AEW-22806 Marine Systems


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical26
Group work4
Course coordinator(s)dr. IA van de Leemput
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. PJH Reijnders
prof. dr. M Scheffer
dr. R Osinga
dr. IA van de Leemput
prof. dr. SR Bush
Msc ME Vollebregt
dr. MJA Christianen
B van der Bolt
M Kooi
dr. MJ Baptist
Dr. ML Kraan
Examiner(s)dr. IA van de Leemput

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

ENP-52806 Ocean and Coastal Governance; AFI-20306 Aquaculture and Fisheries; AEW-51806 Introduction Marine and Estuarine Ecology.

Continuation courses:

AFI-32806 Marine Resources Management, ENP-35806 Marine Environmental Quality and Governance.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants (and has on top of that reserved places for new MSc students). The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual. See Academic Year ( -> Registration for Courses.
This course focuses on unraveling the key mechanisms that determine sustainability of the human use of marine ecosystems. Traditionally natural sciences have seen humans as an external driver of nature, whereas social sciences have considered nature as a resource for humans. However, such separate views are no longer sufficient if we want to understand what drives the complex interplay of humans and their environment. There are no natural systems without people, nor social systems without nature. Social and ecological systems are truly interdependent and constantly co-evolving, and dynamics are often complex. In this course we analyse both the ecological and the social complexity of systems ranging from coral reefs to the Wadden Sea, addressing questions such as what are the key factors challenging resilience of the marine social-ecological system, how is the system governed, and what would be needed to ensure its sustainability.
During the course, students will collectively investigate marine cases dealing with prominent issues in the management of the social-ecological system. Students will play an active role in this course. Activities include tutorials, role-playing games, and carousel teaching. Students will also experience a few days on the island of Texel (in week 3) including a boat trip on the Wadden Sea with limited capacity. As this course serves as an entrance course for the MSc Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management (MAM), students of this programme are given priority; the same is true for students for the MSC Biology (MBI) with specialisation Marine Biology, and the BSc Minor Seagriculture (WUSEA).

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- analyze complex marine social-ecological systems from a systemic perspective, based on an in-depth understanding of ecosystem dynamics, and social/political dynamics;
- point to key factors that impact the resilience of a particular social-ecological system;
- assess how a particular social-ecological system could potentially be steered into a desired direction;
- integrate and apply obtained knowledge by an in-depth analysis of a particular social-ecological marine system;
- apply sampling techniques commonly used in sea research.


- attending lectures;
- reading and studying background material;
- attending tutorials;
- active participation in group assignments and field work;
- report writing and presentation.


- case study reports and presentations (group) (25%);
- written exam (closed book) (75%);
Results of partial interim examinations (deelcijfers) are valid for the period of three years.


A reader and scientific articles.

Compulsory for: MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMSc1AF
Restricted Optional for: MBIBiologyMScG: Marine Biology1AF
Compulsory for: WUSEABSc Minor Seagriculture1AF