Kevin Beentjes

Kevin Beentjes

My research focus is on the integration of molecular tools in biodiversity monitoring, mainly in the field of freshwater quality assessments. This is also the main topic of my PhD, where among other projects I work on the use of eDNA for community assessments in Dutch freshwater systems. Before my PhD, I worked on the national DNA barcoding campaign to establish a reference database for Dutch animals, plants and fungi. I am currently also working with our spin-off company BioMon, the Netherlands Center for Genetic Biodiversity Assessment.


Environmental DNA, DNA metabarcoding, freshwater, invertebrates, bioassessment


My main research interest lies with the application of molecular techniques in biodiversity monitoring.

Part of this involves monitoring programs set out by the European Water Framwork Directive and, on a national level, the Kader Richtlijn Water. The ultimate goal is to adapt environmental DNA techniques for the detection and identification of freshwater species with non-invasive sampling.

Collecting macroinvertebrate samples.
Aquatic plants.


My current research is part of the DNA Waterscan project, funded by the Gieskes-Strijbis Fonds. This PhD project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Menno Schilthuizen and Dr. Arjen Speksnijder. The topics that I work on within this PhD are:

  • Metabarcoding of macroinvertebrates and eDNA
  • Creating a validated DNA reference library
  • Optimization of bioinformatics pipeline
  • Comparison of morphological and molecular assessments
  • Temporal and spatial patterns in environmental DNA
  • Impact assessments using environmental DNA


  • Beentjes KK, Speksnijder AGCL, Schilthuizen M, Schaub BEM, van der Hoorn BB (2018) The influence of macroinvertebrate abundance on the assessment of freshwater quality in The Netherlands. Metabarcoding and Metagenomics 2:e26744. doi:10.3897/mbmg.2.26744
  • Beentjes KK, Speksnijder AGCL, Schilthuizen M, Hoogeveen M, van der Hoorn BB (2019) The effects of spatial and temporal replicate sampling on eDNA metabarcoding. PeerJ 7:e7335. doi:10.7717/peerj.7335
  • Beentjes KK, Speksnijder AGCL, Schilthuizen M, Hoogeveen M, Pastoor R, van der Hoorn BB (2019) Increased performance of DNA metabarcoding of macroinvertebrates by taxonomic sorting. PLoS ONE 14:e0226527. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0226527

All publications


I’ve assisted in several courses, including the first-year’s field course “Excursies Flora & Fauna”, and provided guest lectures both in and outside Leiden. I regularly supervise BSc and MSc research projects and internships. Check the Naturalis website for available projects, or send me an email to discuss possibilities.