Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management (AEW)

We aim to generate novel insights that can help preserving and restoring marine and freshwater ecosystem services. We take a systems approach linking physical, chemical and biological processes across scales.

More about this thesis track

The research is multidisciplinary (environmental engineering, environmental chemistry and aquatic ecology) and ranges from the laboratory scale (detailed process studies) to the scale of actual ecosystems (field studies). The multidisciplinary expertise of the team comes together in the development of integrated models for ecosystem and water quality management. The research approach thus is quantitative with a strong emphasis on state-of-the-art statistical and modelling techniques.

Three main areas of research are identified:

  1. The effects of biota on the transport and fate of micropollutants and nutrients

  2. The effects of substances on the functioning and biodiversity of natural aquatic communities

  3. The feedbaks between physical dynamics (flow conditions, turbulence) and biota in aquatic systems  

Students can learn more about the education and research programme of the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group by visiting their website.


The following courses are part of the MSc programme Environmental Sciences when selecting the thesis track Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management. Next to these thesis specific courses, you will follow courses from the common part and electives as summarized in the programme outline. For more information visit the study handbook or contact the study adviser.

Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code
One e-learning is compulsory in order to work safely at Wageningen University (0 ECTS):
Laboratory safety ZSS06100
MSc Internship Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management AEW70224
MSc Thesis Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management AEW80436
Compulsory unless your study adviser indicates differently:
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOC22306
Restricted optional: select at least two
Water Quality AEW31306
Chemical Stress Ecology and Ecotoxicology AEW30806
Practical Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality AEW20706

In order to prepare well for your thesis track, you can additionally choose supporting courses. These courses focus, for example, on quantitative and data sciences or laboratory skills. You can find the exact list in the study handbook at the section “Restricted Optionals (2) in Common part”.

This course overview is based on the Wageningen University study handbook, where you can find a more detailed course and programme description. The study handbook is guiding in case of any discrepancy.

Below you can see how your schedule might look like for your whole study programme:

MSc Environmental Sciences - Aquatic Ecology and Water Aquality Management.jpg