Prof. Dr.


Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Room F 8.12
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussels | Belgium


The Marine Biology Lab at the VUB specialises in research on (molecular) marine ecology of fauna from the poles and temperate seas to the tropics and from invertebrates to fishes. The main research topic is the connectivity of populations by pelagic early life history stages (eggs and larvae), which can potentially drift with ocean currents hundreds of kilometres. Since adults of most animals in these ecosystems are sedentary and do not migrate, dispersal by early life history stages is the only possibility to replenish exploited populations or to re-colonise disturbed habitats. Knowledge about these processes is important in the context of the design of marine protected area (MPA) networks and ecosystem resilience after natural or anthropogenic disturbance. Exchange among populations is investigated by using molecular genetic techniques (PCR, DNA sequencing and microsatellites) and population genetic analysis. These genetic techniques can also aid species delineation (molecular systematics), species identification (DNA barcoding), and the reconstruction of evolutionary relationships (molecular phylogenetics). Another area of research is the multivariate analysis of community structures in comparison with environmental parameters. Natural and anthropogenic disturbances can have profound negative effects on the faunal community structure and function of marine ecosystems. Such studies can give insights into sometimes subtle responses of these communities to stressors.



Hui M, Kraemer WE, Seidel C, Nuryanto A, Joshi A, Kochzius M (2016). Comparative genetic population structure of three endangered giant clams (Tridacnidae) throughout the Indo-West Pacific: implications for divergence, connectivity, and conservation. Journal of Molluscan Studies, doi: 10.1093/mollus/eyw001

Huyghe F, Kochzius M (2016) Highly restricted gene flow between disjunct populations of the skunk clownfish (Amphiprion akallopisos) in the Indian Ocean. Marine Ecology - An Evolutionary Perspective, doi: 10.1111/maec.12357

van der Ven RM, Triest L, De Ryck DJR, Mwaura JM, Mohammed MS, Kochzius M (2015) Population genetic structure of the stony coral Acropora tenuis shows high but variable connectivity in East Africa. Journal of Biogeography, doi: 10.1111/jbi.12643

Ngeve MN, Leermakers M, Elskens M, Kochzius M (2015) Assessment of trace metal pollution in sediments and intertidal fauna at the coast of Cameroon. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 187: 337

Dohna TA, Timm J, Hamid L, Kochzius M (2015) Limited connectivity and a phylogeographic break characterize populations of the pink anemonefish, Amphiprion perideraion, in the Indo-Malay Archipelago: inferences from a mitochondrial and microsatellite loci. Ecology and Evolution 5: 1717-1733