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Academic Education

Marijke was educated at the University of Utrecht (Biology) and The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (MSc Marine Ecology, 1996), where she studied toxic algae blooms in the North Sea. She completed her PhD in 2013 at the University of Wageningen (NL) which focussed on Marine Mammal Ecology, studying the abundance and distribution of cetaceans using different methodology approaches and (low-cost) seagoing ‘Platforms of Opportunity’.

Ph.D Study

In order to address the lack of data and the emerging conservation needs of cetaceans, her Ph.D study set out to explore the use of flexible survey designs, using Multi-Method approaches and Platform of Opportunity (PO) based data, and in particularly adopting these in areas which have received little spatial or temporal cetacean survey coverage. Her study focused on several species of cetaceans: the minke whales in the North Sea, harbour porpoises in the Irish Sea & English Channel, short-beaked common dolphins in the English Channel, Risso’s dolphins off Bardsey Island (Cardigan Bay) and two tropical cetacean communities (Gabon in West Africa and Suriname in South America). She used Multi-Method approaches, including line-transect distance sampling techniques during boat-based surveys, mark-recapture on photo-ID images and habitat modelling techniques using land-based data. Several Platforms of Opportunity were used in this study, ranging from ferries, oceanographic and fisheries research vessels, oil exploration vessels, supply vessels and wildlife-watching boats. These vessels typically cross an area of sea for other purposes but the advantage is that manning such vessels yield low-cost approaches of collecting large quantities of scientific data on marine fauna. Her Ph.D. ‘studying the abundance and distribution of cetaceans using Multi-Method approaches and Platforms of Opportunity’ supervised by Prof. ir. dr. P.J.H. Reijnders (IMARES-Texel), was awarded through the University of Wageningen in 2013.

Wider Caribbean Region

Her most recent studies have focused on the marine fauna within the Guianas (Suriname and neighbouring countries) and she is now an experienced advisor to the MaMa CoCo Sea group (Marine Mammal Conservation Corridor for Northern South America) an initiative from the French Agency for Marine Protected Areas supported by the CAR-SPAW office for the Wider Caribbean Region. The initiative aims at technical cooperation and conservation management action in the Guianas-Brazil Sub-Region covering the countries along northeastern Latin America. Several scientific papers on Marine Fauna have been published in relation to Marijke’s research in the waters offshore Suriname.


Since 2004, Marijke has studied the cetaceans occurring off SW England during offshore, inshore and coastal surveys including surveys from the Gry Maritha and the Scillonian III (between Penzance and the Scilly Isles). She has published several papers regarding this work. In 2007 she joined forces with ‘Marine Discovery’ of Penzance and oversees the data collection, photo-ID catalogues and analysis from this valuable research.

Wageningen Marine Research

Marijke currently works as a guest employee for Wageningen Marine Research (Wageningen University in the Netherlands).

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