Twan is a fish biologist and conservation ecologist, specialised in fish community and shark research. He holds a BSc and MSc in Biology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and for his Masters he specialised in animal adaptation and marine biology. He has experience working as a teacher and project manager, and he has lived in the Caribbean on Bonaire, Saba and St. Maarten. He is currently working as a PhD student on river fish ecology at the Aquaculture & Fisheries chair group within Wageningen University.
During his first MSc thesis Twan investigated eye-body coordination during prey captures by newborn live-bearing fish in the Amazon River. Since prey capture events are in many respects highly variable he recorded over 2000 capture events using high-speed video and developed fully automated analysis protocols for both body and eye movements. For his second MSc thesis Twan went to Saba for six months to study fish and shark communities on the Saba bank, a submerged atoll in the Caribbean Sea. He conducted a base-line fish survey, the first step towards effective protection. For his study he used Stereo Baited Remote Underwater Video Survey (BRUVS), which is a noninvasive method to study species richness, relative abundance and accurate length frequency of fish species such as sharks. Fish assemblages were structured by habitat complexity, depth and to a lesser extend management zone.
After graduation last year Twan started working for IMARES as tropical fish community analyst in the Dutch Caribbean (Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Bonaire). Twan also provides MSc students and marine park managers with fish survey/analysis training and advice. Communication, dedication, persistence and patience are the key words of this work. His strengths lie in conducting fundamental research and his ability to communicate with scientists and volunteers from various research fields, in providing constructive solutions by balancing between interests of different stakeholders and in looking for ways to gain consensus and get people to work together efficiently and effectively as a team.