Niek Scheepens


Plant Evolutionary Ecology

Institute of Evolution & Ecology

University of Tubingen

Auf der Morgenstelle 5, room 218

72076 Tubingen, Germany


Phone: +49 7071 2972669

niek.scheepens [at]



Research interests


I am interested in plant adaptation through selection and phenotypic plasticity. After my studies at the University of Groningen, I did my PhD at the University of Basel on phenotypic differentiation of Alpine plant species in relation to glacial history. While at the University of Turku I worked on local adaptation of Vincetoxicum hirundinaria to its specialist insect herbivores in the naturally fragmented Finnish Archipelago. In my Humboldt project at the University of Tubingen, I investigated natural variation in, and evolution of, phenotypic plasticity to drought in Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes.


2016-nowPostDoc at the University of Tubingen, Germany
2014-2016Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the University of Tubingen, Germany
2012-2014PostDoc at KAMY, University of Turku, Finland
2011-2012PostDoc at the Institute of Botany, University of Basel, Switzerland
2007-2011PhD (summa cum laude) at the Institute of Botany, University of Basel, Switzerland
2002-2007BA in Philosophy of Science at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands
2001-2007MSc (cum laude) in Biology at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands (with ERASMUS semester at Lund University)


(Google Scholar profile)


Peer-reviewed publications

Scheepens JF, Rauschkolb R, Ziegler R, Schroth V, Bossdorf O (2017) Genotypic diversity and environmental variability affect the invasibility of experimental plant populations. Oikos, accepted.


Hamann E, Scheepens JF, Kesselring H, Armbruster GFJ, Stöcklin J (2017) High intraspecific phenotypic variation, but little evidence for local adaptation in Geum reptans populations in the Central Swiss Alps. Alpine Botany 127: 121-132. Link


Kalske A, Leimu R, Scheepens JF, Mutikainen P (2016) Spatiotemporal variation in local adaptation of a specialist insect herbivore to its long-lived host plant. Evolution 70: 2110-2122. Link


Hamann E, Kesselring H, Armbruster GFJ, Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2016) Evidence of local adaptation to fine- and coarse-grained environmental variability in Poa alpina in the Swiss Alps. Journal of Ecology 104: 1627-1637. Link


Scheepens JF, Frei ES, Stöcklin J (2015) Relationship between phenotypic differentiation and glacial history in a widespread Alpine grassland herb. Alpine Botany 125: 11-20. Link


Preite V, Stöcklin J, Armbruster GFJ, Scheepens JF (2015) Adaptation of flowering phenology and fitness-related traits across environmental gradients in the widespread Campanula rotundifolia. Evolutionary Ecology 29: 249-267. Link

Kalske A, Mutikainen P, Muola A, Scheepens JF, Laukkanen L, Salminen J-P, Leimu R (2014) Simultaneous inbreeding modifies inbreeding depression in a plant-herbivore interaction. Ecology Letters 17: 229-238. Link

Scheepens JF, Frei ES, Stöcklin J (2013) Glacial history affected phenotypic differentiation in the Alpine plant, Campanula thyrsoides. PLOS ONE 8: 10. e73854 1-10. Link

Steiner BL, Armbruster GFJ, Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2013) Distribution of bulbil- and seed-producing Poa alpina and their growth and reproduction in common gardens suggest adaptation to different elevations. American Journal of Botany 99: 12. 2035-2044. Link

Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2013) Flowering phenology and reproductive fitness along a mountain slope: maladaptive responses to transplantation to a warmer climate in Campanula thyrsoides. Oecologia 171: 3. 679-691. Link

Vitasse Y, Hoch G, Randin Ch, Lenz A, Kollas Ch, Scheepens JF, Körner Ch (2013) Elevational adaptation and plasticity in seedlings phenology of temperate deciduous tree species. Oecologia 171: 3. 663-678. Link

Schepers M, Scheepens JF, Cappers RTJ, Van Tongeren OFR, Raemaekers DCM, Bekker RM (2013) An objective method based on assemblages of subfossil plant macro-remains to reconstruct past natural vegetation: a case study of Swifterbant, The Netherlands. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 22: 3. 243-255. Link

Scheepens JF, Frei ES, Armbruster GFJ, Stöcklin J (2012) Pollen dispersal and gene flow within and into a population of the alpine monocarpic plant Campanula thyrsoides. Annals of Botany 110: 7. 1479-1488. Link

Frei ES, Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2012) High genetic differentiation in populations of the rare alpine plant species Campanula thyrsoides on a small mountain. Alpine Botany 122: 23-34. Link

Frei ES, Scheepens JF, Armbruster GFJ, Stöcklin J (2012) Phenotypic differentiation in a common garden reflects the phylogeography of a widespread Alpine plant. Journal of Ecology 100: 2. 297–308. Link

Frei ES, Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2012) Dispersal and microsite limitation of a rare alpine plant. Plant Ecology 213: 3. 395-406. Link

Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2011) Glacial history and local adaptation explain differentiation in phenotypic traits in the Alpine grassland herb Campanula barbata. Plant Ecology and Diversity 4: 403-413. Link

Kuss P, Armbruster GFJ, Ægisdóttir HH, Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J (2011) Spatial genetic structure of Campanula thyrsoides across the European Alps: indications for glaciation-driven allopatric subspeciation. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 13: 101–110. Link

Scheepens JF, Kuss P, Stöcklin J (2011) Differentiation in morphology and flowering phenology between two Campanula thyrsoides L. subspecies. Alpine Botany 121: 1. 37-47. Link

Piquet AM-T, Scheepens JF, Bolhuis H, Wiencke C, Buma AGJ (2010) Variability of protistan and bacterial communities in two Arctic fjords (Spitsbergen). Polar Biology 33: 1521-1536. Link

Scheepens JF, Stöcklin J, Pluess AR (2010) Unifying selection acts on competitive ability and relative growth rate in Scabiosa columbaria. Basic and Applied Ecology 11: 612-618. Link

Scheepens JF, Frei ES, Stöcklin J (2010) Genotypic and environmental variation in specific leaf area in a widespread Alpine plant after transplantation to different altitudes. Oecologia 164: 1. 141-150. Link

Scheepens JF, Veeneklaas RM, Van de Zande L, Bakker JP (2007) Clonal structure of Elytrigia atherica along different successional stages of a salt marsh. Molecular Ecology 16: 5. 1115-1124. Link

Bruun HH, Scheepens JF, Tyler T (2007) An allozyme study of sexual and vegetative regeneration in Hieracium pilosella. Canadian Journal of Botany 85: 1. 10-15. Link

Popular articles


Scheepens JF (2017) EAB2017 - Plant ecology in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Journal of Ecology Blog 8 December 2017. Link

Stöcklin J, Scheepens JF (2013) Anpassungsfähige alpine Pflanzen? Hotspot 27: 19. Link


Non-published work


Scheepens JF (2009) Historical and current human influence on the vegetation of Tenerife. Study project, University of Basel, Switzerland.


Scheepens JF (2007) Structures in scientific and traditional knowledge systems - A comparison based on ecological knowledge. Bachelor Thesis, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Link


Scheepens JF (2005) The invasion of Elytrigia atherica in different salt marshes - An investigation of long-term data from Terschelling and Skallingen. Study project, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.