About Leon

The Inquisitive BiologistI’m a Dutch biologist with a passion for communicating scientific knowledge. Here at The Inquisitive Biologist I review (mostly) academic books on a range of subjects of interest to me, with a bias towards evolutionary biology, palaeontology, earth sciences, animal behaviour, biodiversity and conservation, environmental history, popular science, history and philosophy of science, debunking of pseudoscience, and current issues in scientific practice.

Publishers are welcome to sent me current or forthcoming publications to be considered for review on The Inquisitive Biologist. Please use the contact form or contact me directly.


Having been fascinated with dinosaurs from a young age (this was pre-Jurassic Park, I promise), I decided to study biology in favour of geology at Leiden University. After three very diverse internships involving lizard hunting behaviour, plant programmed cell death, and lion ecology in Cameroon, I was seriously sold on evolutionary biology and continued studying for a PhD at the University of Helsinki, where I graduated in 2010 on the effects of eutrophication (the pollution of water that results from over-enrichment with nutrients) on the mating behaviour of a small fish, the three-spined stickleback.

Realising that scaling the academic pyramid was not all that I had hoped for, I have nevertheless remained passionate about communicating scientific knowledge. Currently I work for the world’s largest specialist environmental bookstore, NHBS, in rural Devon, England, where I am responsible for cataloguing all relevant new publications in the fields of wildlife, ecology, and conservation. This exposes me to a wealth of fantastic new books, some of which I review here.


Below is a list of peer-reviewed publications that resulted from my Master’s project and PhD research with links to the publishers. In the unlikely case you would want to read the papers in full and find yourself behind a paywall, feel free to contact me.

– Candolin, U. & Vlieger, L. (2013). Should attractive males sneak: the trade-off between current and future offspring. PLoS ONE, 8(3), e57992. (open access)
– Candolin, U. & Vlieger, L. (2013). Estimating the dynamics of sexual selection in changing environments. Evolutionary Biology, 40, 589–600. (abstract)
– Vlieger, L. (2010). The effects of eutrophication on alternative reproductive tactics in threespine sticklebacks. PhD thesis. (abstract)
– Vlieger, L. & Candolin, U. (2009). How not to be seen: does eutrophication influence three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus sneaking behaviour? Journal of Fish Biology, 75(8), 2163–2174. (abstract)
– Vlieger, L. & Brakefield P.M. (2007). The deflection hypothesis: eyespots on the margins of butterfly wings do not influence predation by lizards. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 92(4), 661–667. (abstract)
– Vlieger, L., Brakefield, P.M. & Müller, C. (2004). Effectiveness of the defence mechanism of the turnip sawfly, Athalia rosae (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae), against predation by lizards. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 94(3), 283–289. (abstract)