Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

David Thieltges

Senior Scientist
Phone number
+31 (0)222 369 505
Senior Scientist

Ecology of marine parasites

Interactions between parasites, hosts and the environment in coastal ecosystems


Photos courtesy of David Thieltges, Hans Hillewaert, Network3D Software


Our research

Our research group strives to understand the extent and ecological role of parasitism in marine ecosystems on various spatial and organizational scales. Using lab and field experimental approaches, we study the effects of parasites on host individuals, populations and communities. We are also interested in how parasites influence the topology and dynamics of food webs. Another line of research aims to understand the patterns and processes underlying infections of hosts. For example, we investigate how ambient diversity, abiotic factors such as temperature or the increasing number of invasive species can affect parasite transmission and disease risk. Finally, we study large-scale patterns of parasitism using literature-based datasets and phylogenetic, biogeographical and macroecologial approaches.


Our team

David Thieltges - Head of research group. CV: 2001 MSc/Diplom in Biology (summa cum laude), Philipps University Marburg (D); 2006 PhD in Ecology (summa cum laude), Christian Albrechts University Kiel/Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research - Wadden Sea Station Sylt (D); 2006-2007 DAAD Postdoc fellowship at Aarhus University (DK); 2007-2010 DFG Postdoc fellowship at University of Otago (NZ); Since 2010 research scientist at NIOZ

Jennifer Welsh - PhD student. Project 'Biodiversity and disease risk in marine ecosystems'; in collaboration with Corina Brussaard (NIOZ). Promotor: Jaap van der Meer (NIOZ, VU)

Anouk Goedknegt - PhD student. Project 'Effects of invasive species on native predator-prey and pathogen-host webs in the Wadden Sea'; bilateral research project in cooperation with partners at NIOZ (Texel, NL) and AWI (Sylt, D). Promotor: Jaap van der Meer (NIOZ, VU)

Luca Prins - MSc student. Project 'Biodiversity and marine diseases'; University of Wageningen, NL

Jeffrey Knol - MSc student. Project ‘Spillback effects of invasive oysters in mussels’ Groningen University, NL

Mark Bouwmeester - MSc student. Project ‘Multiple predator effects on parasites and prey’ Groningen University, NL

Former MSc students - Wouter Koch (RUG Groningen, NL), Tabea Stier (University Hohenheim, D), Marieke Feis (RUG Groningen, NL), Reinier Nauta (RUG Groningen, NL), Jarco Havermans (RUG Groningen, NL), Anne Karin Schuster (University of Landau, D), Marin van Regteren (RUG Groningen, NL), Caroline Liddell (Wageningen University, NL), Annabelle Dairain (Pierre et Marie Curie College Parais, F), David Shoesmith (RUG Groningen, NL), Boukje Heidstra (RUG Groningen, NL), Sarah Bedolfe (RUG Groningen, NL), Eeke Haanstra (RUG Groningen, NL), Romy Cartiere (University of Amsterdam, NL)

Former interns & visitors - Anke Hempel (D), Mirjana Markovic (D), Estefania Velilla (NL), Karlos Ribeiro de Moraes (BR), Wiem Boussellaa (PhD student; Sfax University, Tunisia)


MSc projects

Various research projects for MSc students are available all year round. They range from field studies over field and lab experiments to literature-based meta-analytical approaches. Please contact us for more details.


About our work

Jennifer Welsh on predators of parasites (ZeeinZicht blog - in Dutch)

Anouk Goedknegt on the pitfalls of experimental work (ZeeinZicht blog - in Dutch)

David Thieltges on digging data in the library (ZeeinZicht blog - in Dutch)

Sarah Bedolfe's blog, including her MSc thesis work with us (

Our work covered in WadWeten (in Dutch): Visparasieten; Parasitisme in de Waddezee; Parasieten en wadplaten; Muiltje voorkomt voetinfectie bij mossel; Japanse oester kwam niet met lege handen aan

Our work covered in science blogs (in English): Parasite Ecology; Biogeography Bits; The Stochastic Scientist; Parasitologyblog1, Parasite of the Day


Our publications

For pdfs cklick here: ResearchGate

See also: ResearcherID E-5719-2015

NIOZ publications

Linked projects

Effects of invasive species on native predator-prey and pathogen-host webs
David Thieltges
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research - Ocean and Coastal Research
Project duration
31 Dec 2011 - 30 Aug 2016