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Monitoring Marine Biodiversity (EBC)


Admission requirements

Enthousiastic students

Contact information

Coordinator: Dr. A. Gittenberger


The course “Monitoring Marine Biodiversity” will focus on monitoring marine biodiversity, from micro-organisms like virusses and bacteria to marine animals and plants world-wide. Next to an overview of the methods that may be used for assessing biodiversity, varying from molecular analyses to scuba-diving and the use of ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), an overview will be presented of all major marine taxa, the diagnostic characters and the best ways to preserve the material for reference collections and/or DNA-analyses. Next to these monitoring, identification and preservation methods, it will be illustrated how one should plan the logistics of a marine monitoring expedition and finally how datasets with marine species communities can be analysed and presented in scientific publications and in govermental or other commercially issued reports. This four week course will start with a full week of presentations, a second week in which one learns how to identify species and how to plan a fieldwork expedition, a third week with the planned fieldwork (in teams of about 8 students) and a fourth week in which the data will be analysed and presented in a group’s report and presentation.

Learning goals

Course objectives:

  1. Gaining general knowledge about the marine biodiversity that is present worldwide including both micro-and macro-organisms.
  2. Gaining general knowledge about marine monitoring methods of both species and water quality parameters like salinity, pH, and diluted oxigen.
  3. Gaining experience in planning and organising a total species inventory
  4. Gaining experience in conducting a marine species inventory
  5. Gaining experience in ways to preserve various marine taxa for [1] DNA-analyses, [2] morphological analyses, and [3] for analyses of bacteria and virusses living on or in organisms.
  6. Gaining experience in interpreting, analysing and communicating about the results of species inventories in the marine environment.
  7. Gaining general knowledge about the analyses and reporting that are done on the basis of marine species inventories for respectively the general public, industry, the government and the international scientific community.

Final qualifications:

  1. Knowledge of the diversity of marine species wordwide and ways to detect and monitor these species in the field.
  2. Knowledge of reporting marine monitoring results to the general public, industry, the government and the international scientific community.
  3. Knowledge of planning and conducting marine monitoring project.


Week 1: Presentations
Week 2: Identifying and preserving species = mostly lab work with aquaria.
Week 3: Fieldwork along the Dutch and/or German coast.
Week 4: Analyses and presentation of results

Mode of instruction

A combination of oral presentations, practicals, and a small research project

Assessment method

  • Sociability and monitoring skills during fieldwork

  • Exam in fourth week, testing the general knowledge of monitoring methods, identifying species and the capacity of a student to plan marine fieldwork

  • Group report and oral presentation of the fieldwork results

Reading list

Fish, J.D. & S. Fish, 2011 (Third edition). A student’s guide to the seashore. Cambridge university press, New York. ISBN 978-0-521-72059-5.


Via USIS and enrollen in Blackboard