Marine Animal Ecology (MAE)

Marine Animal Ecology studies how marine animals adapt in response to a changing environment. We aim to better predict responses of individual animals, provide early warning signals to shifts in communities, and actively contribute to the restoration of coastal reef systems.

More about this thesis track

Increasing human populations combined with climate change have implications for our marine ecosystems. These services are currently shifting and may continue to shift in the future as ecosystems are perturbed, and critical links in the food web are altered or lost. In order to better understand the changes and their implications, we include experimental work in the lab, aquaria and in the field, and study the various life stages of marine organisms, from eggs to larvae to adults. In turn, by understanding the effects of various stressors on marine life, we can better manage and conserve natural populations to maintain biodiversity and the many services it provides.

The MAE group contributes to this research via (for example):

  1. Studying implications of pollutants (e.g., microplastics) on marine communities via experimental work in mesocosms;
  2. Assessing effects of toxic compounds on marine animals in the lab and in the field;
  3. Identifying impacts of climate change using microsensors;
  4. Performing state-of-the-art biomonitoring efforts through long-read eDNA and bulk DNA from the marine environment.

Students can learn more about Marine Animal Ecology by visiting their website.


The following courses are part of the MSc program Environmental Sciences when selecting the thesis track Marine Animal Ecology. Next to these thesis specific courses, you will follow courses from the common part and electives as summarised in the programme outline. For more information, visit the study handbook or contact your study advisor.

Thesis track-related subjects
Subject Code
One e-learning is compulsory in order to work safely at Wageningen University (0 ECTS): Laboratory safety ZSS06100
Environmental Toxicology TOX30806
Marine Animal Ecology MAE30306
MSc Internship Marine Animal Ecology MAE70224
MSc Thesis Marine Animal Ecology MAE80436
Compulsory unless your study adviser indicates differently:
Chemical Processes in Soil, Water, Atmosphere SOC22306

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 prevails in case of any discrepancy.

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

MSc Environmental Sciences - Marine Animal Ecoology