Marine Evolution & Ecology


We study the diversity, distribution, evolution and ecology of marine animals from diverse habitats ranging from the open ocean to coral reefs and marine lakes. We employ a combination of morphological, molecular and experimental approaches to obtain a better understanding of the evolutionary history as well as the resilience of marine biodiversity. Our overall aim is to provide insight into the processes that generate and maintain marine biodiversity on ecological as well as evolutionary timescales. This information can be applied to the conservation of these organisms, in particular in the light of global change and direct human impacts.

Marine Evolution & Ecology Group 2022

Group leader

Dr. Katja T.C.A. Peijnenburg

works here

Affiliated researchers

Our programmes
& research themes

Pseudopontonides principis on black coral

Caribbean marine biodiversity

The Dutch Caribbean has a long history of taxonomic research, starting with species descriptions by Pallas (1766). In the last decades much research on the natural history of the Dutch Caribbean was published by scientists affiliated with Naturalis…
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Evolution in the open ocean

The focus is on marine zooplankton, a taxonomically highly diverse assemblage (~7000 described species in 11 phyla and 27 functional groups). The aim is to provide general insight into the processes that generate and maintain diversity in the open ocean…
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Reef Maldives - Tane Sinclair-Taylor

Reef resilience

What will coral reefs look like in a future with rising sea surface temperature and coastal human activities? The theme lead by Lisa focuses on understanding the underlying dynamics that cause the biodiversity in coral reefs to transition. With this…
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Marine invertebrate genomics

Invertebrate organisms represent 95% of animal biodiversity, however, few genomic resources currently exist for the group. We focus on marine invertebrates, which include the most ancient animal lineages. Their genomes will provide insight into deep-time…
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of our research

Photograph of the pteropod Heliconoides inflatus

Evolution of planktonic gastropods

Planktonic gastropods have tremendous potential for the study of long-term marine evolutionary processes because they are the only living aminal plankton with a good fossil record. Although most marine gastropods are benthic, two large groups (referred to…
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Members of the group 'Marine Evolution & Ecology' contribute lectures and hands-on lab practicals to BSc and MSc biology courses at Dutch universities in Leiden, Groningen, Wageningen and Amsterdam.

Additionally, we regularly supervise individual research projects at BSc or MSc level. If you are interested in doing a project with us, drop any of the researchers an email.