The MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management (MAM) is a two year programme, which comprises of 120 credits (ECTS). Students learn to manage living resources in all types of water bodies, natural or man-made. The programme provides understanding of the biology and ecology of aquatic organisms and water bodies.
Oceans, seas, estuaries and lakes are major providers of ecosystem goods and services such as food, tourism and coastal protection. In many cases, exploitation levels have bypassed the carrying capacity of these ecosystems, leading to devastating effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. To preserve marine biodiversity and its ecosystem functions, innovative and sustainable solutions are necessary. Therefore, there is a need for young professionals who know how to take an integrative approach to marine ecosystems management.
The MAM programme starts with courses that give a common basis on aquaculture and marine resource management. In these courses, you will learn the principles of marine ecology and the governance of marine systems, the biology and ecology of aquatic organisms and the role of science in public policy processes. Within the Aquaculture and Marine Resource master programme, you can choose one of three specialisations: Aquaculture, Marine resources and ecology, Marine Governance. Graduates are skilled in techniques and methods for analysing and solving biological environmental problems in aquatic systems by looking at the organisms and the communities including ecological, management and social aspects.
All students acquire a thorough understanding of processes governing life in any type of water body. In addition, students can choose to put more emphasis on any of the following aspects: ecology, natural resource management, capture fisheries or aquaculture. Depending on the specialisation the topics differ.
Aquaculture This specialisation deals with the culture of numerous aquatic organisms (such as finfish, shrimp, shellfish, ornamental fish, corrals, sponges and algae) in a wide range of culture environments (from sea enclosures to semiextensive ponds and high-tech recirculation systems). Production methods should be sustainable, guarantee the health and wellbeing of the culture organisms, be economically viable, socially accepted, and result in safe and healthy products. This can only be achieved through knowledge and skills in aquatic production ecology based on knowledge of biological, physical and chemical integrity of water bodies and insight in economic and social driving factors.
Marine Resources and Ecology This specialisation focuses on the sensitivity of marine communities in relation to human interventions, including climate change, fisheries and habitat destruction. You will learn to address limiting factors in order to be able to contribute to an improved biodiversity, environmental quality and sustainability of marine ecosystems. To do so, it requires insight into the ecological processes that form the basis for marine food chains, the interaction between species and the functioning of the different ecosystems.
Marine Governance The main focus of this specialisation lies on the sustainable governance and economics of marine and coastal systems. The goals and strategies of commercial enterprises, non-governmental and governmental organisations and international institutions are analysed, and their effects are evaluated in relation to both organisations and ecosystems involved.
Your future career
The interest in sustainable management of the seas and coasts is booming, while there are only few professionals available with an integrated and specialised training in this field. Numerous types of specialists are needed, including technical specialists, researchers, consultants and project leaders in commercial, governmental and non-governmental organisations.
Alumna Pascalle Jacobs. "I had already graduated as a terrestrial ecologist before I started the Master Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management. I started the MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management mainly because I saw a lot of potential in marine research. I did my thesis at IMARES and after my graduation they gave me the opportunity to work there as a PhD on a research project. In my research, I look at if and to what extent big amounts of young mussels attached to ropes or nets (mussel seed collectors) change the environment. These young mussels eat a lot so one of my research questions is if this grazing affects the amount of food available for other animals."
Related programmes: MSc Animal Sciences MSc Biology MSc Environmental Sciences MSc Forest and Nature Conservation.