Judith Bakker,


I have been fascinated with ocean life, and sharks in particular (but I also have a slight obsession with whales and diving physiology), ever since I can remember. Nonetheless, I went on to earn a bachelors degree in bio-medical sciences from the University of Amsterdam, after which I moved to Panama to work as a dive instructor. Spending so many hours in and on the ocean gave me no other option but to pursue a masters degree in Limnology & Oceanography, once back in The Netherlands. After many additional endeavours, I started my PhD with Stefano in 2014.

My research addresses the development and application of an environmental DNA (eDNA) approach for the assessment of marine (and also some freshwater) communities, with a special focus on elasmobranch species, linking community differences detected through eDNA with specific environmental and/or anthropogenic factors.

It is absolutely exciting to be part of this developing field of eDNA research, and hopefully to contribute to marine and elasmobranch conservation with our research. With the rapid advancement of molecular technologies, eDNA has great potential in both freshwater and marine ecosystems.

The use of eDNA, which relies on the isolation and screening of trace DNA shed by organisms in the water, may prove crucial in streamlining and speeding up the process of detecting and characterising shark biodiversity over vast stretches of marine habitats.


  • Vermeij, M.J.A., Debrot, A.O., van der Hal, N., Bakker, J., Bak, R.P.M. (2010) Increased recruitment rates indicate recovering populations of the sea urchin Diadema antillarum on Curaçao. Bull. Mar. Sci. 86 (3): 719 – 725 (7)

  • Vermeij, M.J.A., Bakker, J., van der Hal, N., Bak, R.P.M. (2011) Juvenile coral abundance has decreased by more than 50% in only 3 decades on a small Caribbean island. Diversity 3: 296-307


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