As of the first of January 2021, Jan Andries van Franeker has retired. With heart and soul, he has dedicated his research to Antarctic ecosystems and the problems of marine plastic litter. His job started in February 1986 with the Dutch Institute for Nature Management (RIN) on Texel and was continued under later institutional names IBN, ALTERRA, IMARES en finally Wageningen Marine Research in Den Helder. His responsibilities in polar research will be taken over by Fokje Schaafsma, and the marine litter studies will be transferred to Susanne Kühn. Both successors have cooperated with Jan during their PhD studies which guarantees a smooth transfer.
Jan van Franeker
Jan van Franeker studied biology at the University of Amsterdam from 1972 tot1980. After military service (1980-82) and a number of years of independent research in northern and southern polar areas (1980-85) he was contracted in early 1986 to set up an Antarctic research program for the Netherlands Research Institute for Nature Management (RIN) on Texel. Commitment to such research is part of the Dutch membership of the Antarctic Treaty. Also Jan’s research of plastic ingestion by Northern Fulmars goes back to the early 1980s but only became a contractual part of his job after year 2000, first on Texel and now in Den Helder. Jan hopes to continue participation in the various lines of research, but driven by personal interest and in a relaxed voluntary approach. There are lots of nice data available for analysis and publications.
Fokje Schaafsma studied Marine Biology and Science Communication at the University of Groningen from 2005 till 2011. She started a PhD at WUR in 2013, during which she studied the role of sea ice in supporting the living resources of the polar oceans under Jan’s supervision. She got a scholarship from CCAMLR (Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) to join Jan at its working group and Scientific Committee meetings. She is employed by Wageningen Marine Research since 2018 to continue research in the Southern Ocean and to conduct similar research in the Arctic region, hopefully in close collaboration with Jan for a long time. Since 2019, Fokje participates in the CCAMLR meetings on behalf of The Netherlands, were she hopes to share knowledge resulting from our research in order to contribute to nature conservation and management of the Southern Ocean.
Susanne Kühn did her bachelor study on Coastal and Marine Management in Leeuwarden (Netherlands) which included an Icelandic internship. Here, under partial guidance from Jan she studied the ingestion of plastic litter by Icelandic fulmars. After this initial project, Susanne remained involved in studies on plastic ingestion not just in fulmars, but also in other marine biota, such as whales, other seabirds and fish. In 2016 Susanne started a PhD in Jan’s team at Wageningen Marine Research and Wageningen University. In October 2020 Susanne successfully defended her thesis titled ‘Message in a belly – Plastic pathways in Fulmars’. Since 2017 she is also working together with Fokje Schaafsma in the polar ecosystem research, contributing on the top predator component. In 2020, Susanne started as a Researcher at Wageningen Marine Research to taking over the marine litter projects, in which she hopes to work together with retired Jan for many years to come.