Why is the research carried out at the University of Utrecht?

Stranding expertise hub

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University is the only educational institute in the Netherlands where veterinarians are trained. The Department of Veterinary Pathology collects and presents data about the working of cells, tissues and organs in health and disease in a wide range of animal species. This means that we have much knowledge about disease processes in wildlife and other species of animal and we use this is our investigations of stranded animals.

Recognising patterns in strandings
This vast knowledge of veterinary pathology, in combination with state-of-the-art facilities and a central location makes the veterinary school’s pathology department the perfect base for the stranding project’s research activities. All necropsies carried out on porpoises found stranded in the Netherlands throughout the year are now performed by our strandings team in one location. This large bank of strandings data in Utrecht means that patterns in strandings and causes of death can be recognised, communicated, and promptly addressed.

Whale and dolphin strandings
In addition to the hundreds of porpoises washed up on the Dutch coast each year, whales and dolphins occasionally strand on these coastlines. Working closely with the National Stranding Network, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and several other partners, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine has a central role in the investigation of these events.