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.

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Universiteit van Vlaanderen

Onze Natuur


Lachs L, Johari NAM, Le DQ, Safuan CDM, Duprey NN, Tanaka K, Hong TC, Ory NC, Bachok Z, Baker DM, Kochzius M, Shirai K (2019) Effects of tourism-derived sewage on coral reefs: Isotopic assessments identify effective bioindicators. Marine Pollution Bulletin 148: 85-96


Ratsimbazafy H, Lavitra T, Kochzius M, Hugé J (2019) Emergence and diversity of marine protected areas in Madagascar. Marine Policy 105: 91-108


Van Nieuwenhove AHM, Ratsimbazafy HA, Kochzius M (2019) Cryptic diversity and limited connectivity in octopuses: recommendations for fisheries management. PLoS One 14(5): e0214748


Crandall ED, Riginos C, Bird C, Liggins L, Treml E, Beger, M, Barber PH, Connolly SR, Cowman PF, DiBattista JD, Eble JA, Magnuson SF, Horne JB, Kochzius M, Lessios HA, Liu SYV, Ludt WB, Madduppa H, Pandolfi JM, Toonen R, Contributing Members of the Diversity of the Indo‐Pacific Network, Gaither MR (2019) The molecular biogeography of the Indo‐Pacific: Testing hypotheses with multispecies genetic patterns. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 2019: 1-18


Huyghe F, Kochzius M (2018) Sea surface currents and geographic isolation shape the genetic population structure of a coral reef fish in the Indian Ocean. PLoS ONE 13(3): e0193825


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