Marine Animal Ecology Group

Marine Animal Ecology Group

Marine animal ecology (MAE) studies how marine animals adapt in response to a changing environment. Our research is focused on different organismal levels, from eco-physiology, early life-stage development, population genomics, up to whole ecological community responses. We subsequently apply our research to gain an understanding of the consequences of anthropogenic activities to ecosystem services and conservation management.

MAE Leaflet

Marine Science Calendars

Prof. Dr. Tinka Murk has taken the initiative to put together calendars illustrating the versatility and beauty of marine life. The calendars contain photographs of the work of many Wageningen UR colleagues. Together, they tell a tale of innovative knowledge that integrates technical, environmental and socio-economic approaches to sustainably harvest blue resources. Dr. Murk will create a new edition for 2023 as there is high interest in it. Click below to download the calendars for 2015 and 2018 and get inspired! If you have any suggestions or questions, please contact Dr. Murk at

Calendar 2015

Calendar 2018

MAE Publications

More publications

Highlighted student projects

At MAE we are working on various research lines. Students can join the research efforts via thesis projects, internships and/or short research projects. See below for some highlighted projects. If you are interested in any of these, please contact!

Identifying cryptic species in sponges or biomonitoring structures. By using DNA, we can perform biomonitoring via the barcoding of species. Sponges are known to have symbioses with not only microorganisms but also macroorganisms. We are working on identifying the crypto-fauna associated with sponges. Furthermore, we have been deploying autonomous reef monitoring systems (ARMs) and want to quantify the biodiversity accumulating on those as well. We are looking for motivated students to join the efforts as soon as possible!

Culturing vulnerable marine invertebrates to study larval behaviour. We have cultures of various marine larvae and are using state-of-the-art technology to track their movements. We are interested how behaviour is affected by various factors so we can better understand requirements of different life stages.

Restoring sea urchin populations on coral reefs. From February on we're looking for internship students to join the efforts to restore sea urchin populations on Saba. This project involves diving!

Designing a sensor device to identify food sources of large elasmobranchs. With the opportunity to start any time, we are looking for an BSc or SRP student to work on the possibility of a miniature DNA sequencing device that can be placed on or inside sharks and rays to study diets. You are asked to find out what is necessary to create such a science-fiction sounding device.

Effects of ghost nets on benthic communities. We are looking for students who want to use video footage to identify potential impacts of lost and abandoned fishing gear on benthic communities. This project starts around spring 2022.

Assessing impact of electromagnetic fields on sharks and rays. This project revolves around the designing, executing, analysing and reporting laboratory experiments performed in St. Abbs Marine Station in Scotland. Three elasmobranch species will be exposed to different EMF levels and their behaviour will be assessed. We are looking for a highly motivated student to join this project around April 2022.

Figuring out to what extent mussel genotype affect performance. Starting in April 2022 a project will start on trying to unravel nature versus nurture. You will work with mussels raised in the same environment but coming from a distinct genetic background. We are interested in seeing whether there are inherited differences in performance such as clearance rate, etc.

MAE Blogs

Marine Lake Expeditions

Marine Lake Expeditions!

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Svalbard Expeditions


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The Marine Animal Ecology group (MAE) is part of the cluster Biology and Aquatic Resilience.