The Department of Animal Sciences is one out of five departments of Wageningen University. The main themes of the Department are academic education and research, in: Animal Health & Animal Welfare, Health & Safe Food and Sustainable Systems. The Department aims to contribute to a sustainable animal husbandry, aquaculture and fisheries containing healthy and safe products.

A major thesis can be followed at different chair groups within the specializations Master of Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management (MAM) and Master of Animal Sciences (MAS). More information about research within chair groups, requirements to be able to follow a thesis and other information, check the study handbook, study guide, or make an appointment with the contact person of the chair group.

The chair group representative of a certain chair group represents the students who are performing a thesis at that chair group. A few times a year, the chair group representative gives an update on the developments within the chair group during the weekly assembly of study association “De Veetelers”. Complaints regarding the chair group can be layed down at the chair group representative.

 The chair groups of the Department Animal Sciences are:

Animal Breeding and Genomics (ABG)
Animal breeding has developed into an integrated, worldwide industry. Recent years more emphasis has been put on animal biodiversity. This had an enormous impact on livestock, especially in relation to sustainability. This specialization focuses on the genetic improvement of livestock by integrating quantitative, biological, and molecular approaches. Between these approaches, a strong interaction exists, for instance the results of DNA techniques can be useful in breeding as well.

Contact person: dr. Martien Groenen
Contact person education: Bart Ducro
Chair group representative: Sofie Radstaak

Adaptation Physiology (ADP)

This study track within the MSc specialisations Adaptation, Health and Behaviour and Nutrition and Metabolism focuses on the challenges that animals have to cope with and the consequences this has on their (physiological) functioning, with the final aim to improve their health and welfare. These challenges mostly lie in their environment (including nutrition) and are particularly challenging around e.g. birth, hatching, weaning and lactation. This study track utilises a multidisciplinary, animal-level approach, focusing on e.g. behaviour, energy metabolism, immunology and reproductive processes.

Contact person: Bas Kemp 
Contact person education: Nicoline Soede (thesis), Inge Palm (internship)
Chair group representative: Noëlle van Dijk

Animal Ecology and Behaviour (AEB) Behavioural endocrinology and Resource Ecology

Behavioural Ecology (BHE)

The Behavioural Ecology Group (BHE) studies the causes and consequences of animal behaviour with a focus on social contexts. They provide education in Behavioural Ecology and Applied Animal Behaviour. Research focuses on:

  1. Behavioural Ecology
  2. Applied Animal Behaviour
  3. Behaviour of Companion Animals

Contactperson: prof.dr. Marc Naguib 
Contactperson education: Bonne Beerda

Chair group representative: Femke van Zetten

 Wildlife Ecology and Conservation group (WEC)

The Resource Ecology Group performs research and education in community ecology of large herbivores, with particular emphasis on the interactions between herbivores and the vegetation. This is carried out at aggregation levels ranging from plant part to ecosystem, in both temperate and tropical regions. Research is conducted by two groups: 

  1. Rangeland Ecology Group
  2. Disease Ecology Group

Contact person: prof.dr Frank van Langevelde
Contact person education: Pim van Hooft

Animal Health Management (AHM) – Host Microbe Interaction (HMI) Quantitatieve Veterinaire Epidemiologie (QVE)

This specialisation combines animal health and management at the population level with socio-economic aspects. A central theme is the spreading of contagious diseases of animals and the economic and emotional damage of such a spreading. You learn how to prevent diseases: What choices to make during such a crisis? Besides, you learn about the social and economic sides during such a crisis: What effect does a disease outbreak have on its environment? What are the socio-economic consequences for the farmer and his family and for culling the livestock? The program involves several key areas in veterinary epidemiology, such as sampling strategies, diagnostic test performance and transmission models.

Animal Health Management – Host Microbe Interaction (HMI)   

Contact person: prof.dr. Jerry Wells
Contact person education: Peter van Baarlen

Animal Health Management – Quantitative veterinary epidemiology (QVE)

Contact person: Bart van den Borne
Chair group representative: Jasmin Keizer

Aquaculture, Fisheries and Marine Ecology (AFME) - Aquaculture and Fisheries (AFI) and Marine Ecology (MAE)

Aquaculture and Fisheries (AFI)

This chair group focuses on education and research for sustainable aquaculture and fisheries. With a focus on society relevant questions and on the interactions between aquatic organisms and their environment.

Contact person: Geert Wiegertjes
Contact person education: Geertje Schlaman-Kok

Marine Animal Ecology (MAE)

Marine animal ecology (MAE) studies how marine animals adapt in response to a changing environment. Research is focused on different organismal levels, from eco-physiology, early life-stage development, population genomics, up to whole ecological community responses. Subsequently the research is applied to gain an understanding of the consequences of anthropogenic activities to ecosystem services and conservation management.

