Koen Siteur

I am an environmental scientist who likes to capture the environment in equations and scripts. I enjoy translating my findings for the general audience, policy makers, and between scientific fields. I have a background in environmental sciences, with an emphasis on hydrology and (theoretical) ecology.


Scientist air quality

National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)

I combine dutch air quality data and models to obtain national concentration and deposition maps (GDN/GCN maps). I work with data from luchtmeetnet.nl, with ammonia and nitrogen dioxide data from the MAN network, and with the air quality model OPS. My work includes research on the imputation of missing data, on developing spatial model calibration techniques and on building a better description of dry deposition on vegetation. I also interpret weather- and air quality model output to inform the public in case of a smog event.

May 2020 - present

Post-doctoral researcher

Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) & East China Normal University (ECNU)

I was part of an EU Horizon 2020 project “Marine Ecosystem Restoration in Changing European Seas” (MERCES) in collaboration with various European partners. We developed an indicator framework to guide restoration of coastal ecosystems. This framework was based on spatially explicit models that I developed and analysed. Besides my research activities I lectured at University College Utrecht (UCU) on sustainable resource management, represented post-doctoral researchers in the young scientist representative council of NIOZ-EDS, and supervised MSc students in their graduation projects.

November 2016 - October 2019

Junior Assistant Professor

Utrecht University

I developed courses and exams, supervised seminars and lectured in the courses of the Bachelor programme Environmental Sciences and the Master programme Sustainable Development. I was involved in the courses Ecosystem Modelling (now Environmental Systems Analysis) and Mathematics and System Analysis.

September 2015 - February 2016

PhD candidate

Utrecht University

I established new theory on tipping points in ecosystems by developing and analysing (spatially explicit) models. The focus of my research was on water limited ecosystems and the way these ecosystems cope with the rapidly changing climate. My PhD thesis and associated peer-reviewed publications can be found in the section Publications below. My teaching activities included supervision of students performing scientific research and fieldwork (BSc level), and modelling (MSc level). Besides research and teaching I was PhD representative in the Utrecht Geo Graduate council, organised (guest)lectures in the department, I was minutes secretary of departmental group meetings and co-founded a blog to communicate our department's research to the general audience.

September 2011 - August 2015

Research Intern

Wageningen University and Research (WUR)

I performed a systematic comparison of a number of global hydrological models for a selection of river basins and wrote a scientific report.

April 2011 - July 2011


PhD Environmental Sciences

Utrecht University

Followed courses on complexity science, theoretical ecology, spatial ecology and academic skills. Attended conferences and workshops on dryland ecohydrology, critical transitions and geosciences.

September 2011 - August 2015

MSc Hydrology

Utrecht University

Graduated Cum laude within the track Earth Surface Hydrology. Followed courses on land surface hydrology, stochastic hydrology, unsaturated zone hydrology, groundwater hydrology, remote sensing and environmental modelling.

September 2009 - July 2011

BSc Environmental Sciences

Utrecht University

Followed courses on hydrology, ecology, soil science, air pollution, landscape ecology, nature conservation, environmental system analysis, environmental modelling, mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics and academic skills.

September 2006 - July 2009


  • Spatial modelling & spatial statistics
  • Mathematics & model analysis
  • Teaching & supervision
  • Science communication
Programming Languages & Tools
  • R, Python & Matlab
  • MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Markup languages including HTML (CSS), LateX & Rmarkdown.
  • Javascript, php & MySQL
  • Dutch (native)
  • English (fluent)
  • Spanish (beginner)


Besides work my interests include:

  • Cycling I like to watch races, ride my own road bike, and go on cycling holidays.
  • China I am fascinated by Chinese culture and food.
  • Data analysis I like to analyse data of my cycling workouts and my weather station in my backyard.
  • Podcasts I like to listen to podcasts about science & technology and about cycling.


  • F. Neijnens, K. Siteur, ..., and M. Rietkerk (2020). Early-warning signals for rate-induced critical transitions in salt-marsh ecosystems. Submitted.
  • M.B. Eppinga, K. Siteur, ..., and M.J. Santos (2020). Sustainable development of consumer-renewable resource systems: theory and application to island states. In review.
  • V.C. Reijers, S. Hoeks, ..., K. Siteur, ..., and T. van der Heide (2020). Sediment availability provokes a shift from Brownian to Lévy-like clonal expansion in a dune building grass. Ecology letters.
  • V.C. Reijers, K. Siteur, ..., and T. van der Heide (2019). A Lévy expansion strategy optimizes early dune building by beach grasses. Nature communications 10(1), 2656.
  • E. Siero, K. Siteur, ..., and M.B. Eppinga (2019). Grazing away the resilience of patterned ecosystems. The American Naturalist 193 (3), 472-480.
  • M.L. Laengner, K. Siteur, and D. van der Wal (2019). Trends in the seaward extent of saltmarshes across Europe from long-term satellite data. Remote sensing 11 (14), 1653.
  • R. Bastiaansen, O. Jaibi, ..., K. Siteur, ..., and M. Rietkerk (2018). Multistability of model and real dryland ecosystems through spatial self-organization. PNAS 115 (44), 11256-11261.
  • K. Siteur, M.B. Eppinga, ..., and M. Rietkerk (2016). Ecosystems off track: rate‐induced critical transitions in ecological models. Oikos 125 (12), 1689-1699.
  • K. Siteur, J. Mao, ..., and M.B. Eppinga (2016). Soil water repellency: a potential driver of vegetation dynamics in coastal dunes. Ecosystems 19 (7), 1210-1224.
  • K. Siteur (2016). Off the beaten track: How ecosystems fail to respond to environmental change. Utrecht University.
  • E. Siero, A. Doelman, ..., and K. Siteur (2015). Striped pattern selection by advective reaction-diffusion systems: Resilience of banded vegetation on slopes. Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science 25 (3), 036411.
  • K. Siteur, E. Siero, ..., and M. Rietkerk (2014). Beyond Turing: The response of patterned ecosystems to environmental change. Ecological Complexity 20, 81-96.
  • K. Siteur, M.B. Eppinga, ..., and M. Rietkerk (2014). How will increases in rainfall intensity affect semiarid ecosystems? Water Resources Research 50 (7), 5980-6001.
  • A. Doelman, J. Rademacher, ..., and K. Siteur (2013). Klimaatsverandering, verwoestijning en biljart. Nieuw archief voor wiskunde. Serie 5 14 (3), 200-204.