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Department of Marine Zoology (NBC)

Overkoepelend instituut: Naturalis Biodiversity Center (NBC), meer

Postbus 9517
2300 RA Leiden

Tel.: +31-(0)71-568 76 00
Fax: +31-(0)71-568 76 66

Research in the department of Marine Zoology is focused on marine biodiversity, especially with regard to coral reefs, which are the world’s most species-rich marine biotopes. Although Indo-Pacific coral reefs are richer in species than those of the Atlantic, the latter is important with regard to comparing circumtropical evolutionary patterns. Furthermore, Atlantic coral reef biota are supposed to be well known but, like their Indo-Pacific counterparts, they still have a potential for the discovery of unknown species.

Due to climatic change and human impact the coral reefs are under pressure. Sea level fluctuations as a result of climatic change have had a large long-term impact on marine biodiversity patterns. Recently, siltation resulting from deforestation, pollution due to urbanization, and coral bleaching linked to elevated seawater temperatures, are seen as major human-induced impacts on marine species diversity that play a role in tropical marine coastal areas.

Invasive marine species form a global problem and are an important research topic world-wide. Much of the information obtained on marine biodiversity is also relevant for nature conservation.

The Naturalis Marine Team ("Zeeteam") organizes a monthly meeting on marine biodiversity topics (recent and past). The meetings deal with ongoing marine biodiversity research in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and in the Indo-Pacific. Marine species (animals and plants) recorded as new in the Netherlands (exotics) are also discussed. The meetings are attended by biologists, paleontologists, students and others with a special interest in marine life.

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