Marten Scheffer

Marten Scheffer

Marten Scheffer
Scheffer in 2013
Born (1958-09-13) 13 September 1958
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Fields Ecology, biology, complex systems
Institutions Wageningen University and Research Centre
Alma mater Utrecht University
Notable awards Spinoza Prize (2009)

Marten Scheffer (born 13 September 1958) is a Dutch ecologist, mathematical biologist and professor of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management at Wageningen University and Research Centre. He was a winner of the 2009 Spinoza Prize.[1] His research focuses on complex systems and their adaptability.


  • Career 1
  • Publications 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Scheffer was born on 13 September 1958 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.[1] He studied ecology at Utrecht University and gained a degree in 1985. He obtained a doctorate from the same university in 1992.[1] He subsequently held research positions at Dorschkamp and the governmental agency RIZA. In 1998 he became professor of Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management at Wageningen University and Research Centre and has since headed the department.[1] Scheffer's research focuses on complex systems and their adaptability, finding that different ecosystems have tipping points. His research is located inside the field of ecology as well as outside of it, with studies into climate change and evolution.[1]

In 2009 Scheffer was one of three winners of the Dutch [1] As there was no fourth Spinoza Prize awarded in 2009, Scheffer and his co-winners Albert van den Berg and Michel Ferrari asked the NWO to reward them the remaining prize money, which they would spend on a collaborative research effort.[3] Their efforts culminated in a research paper on migraine published in PLOS ONE in 2013.[4][5][6] The paper claimed that a critical tipping point of neurons started a migraine attack.[6]

Scheffer is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2012.[7] He is a co-founder of the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies and European Institute Para Limes.[1]

Apart from his work in science Scheffer is also a musician, who plays the mandolin, guitar and violin.[1] Scheffer toured with Dutch guitar player Harry Sacksioni for several years. Together with two others he has published a CD of world music, Transitions.[8]


  • Critical Transitions in Nature and Society, 2009, Princeton University Press.
  • Vijver, sloot en plas, 2005, Tirion Natuur.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Prof. M. (Marten) Scheffer".  
  2. ^ "NWO Spinoza Prize 2009". Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  3. ^ Jannetje Koelewijn & Jop de Vrieze (4 July 2009). "Knappe koppen zonder hoofdpijn".  
  4. ^ Marten Scheffer, Albert van den Berg, Michel D. Ferrari (29 August 2013). "Migraine Strikes as Neuronal Excitability Reaches a Tipping Point".  
  5. ^ Paul de Kuyper (4 September 2013). "Eerste migraine-publicatie drie Spinoza-winnaars" (in Dutch). UT Nieuws. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Migraine consequence of critical tipping point in neural network". Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. 4 September 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "Marten Scheffer".  
  8. ^ Tomas Vanheste (29 September 2009). "'"Ecoloog Marten Scheffer: 'We poken het beest wakker.  

External links

  • Profile at Wageningen University and Research Centre
  • Scheffer's personal music website