Ecology goes viral!

Introducing the Netherlands Association of Virus Ecology (NAVE)

Viruses are the most diverse and numerous biological entities on the planet. The Netherlands has a long history of virological research, extending back to the birth of this discipline. Research has largely focused on the study of viruses and the diseases caused by them. Scientific perspectives on viruses have shifted and the ecological role of viruses and their significant impact on ecosystems is increasingly acknowledged.

In the Netherlands, a growing number of interdisciplinary research groups focus their investigations on viral ecology, ranging from theoretical to field studies and from oceans to soils. We believe that it is an opportune time to initiate a national network to stimulate interactions between researchers and encourage collaboration.

The goal of NAVE (Netherlands Association of Virus Ecology) is to bring together researchers in viral ecology to (i) promote a regular exchange of scientific results and ideas, (ii) explore opportunities for collaboration,  (iii) provide a networking platform for junior scientists in this field, (iv) interact collectively with experts from different fields, and (v) increase the visibility of viral ecology.

We aim to organize an annual scientific meeting with presentations and roundtable discussions on emerging themes of research. Furthermore, we foresee every half-year an online meeting on a timely topic, and coordination of outreach activities (with both scientific and general audiences). Of course, this can all be developed further by your input and we plan to make this an agenda point for the first meeting.

To keep low operating expenses, we plan to hold the annual meetings at a research institute or university. The first kick-off meeting will be 1 day but we hope that future meetings will include an evening program to inspire communication and discussion.

We held our online kickoff meeting on 11 March 2022. We are organizing an annual, in person meeting and workshop, as well as regular online seminars. For further information on the seminar series and to join our Microsoft Teams channel, contact Mark Zwart. Our next upcoming live event is a workshop on October 7, 2022 in Wageningen. See the details below.

Interested? Let us know and we will place you on the mailing list.

Looking forward meeting you,

Mark Zwart and Corina Brussaard

  • Prof Corina Brussaard 
    Aquatic Virus Ecology
    NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Texel) & University of Amsterdam 
    corina.brussaard [at]
  • Dr Mark Zwart
    Plant Virus Ecology & Evolution
    Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO, Wageningen)
    M.Zwart [at]

First Annual NAVE Workshop

We’re excited to announce the program for our first annual NAVE workshop on October 7th, 2022 between 10:00-16:30 at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen.

09:30-10:00: Arrival and coffee

10:00-10:10: Opening, announcements (Corina Brussaard, Kyle Mason-Jones)

10:10-13:00: Workshop “Visualization of virus genomics data” (Thomas Hackl)

In this workshop, you will learn new approaches to exploring and visualizing viral genomics data: from contigs to annotations to publication-quality figures. This workshop will have quite some hands on work with Thomas’s R package gggenomes. Bring a laptop with R installed for a complete, in-depth experience! 

13:00-14:00: Lunch

14:00-15:00: Discussion on “Bioinformatics needs of virus ecologists” (Dieke Boezen & Thomas Hackl)

What are the greatest bioinformatics challenges you face? Are there bioinformatics tools that you think should really be developed? Do you have bioinformatics expertise you would like to share with the community? In this discussion, we will consider these questions and look for ways to help each other.

15:00-15:15: Coffee break

15:15-16:30: Discussion on “Effects of viruses on ecosystem functioning” (Mark Zwart)

There are some stunning examples of how viruses impact ecosystem functioning, but how widespread are such effects? We will discuss the different ways that virus could impact ecosystem functioning and inventory examples, identifying the main knowledge gaps and approaches to move forward. 

16:30-18:00: Borrel with drinks and snacks

There are no costs for attending the day and we will provide coffee and tea, as well as some drinks and snacks for a “borrel” at the end. To register, please send a message to M.Zwart [at] If you would like a packed lunch at a cost of € 10.70, consisting of two deluxe sandwiches, fruit and a smoothie, indicate this in your message (only possible if registering before September 29th, 2022, please indicate any dietary needs). Of course you are free to arrange your own lunch too, and there are lunch options on the Wageningen Campus.

We hope to welcome you in Wageningen on the 7th of October for some great viral interaction!