Specialisation Marine Biology

If you choose this specialisation you will study the complexity of marine ecosystems.

What will you learn?

You can choose to examine and understand the management of these systems. Think of different aspects that play a role in this such as fishing, recreation and urbanization of the coastal area. You can also deal with the pollution of marine ecosystems. You research, for example acute and chronic effects of various pollutants on water quality.

You also try to make predictions about the consequences. You also have the option of using molecular techniques to learn how to analyse different ecosystems. Or you learn the interactions of microorganisms with their marine environment and the role these microorganisms play in their ecosystem.


For this specialisation you can choose to follow two courses. You can choose from:

  • Marine Systems (AEW) in which you gain an understanding of marine ecosystems, economic processes and management and administration;
  • Microbial Ecology (MIB) in which you learn to analyse complex ecosystems by using molecular techniques;
  • Fisheries Ecology (APF) which is about ecology of fish and other aquatic organisms and the impact of fishing on these populations;
  • Environmental Toxicology (TOX) in which you will learn the general principles such as different types of pollution and acute and chronic effects of toxicity.
  • Marine Animal Ecology (MAE), in which you will focus on the the functioning of animals in interaction with their environment, and link this to management of biodiversity and use of marine animal resources.‚Äč

Thesis and internship

In the second year you will start your own research (thesis) at 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:

  • Diseases of marine organisms (Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology);
  • Research on the ontogenetic diet charges of 4 coralfirsh species in the Western Indian Ocean (Radboud University Nijmegen);
  • Modelling interspecific competition between non-commercial flatfish species with special interest in the effects of temperature and fisheries in relation to competition between Buglossidion luteum and Pleuronectes Platessa (Imares).

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 Aquatic ecology and water management

  • Climate induced biodiversity shifts in freshwater ecosystems
  • Ecological effects of the herbicide linuron in tropical freshwater microcosms

Chair group Aquaculture and fisheries

  • The influence of light and water flow on the growth and physiology of the scleractinian coral Galaxea fascicularis
  • Are the Lake Victoria fisheries threatened by exploitation or eutrophication? Towards an ecosystem based approach to management

Chair group Microbiology

  • Exploring microbial diversity of marine sponges using 16S rRNA High-Throughput methods
  • The origin of symbiosis between marine sponges and sponge-specific bacteria

Chair group Toxicology

  • Effects of endocrine disrupting compounds on biomarkers and reproduction of fish
  • Ecotoxicological risk assessment for compounds in the marine and fresh water environment