Specialisation Bio-interactions

In this specialisation you will especially develop a broad knowledge on bio-interactions.

What will you learn?

For example, you will examine relationships between plants and animals. Also, interactions with and between other living organisms are discussed. You learn to understand these interactions and how to interpret them at different levels, from molecular to ecological. You can for example think of investigating the defense mechanisms of plants towards pathogens.

Management strategies

Or you can develop management strategies for the sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation. You learn about interactions between crops and weeds or insects for example. You also learn to strengthen the quality of agro-ecosystems through the knowledge obtained on the bio-interactions to prevent diseases and pests.


With this specialisation your first course is Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions (ENT). It lets you develop a broad knowledge of interactions and communication among invertebrates, microorganisms and plants. The second course which you follow is Molecular Aspects of Bio-interactions (PHP). In this course you also learn to look at interactions at the molecular level, by looking for instance at virus attacks on plants or in symbiotic interactions between living organisms.

Thesis and internship

In the second year you will start your own research (thesis) in one of the following chair groups:

You can find examples of thesis subjects at the bottom of this page.

In the second half of your second year you will go on an internship. This can be a project at a company or organization outside Wageningen University. Recently, students following this specialisation have done the following internships:

  • Research concerning the (biological) control of diseases in banana (black sigatoga and moko) using QPCR to be able to do DNA sequence signatures-based monitoring of pathogens (Corbana, Costa Rica);
  • Quality research on Aphelunus as a biological pesticide (Entocare CV).

Thesis examples

In the second year of the master's programme you will start your own research (thesis) at one of the chair groups. Beneath you will find examples of thesis subjects.

Chair group Aquaculture and fisheries

  • Coping strategies in farmed African catifish Clarias gariepinus. Does it affect their welfare?
  • Effect of some husbandry factors on behaviour and physiology of African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) and eel (Anguilla anguilla).

Chair group Entomology

  • Foraging behaviour of predators and parasites
  • What chemicals are induced in plants by herbivory, what is their effect on arthropod behaviour, and how do the cues affect interactions in the community.
  • Behavioural ecology of predator avoudance: how do predator cues affect prey behaviour?

Chair group Experimental zoology

  • Ecomorphology of carp-like fish species.

Chair group Human and animal physiology

  • Perinatal and chronic hypothyroidism impair behavioural development in male and female rats.
  • Hormonal regulation of puberty onset in female rats: is leptin a missing link?

Chair group Resource ecology

  • Hunting tactics of Peregrines and other falcons.
  • Mechanisms of small scale foraging by large herbivores.