“Afstudeerproject” course at the Ecology and Biodiversity Group

First of all, read the course rules and regulations here.
If you have any questions regarding the course rules, regulations, forms and documents, you need to contact the course coordinators (email: scriptie.bio@uu.nl). Group coordinators are not the course coordinators. They can only help you to find projects in their group.

As Ecology and Biodiversity Group we offer you different projects at different course periods. Here, you can find the topics of our staff:



Soil Ecology and Peatland Conservation

Duygu Tolunay

Microbial Biodiversity

George A. Kowalchuk

Plant Community Ecology

Kathryn E. Barry

Plant Biodiversity

Yann Hautier

Forest Ecology and Conservation

Marijke van Kuijk, Joeri A. Zwerts

Quantitative Biodiversity Dynamics

Quantitative Biodiversity Dynamics

*Daily supervisor can be someone else from the group.

If you would like to join our group for the “Afstudeerproject“ course, please fill the form below:


  • The application process for the next academic year (2024-2025) will open on May 1st, 2024.

If you are only looking for an examiner, please fill this form:

If you cannot find answers to your questions in the “Afstudeerproject” course webpage or in the webpage of Ecology and Biodiversity Group, you can send an email to E&B Group Coordinator, Duygu Tolunay. Please use this e-mail address to forward your questions: EB.afstudeerproject@uu.nl

If you have a research question that you want to test, your own projects are also welcome in our group (mention your project in the application form under motivation text section). In this case, the research question should be relevant to the topics of our group, you should have an idea about the experimental design, and it can be tested during the duration of the course.

Important points

  • Arrange your internship (stage) and thesis (scriptie) component of “afstudeerproject” at the same period. This is the preferred structure by the E&B Group and compulsory for the course (with motivated exceptions sometimes allowed).
  • We don’t offer PLONS course unless the supervisor and the student are agreed on.
  • If you do your internship (stage) and thesis (scriptie) part outside the UU, you have to arrange an examiner. If you need an examiner from the E&B group, you must arrange it BEFORE starting your internship. Otherwise, we will not respond the last-minute requests.
  • If you do your internship (stage) part outside the UU, also arrange the thesis (scriptie) part with the same institution. This is a course requirement and then you only need to arrange an examiner from the UU which E&B group can offer you an examiner.
  • If you do your internship (stage) or/and thesis (scriptie) part outside the UU, first check the list of examiners from the course webpage and try to find a best fit to your topic. Then write to the relevant group coordinator about your request. For E&B Group, you need to fill a form: https://forms.office.com/e/W5J9UBJ18M

Available Ecology Focused Projects out of Utrecht University

Project 1

Een ecologisch onderzoek aan de geelbuikvuurpad (Bombina variegata) in de departementen Creuse en Allier in Frankrijk.

Studenten brengen de verspreiding in beeld, en maken ze een foto van de buik als individuele herkenning. Hiermee krijgen we inzicht in de ecologie van de geelbuikvuurpad en kunnen we populatiegrootte en voortplantingssucces monitoren. Omdat de vindplaatsen (habitat) in kaart wordt gebracht kunnen deze regelmatig worden bezocht.

Verantwoordelijkheden van studenten

  • Vindplaatsen geelbuikvuurpad noteren (coördinaten en datum)
  • Buikfoto van elk individu maken
  • Habitatfoto maken
  • Een eigen onderzoeksdoel formuleren naar eigen inzicht en haalbaarheid
  • Huisvesting zelf regelen
  • Vervoer zelf regelen
  • Eigen financien regelen

Duur van de stage

Afhankelijk van de mogelijkheden kunnen srtudenten onderzoek doen in de maanden mei t/m augustus liefst een aan een gesloten periode van minimaal 5 weken
Begeleider – Contact: Rob Veen robveen@tigouleix.nl

Project 2

Mortality of mussels in the Oosterschelde
Where: Wageningen Marine Research in Yerseke.
When: Start 4-9-2023 for at least 3 months, longer is possible.


Since 2014, mass mortality events (MMEs) in farmed and wild blue mussel populations have been reported in several European countries. Despite extensive research, a single explanation for these MMEs is often not found. It is likely that multiple factors, such as diseases, hypoxia, pollution, harmful algae blooms or temperature extremes, play a cumulative role that leads to weakening of the mussels and ultimately to death. However, MMEs can seriously affect wild mussel populations and the commercial production of mussels, leading to ecological disruption and socio-economic vulnerabilities. It is therefore of utmost importance to gain a better understanding of the risk factors for mass mortality in mussels.

The project

In order to do this we collected data from mussel farmers in the Oosterschelde. The data comprises the amount of mussels seeded somewhere and the amount of mussels collected after a certain time. By calculating the survival probability, we hope to discover patterns and link survival probability to environmental factors. Your job will be to edit the data and perform data analysis.

We offer you the opportunity to work on a current problem and perhaps on the solution. We will help you to improve your data analysis skills. We encourage it to also participate in other ongoing projects at the institute.


  • Affinity with data
  • Experience with excel
  • Experience with R and/or Qgis is an advantage but not a strict requirement

Additional note: There is an internship allowance.
Contact: Jildou.schotanus@wur.nl