What we do

Discovering how nature works, and understanding how it changes. Without this knowledge, we won't find solutions. We perform and promote groundbreaking ecological research on the relationships between species and their environment, and continually work for the benefit of nature and society. On the migration of birds, the astonishing variety of soil life or the rise of toxic cyanobacterial blooms. We can make use of nature’s inventions.
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Nature research & society

Ecology is all about the interactions between organisms, and also between life and its inanimate environment. How is a tiny insect able to find its food plant kilometres away? How can so many species coexist, even in the smallest drop of water?

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Orchideëen op het NIOO-dak
© Perro de Jong / NIOO-KNAW

Our themes

Three themes together form the basis of our research

  • Biodiversity

    NIOO is in the right position to make a substantial and scientifically important contribution to the societal goal of the SDGs
    Dronefoto biodiversiteit
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  • Climate change

    What are the changes caused by global warming and how can ecology help to mitigate them?
    Let op blauwalg
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  • Sustainable use of land & water

    Healthy surface water and soils are essential for life on earth, providing diverse life-support functions including nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration and oxygen generation, degradation of xenobiotics and providing substrates for plant growth and the
    Biodiversity in NIOO's grassland garden in summer
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Cooperate with us

The NIOO researchers are not merely looking for answers, but are primarily trying to discern general patterns and rules within this wide range of interactions. Finding and studying these patterns and rules is the essence of ecology.

IJkcentrum geopend


NIOO-KNAW was created in 1992 by merging three important ecological research institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW): CTE, CL and CEME. Initially, it was known as the ‘Netherlands Institute for Ecological Research’, but in September 2002 the name was simplified to ‘Netherlands Institute of Ecology’, the Dutch acronym being NIOO-KNAW.

Zwart wit foto met vrouwelijke onderzoeker achter microscoop

Our facilities

Welcome to our ecological research facilities!
From greenhouses to algae bioreactors and from experimental ponds to DNA labs. Here, we and our national and international partners study nature with the topical questions for now and the our future.

Algenonderzoek / Algae research