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Biological Sciences: Freshwater & Marine Biology (track)

Biological Sciences: Freshwater & Marine Biology (track)

Water covers about 70% of our planet and sets it apart from every other planet we know. Water plays an important role in the global climate and is a source of food, minerals, energy and recreation. Aquatic ecosystems teem with organisms, ranging from tiny phytoplankton and zooplankton to coral, fish, and whales. Unfortunately, aquatic ecosystems are also used as ‘dumping grounds' for much of society's waste and are profoundly affected by global change.

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In the two-year track Freshwater & Marine Biology in the Master’s programme Biological Sciences you will immerse yourself in research ranging from tropical marine biology to the ecology of wetlands ecosystems.

Freshwater & Marine Biology is the new name for the track formely known as: 'Limnology and Oceanography'.


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Is Freshwater & Marine Biology the study for you?

It is, if you:

  • have a solid background in biology;
  • are eager to expand your knowledge and skills in freshwater or marine ecosystems;
  • want to learn to address issues of global interest;
  • are looking for the freedom to compile your own programme;
  • want the advantages of a small-scale programme, where students and staff all know each other and you have the opportunity to become part of the national and international research network of the staff. 

What does Freshwater & Marine Biology have to offer me?

The Netherlands is a world leader in water management and aquatic research. The track Freshwater and Marine Biology applies this expertise to its investigation of lake, river, sea and ocean ecosystems. It is unique in the Netherlands in that it devotes attention to both freshwater and marine ecosystems and integrates the scientific disciplines relevant to aquatic ecosystems.

In this two-year track you will reflect on topics such as:

  • impacts of climate change on freshwater and marine ecosystems
  • harmful algal blooms and water management
  • the role of aquatic microorganisms
  • the biodiversity of coral reef ecosystems
  • food-web interactions and fisheries
  • sediment-water interactions
  • the responses of aquatic organisms to changes in water quality


The topics are investigated from different perspectives, ranging from molecular studies to laboratory experiments and field investigations, long-term monitoring and the development of advanced mathematical models.  Among this wide range of opportunities, you will select those topics and approaches that best fit your own interest.

Research areas

The following research areas are offered at the University of Amsterdam:

  • Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology
  • Aquatic Microbiology
  • Marine Microbiology
  • Tropical Marine Biology
  • Theoretical Ecology

Relevant information

Learn more about the study programme

Check the entry requirements

Read more about tuition fees

Sign up for: 'Meet the Master'

World renowned affiliated reseach programmes

Freshwater & Marine Biology has a key role in the recent established Amsterdam Knowledge Centre of Water Science. It also supports the Top Sector Water in the Netherlands with know-how of maritime, delta and related water technologies. Teaching and learning activities in this track include laboratory and field work and are in close collaboration with institutes such as:

The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO)

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)

The Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies (IMARES)

The Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity Foundation (CARMABI)

Biological Sciences: Freshwater & Marine Biology (track)
Degree programme MSc Biological Sciences
Type Regular study programme
Mode Full-time
Credits 120 ECTS, 24 months
Language of instruction English
Starts in September
CROHO code 60707