Contact person: prof. dr. Tinka Murk
Contact person education: Diede Maas
Chair group representative: Benthe klein Koerkmap

Master of Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management (MAM)

During the master of Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management (MAM) you can choose one of the three specialisations:

  • Aquaculture, Marine Governance and Marine Resource Ecology.
  • Aquaculture

Aquaculture deals with the culture of numerous aquatic organisms (such as fish, corals, aquarium animals, shellfish, shrimp, and finfish) in a wide range of culture environments (from semi-extensive pond cultures to high-tech re-circulation systems). This specialization requires thorough knowledge and skills to maintain the biological, physical, and chemical integrity of water bodies, and insight in economic and social driving factors.

Marine Resources and Ecology
This specialization focuses on the resilience of marine ecosystems to external (human induced) pressures, including climate change, irresponsible fisheries, habitat destruction and pollution. Sustainable management of the living resources in the sea include the understanding and use of models of population dynamics and fishing yield. Furthermore, it requires insight into the ecological processes supporting the marine food chains, interaction between and within species and linkages between apparent separate ecosystems.

Marine Governance
In the specialization Marine Governance, the focus lies on improving the sustainable management of aquatic resources and marine ecosystems. This requires knowledge about the interests and strategies of not only governmental agencies, but also commercial enterprises, non-governmental organizations and other international institutions that are involved marine (harmful) activities and uses. In addition, students also get insight in ecological functioning of aquatic organisms and marine resources. The focus lies on analysing and evaluating existing regulatory, economic, and market-based policy instruments and to develop ways to ensure effective use and protection of aquatic resources and marine ecosystems.

More information on these specializations is available in this link.

If you are interested in one of these specialisations, it is advised to make an appointment with the study advisor, Milou van Silfhout. She can inform you on possibilities for a thesis, courses that might be interesting for you and other businesses.

Contact person: Vera van Berlo
Group representative: Annebelle Jonker

Animal Nutrition (ANU)
Agricultural land use and feed production must be efficient worldwide, to maintain the economic costs low. An important way to achieve this aim is to optimise the use of feed resources, for example in terms of nutrient flows. Research in this area focuses on for what the animal uses its feed, its feed conversion(rate) and the amount of feed that is needed to grow or to produce, for instance milk or eggs. Specific topics are feed components and feed processing, feed intake and its regulation, the health of the gastrointestinal tract, absorbed nutrient metabolism, in-vitro techniques and modelling of nutrient flows. The interaction between feed and health of the animal is strongly increasing. You have the ability to focus on livestock, but at the pet industry as well.

Contact person: Wouter Hendriks
Contact person education: dr. Wilbert Pellikaan
Chair group representative: Daniël List

Animal Production Systems (APS)
Approaches of animal production that go further than the individual animal level, are increasing in interest.  Many problems in animal production can only be solved by taking the interrelationships within the production sector and the sector’s relationships with the socio-economic environment into account. Animal Production Systems research focuses on themes, such as the design and analysis of sustainable production systems, animal-human interactions and nutrient and mass flows involving the efficient use of local resources and reduction of environmental loading.

Contact person: Simon Oosting
Contact person education: Eddie Bokkers
Chair group representative: Nienke Wijnen

Applied Zoology (APZ) - Cell Biology and Immunology (CBI), Experimental Zoology (EZO), Human and Animal Physiology (HAP)

This specialisation is meant for students with a strong interest in areas, such as the relationship between structure and function of organ systems in animals or the endocrine control of physiological processes. Three chairgroups are involved in this specialization:

  1. Cell biology and Immunology (CBI): The main themes discussed are immune responses of animals and how animals defend themselves against harmful influences from the environment.
  2. Experimental Zoology (EZO): The relation between shape and function of the animal is the most important subject. You explore for instance how the requirements of animals and environmental factors influence the physique of the animal.
  3. Human and Animal Physiology (HAP): The physiological aspects of reproduction and nutrition are the main subjects of this chair group.

Applied Zoology – Cellbiology and Immunology (CBI)
Contact person: Huub Savelkoul
Contact person education: Marloes van Splunter-Berg

Applied Zoology - Experimental Zoology (EZO)
Contact person: Johan van Leeuwen
Contact person education: Anneke Valk

Applied Zoology - Human and Animal Physiology (HAP)
Contact person: Jaap Keijer
Contact person education: Katja Teerds

Chair group representative: Nienke Wijnen

Other chairgroups, outside Department or Animal Sciences:

Business Economics Group (BEC)
Contact person: Alfons Oude Lansink
Contact person education: Monique Mourits
Chair group representative: Tim Lammersen