Arjen Speksnijder

Arjen Speksnijder

I obtained my master in geobiochemistry at Leiden University and my PhD in microbial ecology at the University of Nijmegen. After a post-doc period in the Natural history Museum of Londen and the University of Aberdeen I became staff researcher for molecular microbiology and innovative diagnostics at Plant Research International. From there I became head of the Public Health  Laboratory  (GGD) Amsterdam involved in epidemiologic research of infectious diseases. I moved to Naturalis in 2013 as Head of Laboratories and was responsible for the technical support and equipment for Research and Education and quartermasterd the new laboratory facilities. I was involved in the appIication of molecular techniques in biodiversity research. 

Watch 'A dragonfly through the Naturalis labs'

From November 1st 2020, I will start the Lectorate Metagenomics at the Leiden University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Naturalis. My research focus is complex community analysis, drivers and interactions


Metagenomics, molecular biology, microbiology, community analysis, environmental DNA, metabarcoding

Dr. Arjen Speksnijder

Lector Metagenomics

Community assessment
by environmental DNA

Community analysis by DNA profiling enables us to identify taxa in all kind of environments without cumbersome morphological identifications.

Modern techniques like metabarcoding of environmental DNA by next generation sequencing enables us to analyze total biodiversity in a given dimension and time point.

The problem of limited and expensive taxonomic expertise and sampling can be overcome by the broad and universal coverage of these molecular techniques. The principle of metabarcoding itself originated from microbial ecology research more than 25 year ago and has been combined with high end statistical analysis and presentation possibilities which can now be applied to community assessments of bacteria, fungi and higher organisms like plants and animals. Meta-analysis of eDNA data enables us to relate diversity, interactions and community changes through spatial dimensions and time.


Naturalis Lab
eDNA visual
Scavenger of the Caribbean

Deep sea barcoding of the Dutch Caribean

My goal is to map the biodiversity in the Dutch Caribbean region through genetic biomonitoring. With DNA based techniques we look at species diversity, the distribution and composition of communities and we determine which factors are important for shaping…
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Naturalis aims to be a breeding ground for international scientific talent. Therefore, PhDs have a special position in our organisation.

    - Kevin Beentjes

    The PhD project of Kevin Beentjes aims to develop a biodivery assesment for freshwater macrofauna, by either DNA
    metabarcoding of unsorted freshwater communities, or environmental DNA techniques.  In addition, efforts to complete the DNA
    reference library of Water Framework Directive species will be undertaken. The biodiversity assessment pipeline will be applied
    water quality assessment and food web studies.

    Kevin Beentjes


    biology Msc. course Genomic Architecture for the subject human microbiome at the Institute of Biology Leiden

    In the

    "Bijna niemand weet het! Nederland heeft een heel klein stukje diepzee", kondigde het NOS 8 uur-journaal op 22 februari aan. En zo kon iedereen meegenieten van de 1-meter lange zeepaling en diepzee pissebedden op de Saba Bank. (Bekijk het hele filmpje op YouTube) - 25 juni 2016: Hoe Nederland vecht tegen de kastanjedood

    Schip Pelagia