Jet Propulsion Laboratory

M/S 300-323

4800 Oak Grove Drive

Pasadena, CA 91109


Dr. Tom Van der Stocken studied Physical Geography at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and KULeuven. For his M.Sc. thesis he focused on the routing of basal water under the Antarctic ice sheet in the Ice and Climate Group led by Prof. Philippe Huybrechts. During his PhD, for which he received a VLIR-UOS grant, he started focusing on the dispersal ecology of plants (mangroves in particular), conducting fieldwork in Kenyan mangrove forests in close collaboration with the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Research Institute, and investigating dispersal mechanisms under controlled water and wind conditions at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. As a doctoral research assistant, he taught international student groups at both bachelor and master level and co-supervised international Ecology and Biogeography excursions for master students to various destinations (e.g., Pas-de-Calais, Andalusia, Catalonia, Tenerife). Today, he works as a Caltech Postdoctoral Research Scholar at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he uses high-resolution oceanographic data to investigate dispersal patterns of hydrochorous plants at regional and global scales. He remains attached to the Ecology and Biodiversity Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel as a voluntary researcher



Behara S., Van der Stocken T., et al. (in press). Island-wide coastal vulnerability assessment of Sri Lanka reveals that sand dunes, planted trees and natural vegetation may play a role as potential barriers against ocean surges. Global Ecology and Conservation. 

Triest L., Hasan S., Mitro P.R., De Ryck D. and T. Van der Stocken (2017). Geographical distance and large rivers shape genetic structure of Avicennia officinalis in the highly dynamic Sundarbans mangrove forest and Ganges Delta ragion. Estuaries and Coasts (published online).

Ngeve M., Van der Stocken T., Menemenlis D., Koedam N. and L. Triest (2017). Hidden founders? Strong bottlenecks and fine-scale genetic structure in mangrove populations of the Cameroon Estuary complex. Hydrobiologia 803(1): 189-207. DOI:10.1007/s10750-017-3369-y

Van der Stocken T. & D. Menemenlis (2017). Modelling mangrove propagule dispersal trajectories using high-resolution estimates of ocean surface winds and currents. Biotropica 49(4): 472-481. DOI: 10.1111/btp.12440

Van der Stocken T., López-Portillo J. and N. Koedam (2017). Seasonal release of propagules in mangroves – Assessment of current data. Aquatic Botany 138: 92-99.

Koedam N., Dahdouh-Guebas F., Barcellos R. L. and T. Van der Stocken (2016). Mangroves – captured by the keen eye of a 17th century landscape painter. Dutch Crossing 41(3): 247-263. DOI: 10.1080/03096564.2016.1246166 

Ngeve N., Van der Stocken T., Sierens T., Koedam N., Triest L. (2016). Bidirectional gene flow on a mangrove river landscape and between-catchment dispersal of Rhizophora racemosa (Rhizophoraceae). Hydrobiologia 790(1): 93-108. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-016-3021-2

Ngeve N., Van der Stocken T., Menemenlis D., Koedam N., Triest L. (2016). Contrasting effects of historical sea level rise and contemporary ocean currents on regional gene flow of Rhizophora racemosa in Eastern Atlantic mangroves. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150950. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150950

De Ryck D., Koedam N., Van der Stocken T., Van der Ven R., Adams J., Triest L. (2016). Dispersal limitation of the mangrove Avicennia marina at its South African range limit in strong contrast to connectivity in its core East African region. Marine Ecology Progress Series 545: 123-134. DOI: 10.3354/meps11581

Van der Stocken T., Hugé J., Deboelpaep E., Vanhove M. P. M., de Bisthoven L.-J. and N. Koedam (2016). Academic capacity building: holding up a mirror. Scientometrics 106: 1277-1280. DOI: 10.1007/s11192-015-1811-3

Van der Stocken T., Vanschoenwinkel B., De Ryck D. J. R., Bouma T. J., Dahdouh-Guebas F. and N. Koedam (2015). Interaction between wind and water as a driver of passive dispersal in mangroves PLoS ONE 10(3): e0121593, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0121593

Van der Stocken T., De Ryck D. J. R., Vanschoenwinkel B., Deboelpaep E., Bouma T. J., Dahdouh-Guebas F. and N. Koedam (2015). Impact of landscape structure on propagule dispersal in mangrove forests. Marine Ecology Progress Series 524: 95-106, DOI: 3354/meps11206

Oste J., Robert E. M. R., Van der Stocken T., De Ryck D. J. R.,  Quisthoudt K., Kairo J. G., Dahdouh-Guebas F., Koedam N. and N. Schmitz (2015). Viviparous mangrove propagules of Ceriops tagal and Rhizophora mucronata, both Rhizophoraceae, show different dispersal and establishment strategies. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 468: 45-54.

Goessens A., Satyanarayana S., Van der Stocken T., Quispe Zuniga M., Mohd-Lokman H., Sulong I. and F. Dahdouh-Guebas (2014). Is Matang mangrove forest in Malaysia sustainably rejuvenating after more than a century of conservation and harvesting management? PLoS ONE 9(8): e105069. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0105069

Van der Stocken T., De Ryck D., Balke T., Bouma T. J., Dahdouh-Guebas F. and N. Koedam (2013). The role of wind in hydrochorous mangrove propagule dispersal. Biogeosciences 10: 895-925. DOI:10.5194/bgd-10-895-2013

De Ryck D., Robert E. M. R., Schmitz N., Van der Stocken T., Di Nitto D., Dahdouh-Guebas F. and N. Koedam (2012). Size does matter, but not only size: two alternative dispersal strategies for viviparous mangrove propagules. Aquatic Botany 103: 66-73.



HENRI Magazine (2017). How to bridge the gap between science and society. Henri Magazine 9 (VUB), Autumn 2017, p 22-24.

Koedam (2017). Wetenschap is ook... het toeval omarmen. Henri 8, zomer 2017.

Koedam et al. (2017). Het water aan de lippen. Knack, 25 januari 2017, p. 80.

Van der Stocken T. (2015). Van mangroven tot de NASA: de roadmovie van Tom Van der Stocken. VLIR-UOS 2015, Jaarverslag, p. 12-14.

Van der Stocken T. (2015). Ook wind beïnvloedt route zeevarende organismen. EOS, 18 juni 2015, online.

Van der Stocken T. (2015). Zeilende zaadjes. Knack, 24 juni 2015, p. 81.


Caltech Postdoctoral Scholarship at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (CALTECH/JPL)  (Oct. 2017 - present)

Best Postdoc Oral Presentation Award, VLIZ Marine Science Day, Flanders Marine Research Institute (Mar. 2017)

JPL Visiting Student Researchers Program Fellowship, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (CALTECH/JPL)  (Sep.-Oct. 2015)

Best Student Oral Presentation Award (2nd), Society for Tropical Ecology, ETH Zürich (Apr. 2015)

JPL Visiting Student Researchers Program Fellowship, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (CALTECH/JPL)  (Mar. 2014)

Best Student Oral Presentation Award (2nd), VLIZ Marine Science Day, Flanders Marine Research Institute (Feb. 2013)

Best Student Oral Presentation Award (3rd), Mangrove and Macrobethos Meeting (MMM3) (Jul. 2012)

VLIR-UOS VLADOC doctoral research grant (2011-2015)