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Dr. P.G. (Patrick) Meirmans

Assistant Professor
Faculty of Science
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
Photographer: S. Meirmans

Visiting address
  • Science Park 904
  • Room number: C3.212
Postal address
  • Postbus 94240
    1090 GE Amsterdam
  • Research

    At its most elementary, evolution is a shift in allele frequencies. Therefore, we can learn a lot about evolution by investigating the drivers that determine the distribution of genetic diversity. My main research interest is how we can use population genetic data to say something about evolutionary and demographic processes. Ultimately, I want to know which processes, including migration, selection, drift, but also anthropogenic disturbance, determine the distribution of genetic information in space. I do this both empirically and theoretically, but my main strength lies in the analysis of genetic data. Some of my main topics are:

    Testing statistical methodology

    Genetic data can provide very powerful tools for addressing evolutionary and ecological questions. However, the statistical methods used often have biases and implicit assumptions that are not well understood. I use simulations to test the performance of widely-used statistical methods to see when they return the expected outcomes, and when they are biased. I then provide recommendations for their use, which hopefully leads to more robust inferences in the whole field.


    Polyploids do strange things: they have many peculiarities in their genetic system that can make them quite different from diploids. This also means that the statistical and molecular tools that are used for diploids do not apply for polyploids. I study how polyploidy affects the distribution of genetic diversity and how genetic data analysis can be adapted for polyploid systems.


    Software development

    I have developed a widely-used program for genetic data analysis: GenoDive. GenoDive includes some methods that I have developed myself that are not implemented in any other program, such as AMOVA-based clustering and clone assignment. GenoDive can also handle polyploid data up to hexadecaploids. In addition, I have developed Marlin, a program for performing spatially-explicit simulations. Both GenoDive and Marlin are under constant development.

    Application to conservation biology, ecological risk assessment, and climate change

    Besides being very informative about the process of evolution, the study of genetic diversity has practical applications in a wide variety of fields. I use population genetics to get insights about the conservation of endangered species, both plants and animals. I have also used population genetics to answer questions around the introduction of genetically modified crops. Ultimately, the genetic diversity of populations drives their adaptation to current and future threats such as climate change and habitat loss.

    Additional topics

    Plant mating systems, hybridization, evolution of sex, invasive species
  • Publications










    • Christie, M. R., Meirmans, P. G., Gaggiotti, O. E., Toonen, R. J., & White, C. (2017). Disentangling the relative merits and disadvantages of parentage analysis and assignment tests for inferring population connectivity. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 74(6), 1749-1762. [details]
    • D'Andrea, L., Meirmans, P. G., van de Wiel, C., Guadagnuolo, R., van Treuren, R., Kozlowski, G., den Nijs, H., & Felber, F. (2017). Molecular biogeography of prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola L.) shows traces of recent range expansion. Journal of Heredity, 108(2), 194-206. [details]
    • Meirmans, P. G., Godbout, J., Lamothe, M., Thompson, S. L., & Isabel, N. (2017). History rather than hybridization determines population structure and adaptation in Populus balsamifera. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 30(11), 2044-2058. [details]





    • Ellstrand, N. C., Meirmans, P., Rong, J., Bartsch, D., Ghosh, A., de Jong, T. J., ... Hooftman, D. A. P. (2013). Introgression of Crop Alleles into Wild or Weedy Populations. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 44, 325-345. [details]
    • Meirmans, P. G., & van Tienderen, P. H. (2013). The effects of inheritance in tetraploids on genetic diversity and population divergence. Heredity, 110(2), 131-137. [details]
    • Rong, J., Xu, S., Meirmans, P. G., & Vrieling, K. (2013). Dissimilarity of contemporary and historical gene flow in a wild carrot (Daucus carota) metapopulation under contrasting levels of human disturbance: implications for risk assessment and management of transgene introgression. Annals of Botany, 112(7), 1361-1370. [details]




    • Meirmans, P. G., Lamothe, M., Gros-Louis, M. C., Khasa, D., Périnet, P., Bousquet, J., & Isabel, N. (2010). Complex patterns of hybridization between exotic and native North American poplar species. American Journal of Botany, 97(10), 1688-1697. [details]
    • Thompson, S. L., Lamothe, M., Meirmans, P. G., Périnet, P., & Isabel, N. (2010). Repeated unidirectional introgression towards Populus balsamifera in contact zones of exotic and native poplars. Molecular Ecology, 19(1), 132-145. [details]



    • Meirmans, P. G., Lamothe, M., Périnet, P., & Isabel, N. (2007). Species-specific single nucleotide polymorphism markers for detecting hybridization and introgression in poplar. Canadian Journal of Botany, 85, 1082-1091.




    • Meirmans, P. G., Vlot, E. C., den Nijs, J. C. M., & Menken, S. B. J. (2003). Spatial ecological and genetic structure of a mixed population of sexual diploid and apomictic triploid dandelions. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 16(2), 343-352. [details]


    • Meirmans, P. G., Calame, F. G., Bretagnolle, F., Felber, F., & den Nijs, J. C. M. (1999). Anthropogenic disturbance and habitat differentiation between sexual diploid and apomictic triploid Taraxacum sect. Ruderalia. Folia Geobotanica, 34, 451-469. [details]


    • de Roos, A. M., Sabelis, M. W., van der Geest, L., van Breemen, M., Geerts, R., Groeneveld, B., ... Vlaar, M. (1998). Genetisch gemodificeerde organismen. Risico's voor ecosystemen en biodiversiteit? Landschap, 15, 157-168. [details]


    • Meirmans, P. (organiser), Kolar, F. (organiser) & Stift, M. (participant) (2-12-2018 - 7-12-2018). Population genetics of polyploids, from theory to practice, Drøbak. Polyploidy is widespread and frequent in plants (including many crops), but also occurs in animals such as fish and amphibians. However, our (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Kolar, F. (organiser), Meirmans, P. (organiser) & Stift, M. (organiser) (23-1-2017 - 25-1-2017). Population genetics of polyploids, Prague. Course aimed at PhD course and young scientists on the analysis of polyploid genetic data. (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • No ancillary activities