Menno Schilthuizen (1965) is a Dutch ecologist and evolutionary biologist based at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, who also holds a chair in evolution at Leiden University. His research deals with the diversification of groups of closely-related species, in land snails and beetles, and the questions of how and why different body-shapes evolve rapidly in such evolutionary ‘radiations’. He obtained his PhD from Leiden University in 1994 on the evolution of land snails from Greece, then did two postdoctoral stints at Wageningen University and from 2000 to 2006 worked as an associate professor at the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation in Malaysian Borneo, where he still holds a research associateship. He has authored over 100 scientific publications in professional journals such as Trends in Ecology and Evolution, The Journal of Evolutionary Biology, and Nature.
Besides his scientific career, he has been an active free-lance science reporter and populariser of biodiversity science, having written more than 150 popular articles and news reports in Science, New Scientist, and Natural History, as well as Dutch, Belgian, and Malaysian newspapers and magazines. He has coordinated the Dutch branch of the 2009 international citizen science project Evolution Megalab, and has given public lectures on evolution and ecology for conservationists, amateur biologists, ecotourists and eco-tour operators, as well as the general public, and making regular appearances on radio and TV. He wrote several well-received books: Frogs, Flies & Dandelions; The Making of Species (2001, Oxford University Press), The Loom of Life; Unravelling Ecosystems (2008, Springer), Nature’s Nether Regions (2014, Penguin), and Darwin Comes to Town (Quercus, 2018).
Menno Schilthuizen lives in the historical city center of Leiden, The Netherlands. He enjoys painting and hiking in the dunes near his home-town.