Marine Evolution & Ecology


We study the organisms that drift with ocean currents. Plankton are at the basis of marine foodchains and are sensitive indicators of climate change. We employ a combination of phylogenetic, morphological and genomic approaches to obtain a better understanding of the diversity, evolutionary history and adaptive potential of key groups of marine zooplankton. Our goal is to provide general insight into the processes that generate and maintain diversity in the open ocean and to contribute to making better predictions of the consequences of global change.

Group leader

Dr. Katja T.C.A. Peijnenburg

Follow the group on Twitter #planktonteam  @NaturalisMarine



work here

Affiliated researchers

Our programmes 
& research themes

A selection of the main topics we are working on:


  • Vidi project- Katja Peijnenburg (2016-2021): Evolution of planktonic gastropods in an acidifying ocean (PLANKGAS).
  • Phd project- Lisette Mekkes (2017-2021): Growth, calcification, and vulnerability to ocean acidification of shelled pteropods.
  • PhD project- Le Qin Choo (2017-2021): Population genomics of coiled pteropods in an acidifying ocean.
  • Marie Curie postdoc- Deborah Wall-Palmer (2017-2019): Atlantidae: Predators at the ocean surface and indicators of change (POSEIDON).
  • Marie Curie postdoc- Paula Ramos-Silva (2019-2021): The evolution and future of planktonic gastropod calcification (EPIC).

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.