Frederik Leliaert

Scientific director, Herbarium & Library
Research scientist phycology
Department: Herbarium & Library
Phone: +32 2 260 09 70

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Collection management

The conservation, management and curation of the herbarium and library collections are core tasks of Meise Botanic Garden. As head of the Herbarium & Library Department I aim to ensure and increase access to these rich collections through optimal physical curation and increased digital access.


My research interests lie in the area of biodiversity and evolution of algae. I use molecular, morphological, ecological and geographic data to resolve phylogenetic relationships, test species boundaries, and explore the biogeographical history in marine algae.

Taxonomic work focuses on the Cladophorales, a morphologically and ecologically diverse group of green algae that abound in marine and freshwater environments. Species diversity is poorly documented, especially in tropical regions. I aim to further describe this diversity and resolve relationships based on morphological and molecular data.

By combining molecular phylogenetic and biogeographical data, I explore the historical processes by which seaweed species arise, diverge ecologically, and come to occupy different habitats and geographic regions. I use taxa that have been well sampled throughout their geographical range, including the red alga Portieria, and the green algae Cladophora, Boodlea and Bryopsis.

I aim to resolve relationships among the main lineages of green plants (Viridiplantae) using genome-scale data. A solid phylogenetic framework of the green plant lineage forms the basis for a revised classification that reflects evolutionary history, and enables investigating evolutionary patterns.


  • PhD, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, 2004
  • MSc, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, 1996

Employment history

  • Scientific director Herbarium & Library Department, Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium, 2021 - ongoing
  • Scientific director, Research Department, Meise Botanic Garden, Belgium, 2016 - 2021
  • Visiting professor, Ghent University, Belgium, 2016 - 2022
  • Assistant professor, Ghent University, Belgium, 2014 - 2016
  • Postdoctoral researcher, The University of Alabama, USA, 2013 - 2014
  • Postdoctoral researcher, Ghent University, Belgium, 2005 - 2013
  • Teaching assistant, Ghent University, Belgium, 1997 - 2004
  • Visiting researcher, University of Cape Town, 1996-1997

Professional activities

  • Associate Editor, Frontiers in Plant Science, 2018 - ongoing
  • Associate Editor, European Journal of Taxonomy, 2017- ongoing
  • Associate Editor, Algological Studies, 2012- ongoing
  • Member of the editorial board of Journal of Phycology, 2014 - ongoing
  • Teaching: course Biodiversity Conservation, Ghent University, 2014 - ongoing
  • Member of the scientific committee of the 7th European Phycological Congress, Zagreb, 2019
  • Symposium organizer, 6th European Phycological Congress, London, 2015

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