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Merlijn van Weerd


Drs. M. van Weerd
+31 71 527 2727

Merlijn van Weerd is an ecologist studying biodiversity distribution and richness patterns, the impact of human activities on biodiversity and the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation. He is a part-time lecturer at both the Faculties of Science and Social Science and leads the Mabuwaya Foundation, a Philippine conservation NGO.

More information about Merlijn van Weerd

Professional experience

Merlijn van Weerd graduated in 1996 at the University of Groningen with a MSc (Drs.) degree in biology, specialization animal ecology. During his studies, he conducted ecological research on the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog on vegetation dynamics and the behavioural ecology of Oystercatchers and Brent Geese. In Mozambique he studied shore birds and their estuarine food supplies. As a visiting student at the Institute of Environmental Science (CML) of Leiden University, he conducted fieldwork in Cameroon on the impact of floodplain restoration on water bird populations.

After graduation, Merlijn continued fieldwork on Schiermonnikoog on the breeding biology of Oystercatchers for the University of Groningen. In 1998 he was ecologist for the CML at the Waza-Logone project in Cameroon studying freshwater fish migration and conducting bird and mammal surveys. From 1999 - 2003 he was employed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a wildlife biologist at the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park – Conservation Project in Luzon, the Philippines. Within this Dutch-funded integrated conservation and development project, Merlijn trained local wildlife researchers, conducted biodiversity surveys of birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, freshwater fish and butterflies, studied wildlife resource utilization and assisted in the development of conservation and natural resource management plans for the region.

In 2003, Merlijn joined CML again as a researcher on biodiversity distribution patterns and biodiversity change in the Philippines and as a lecturer in various Minor and Master courses. From 2007 – 2010, Merlijn was the coordinator of the CML field station in the Philippines. Since 2010, he is also connected to the Department of Anthropology and Development Sociology (CA-DS) of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Leiden University as lecturer and organizer of the joint CML/CA-DS annual field course on sustainability in the Philippines. In addition, he leads the Mabuwaya Foundation, a Philippine non-profit biodiversity conservation organization. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (Crocodile Specialist Group and Monitor Lizard Specialist Group) and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication. 

Research topic

  • Biodiversity in tropical forest ecosystems at various spatial scales

  • The impact of deforestation and forest fragmentation on tropical forest biodiversity

  • The impact of climate change on forest ecosystems and biodiversity

  • Local utilisation and management of natural resources

  • Conservation of biodiversity at various organisational levels

  • The impact of communication and education on the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation

  • Status, ecology and conservation of the Philippine crocodile 

  • Wetlands and water-birds


  • Science
  • Centrum voor Milieuwetenschappen Leiden
  • CML/Environmental Biology



  • No relevant ancillary activities
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