fruitful interaction and exchange between geological and biological disciplines.

He has studied climatic and environmental change in lake sediment records from lakes, El’gygytgyn (Siberia), Ohrid and Prespa (Balkans), Torneträsk (Swedish Lapland) and Towuti (equatorial Indonesia) and has developed methods for sedimentological analysis.