Research in the department of Marine Zoology is focused on marine biodiversity, especially with regard to coral reefs, which are the world’s most species-rich marine biotopes. Although Indo-Pacific coral reefs are richer in species than those of the Atlantic, the latter is important with regard to comparing circumtropical evolutionary patterns. Furthermore, Atlantic coral reef biota are supposed to be well known but, like their Indo-Pacific counterparts, they still have a potential for the discovery of unknown species.
Due to climatic change and human impact the coral reefs are under pressure. Sea level fluctuations as a result of climatic change have had a large long-term impact on marine biodiversity patterns. Recently, siltation resulting from deforestation, pollution due to urbanization, and coral bleaching linked to elevated seawater temperatures, are seen as major human-induced impacts on marine species diversity that play a role in tropical marine coastal areas.
Invasive marine species form a global problem and are an important research topic world-wide. Much of the information obtained on marine biodiversity is also relevant for nature conservation.
The Naturalis Marine Team ("Zeeteam") organizes a monthly meeting on marine biodiversity topics (recent and past). The meetings deal with ongoing marine biodiversity research in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and in the Indo-Pacific. Marine species (animals and plants) recorded as new in the Netherlands (exotics) are also discussed. The meetings are attended by biologists, paleontologists, students and others with a special interest in marine life.
Marine scientists of NCB Naturalis are members of AcroporaNet, the consortium of Dutch research institutes dealing with tropical marine biology.
News about fieldwork and other Zeeteam activities are shown on our Facebook page.
A list of recent research topics in the department of Marine Zoology is presented below.
Bert W. Hoeksema (head of department) - Stony corals
Charles H.J.M. Fransen - Crustaceans
Dick S.J. Groenenberg - Molecular phylogenetics
Leen P. van Ofwegen - Soft corals
Martien J.P. van Oijen - Fishes
Ronald Vonk - Groundwater crustaceans
Nicole J. de Voogd - Sponges
Postdoctoral research fellow
Katja T.C.A. Peijnenburg - Phylogeography of zooplankton
Alice K. Burridge - Phylogeography of pterodpods
Sancia E.T. van der Meij - Coral gall crabs (Cryptochiridae)
Bastian T. Reijnen - Octocorals and their associated snails (Ovulidae)
Jacco C. van Rijssel - Fishes (Lake Victoria)
Zarinah Waheed - Stony corals of Malaysia
Project researchers and research associates
Marjan Addink - Cetaceans
Leontine E. Becking - Sponges in marine lakes
Arthur Bos - Echinoderms, corallimorpharians, reef fishes
Martijn Dorenbosch - Reef fish
Marco A. Faasse - Marine invasive species
Harry A. ten Hove - Serpulid worms
Arjan Gittenberger - Marine invasive species
Rob J. Leewis - Marine invasive species
Annelies C. Pierrot-Bults - Chaetognaths
Han Raven - Recent and fossil marine mollusks (Borneo)
Kaveh Samimi Namin - Coral fauna Persian Gulf
Menno Soes - Fishes (Dutch fresh water), leeches, crayfish
Rob W.M. van Soest - Sponges
Gerard van der Velde - Flatworms, reef ecology
Wim Vervoort, deceased - Hydrozoans
Walentina H. de Weerdt - Sponges
Frans Witte - Fishes (Lake Victoria)
- Coral Triangle: the Centre of Maximum Marine Biodiversity (CMMB)
- Inter-specific associations of coral reef organisms
- Biodiversity along onshore-offshore gradients in tropical coastal shelf areas
- Systematic revisions and phylogenetic reconstructions
- Historical collections and changing aquatic faunas
- Reef invertebrates as producers of bioactive compounds
- Conservation of marine biodiversity
- Exotic species
- Tropical marine lake faunas and their relation to the surrounding seas
- Fish fauna of Lake Victoria
- Climate change and Indonesian coral reef biotas
Over the years the staff of the Marine Zoology department has supervised a large number of student topics. Undergraduates can carry out work in the scientific collections of Naturalis, whereas graduates can carry out their own field work and / or work in the molecular laboratory. For an overview of past and present student projects, click here.
During fieldwork in Indonesia the research team keeps almost daily web logs. Examples can be found, like Raja Ampat 2007 http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/document/124392 and Ternate 2009 http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/document/193936. Reports of expeditions can be found in the Naturalis repository: the 2009 expedition toTernate and Halmahera, the 2007 Raja Ampat expedition, as well as the report of the 2003 Berau expedition.
The SMEE2010 report can be downloaded, here: Kassem K, Hoeksema BW, Affendi YA (eds) (2012) Semporna Marine Ecological Expedition. WWF-Malaysia, NCB Naturalis, Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Kota Kinabalu. Malaysia. i-vii, 1-267.
Banggi Islands, off Kudat, northernmost tip of Borneo, Sabah, Malaysia: Tun Mustapha Park Expedition, TMPE2012
Selat Lembeh, North Sulawesi, with LIPI (Fieldstation Bitung) and Universitas Sam Ratulangi (Manado), Indonesia, 2012.
Semporna. eastern Sabah, Malaysia, 2010 (SMEE2010)
Ternate, northern Moluccas, Indonesia, 2009
Raja Ampat, Papua, Indonesia, 2007
Thousand Islands - Jakarta Bay, Java Sea, Indonesia, 2005
Berau, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, 2003
Bali - Lombok Strait, Indonesia, 2001
Cebu-Bohol, Philippines, 1999
Research Vessel Tyro: Indonesian-Dutch Snellius-II Expedition (1984-1985) and Netherlands Indian Ocean Programme (1992-1993)
Research Vessel Samudera: Indonesian-Dutch Snellius-II Expedition (1984-1985)