Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Room 7F403D

Pleinlaan 2

1050 Brussel


Being passionate about the physical processes at the Earth's surface, Tom Van der Stocken studied (Physical) Geography at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL). For his MSc thesis he modeled the routing of basal water under the Antarctic ice sheet and investigated its meaning in the formation of subglacial lakes and processes of basal sliding, supervised by Prof. Philippe Huybrechts (Ice and Climate group, Geography Department, VUB). He later received a VLIR-UOS PhD grant (promotor: Prof. Nico Koedam) and focused on the dispersal ecology of mangroves, considering multiple aspects, such as phenology, dispersal barriers and retention, and the interaction of dispersal vectors in propagating fruits and seeds at the ocean surface. For this, he conducted fieldwork in Kenya and various ex situ experiments at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ, Yerseke, The Netherlands). At the NIOZ, he studied the dispersal dynamics of multiple mangrove species under controlled hydrodynamic and wind conditions. He collaborates with researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, USA) in order to construct high-resolution oceanographic dispersal models, at regional and global scales, and integrating knowledge from in situ and ex situ experiments. Being eager and studious, he is attracted by new challenges and projects in which he can apply his skills and learn from others.

Today, he is part of the educational team of the Biology department (VUB), where he co-supervises international excursions in ecology and biogeography, contributes to the internationalization of education and research, and supervises BSc and MSc students in completing their thesis.

During his leisure time, he actively conducts research, on mangroves, but also on various other topics, such as for example habitat selection models. In a totally different line he feels very concerned about science communication, science policy and its impacts, which he actively discusses, in publications (e.g. Van der Stocken et al. 2016, Scientometrics), with close colleagues, as well as “on the road”.

From September 2017 onwards, he will conduct research as a postdoc at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, focusing mainly on ocean dispersal modeling at regional and global scales, using high resolution oceanographic data. In this context, he will also actively contribute to projects on blue carbon and ocean plastics. 



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 (published online).

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 buidling: 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.



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.


Best Oral Post-doc Award - March 2017 - Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) - VLIZ Marine Science Day (Brugge, Belgium)

Best Oral Presentation Award - April 2015 - Maria Sibylla Merian Award - Society for Tropical Ecology - ETH Zürich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Switzerland)

Best Oral Presentation Award (1st runner-up) - February 2013 - Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) - VLIZ Young Marine Scientists'​ Day (Brugge, Belgium)

Best Oral Presentation Award (2nd runner-up) - July 2012 - Meeting on Mangrove ecology, functioning and Management (MMM3, Sri Lanka)