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Dr Maaike De Jong

Dr Maaike De Jong

Dr Maaike De Jong
MSc(Amst.), PhD(Leiden)

Visiting Fellow in Biological Sciences

Area of research

Adaptation to environmental change: behaviour, life history and genetics

Life Sciences Building,
24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ
(See a map)


The main theme of my research is how and to what extent populations can adapt to environmental variation, and the potential of rapid adaptation to human-induced global change. I study this by combining experimental assays of traits that are central to fitness (such as life history, physiology, and behaviour) with genetic and genomic tools to investigate the genetic basis of fitness traits, and how this affects adaptation in wild populations.

With my current Marie Curie fellowship I am using this approach to study ecological and evolutionary processes during range expansion in response to climate change in the UK Brown Argus butterfly. I have also recently started a BES-funded project in collaboration with Dr Daniel Montoya at the University of Bristol, which combines metagenomics with ecological network analysis to look at the effects of range shifts on host-pathogen interactions. I tend to work with butterflies and find them ideal study species for many reasons, including their suitability for ecological experiments, their well-known ecology and available long-term distribution data, and their sensitivity to environmental change.


  • 2013 - 2015: Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow "Ecological genetics of recent range expansion of the UK Brown Argus butterfly in response to climate change". University of Bristol, UK.
  • 2010 - 2012: Postdoctoral researcher "Ecological and evolutionary spatial dynamics in the Glanville fritillary butterfly". University of Helsinki, Finland. PI: Prof. Ilkka Hanski FRS
  • 2005 - 2010: PhD project "Geographic variation and thermal adaptation in Bicyclus anynana. Leiden University, the Netherlands. PIs: Prof. Bas Zwaan and Prof. Paul Brakefield FRS
  • 2004 - 2005: Research Technician in a EU-funded project assessing risks of gene flow between GM crops and wild relatives. University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 
  • 2004: Master's degree Cum Laude in Biology, specialization in Ecology. University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


I am committed to teaching and mentoring future scientists and have been involved in lecturing and supervision since the early stages of my career. I have gained extensive teaching experience at four excellent universities in three European countries. This includes lecturing and mentoring undergraduate and postgraduate students and supervising their research projects, covering various topics from ecology to evolutionary biology to conservation biology. Furthermore, I have been involved in teaching activities for 11-18 year age group by creating a commissioned science information package for high-school students, by supervising University-based science projects for high-school students, and through my public engagement activities with the Amsterdam Botanical Gardens. 

Lecturer for BSc and MSci courses

  • 3rd year course ‘Evolutionary Ecology’, School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol (2014), ~100 students, lectures on adaptive behavioural evolution and anthropogenic change
  • International MSci course ‘Conservation Biology in Fragmented Landscapes’, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Helsinki (2010-2012), ~30 students, lectures on anthropogenic change, population decline in fragmented landscapes, and species extinctions
  • MSci course ‘Evolutionary Biology’, Leiden University, the Netherlands (2008), ~30 students, lecture on adaptation to climate change

Supervising student projects and theses

  • Four 3rd year undergraduate project students on range expansion in response to climate change in the Brown Argus butterfly, University of Bristol (2014). 
  • Miss Sarah Skeels, funded 3rd year undergraduate summer project on behavioural evolution in response to climate change in the Brown Argus butterfly, University of Bristol (2013). 
  • Miss Estelle van den Boer, Erasmus Exchange undergraduate project on conservation implications of evolution in response to climate change in the Brown Argus, University of Bristol (2013-2014). 
  • Co-supervisor of Dr Brandon Invergo, MSci project on life history and physiological adaptation to climate in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana, Leiden University (2009).
  • Co-supervisor of Miss Judith Ellens, BSc project on life history adaptation to climate in butterflies, Leiden University (2007)

Mentoring and coordinating

  • Tutor of student work groups in international MSc course ‘Conservation Biology in Fragmented Landscapes’, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Helsinki (2010-2012)
  • Coordinating volunteering and paid students on research projects (groups of up to 12 students), during fieldwork and in the laboratory, University of Bristol (2013-2015) and University of Helsinki (2010-2012)
  • Managing and coordinating field assistants and students during tropical fieldwork in Costa Rica and various countries in East and South Africa (2003-2009).
  • Teaching assistant managing practicals on several undergraduate Biology courses at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands (2003-2004)


  • Molecular ecology
  • Population genetics
  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Life history
  • Behaviour
  • Climate change
  • Range shifts
  • Thermal adaptation
  • Butterflies
  • Plant-insect interactions

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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