Who is who?



Dr. Thomas Vanagt - Managing Director


Dr. Thomas Vanagt is a marine ecologist with experience as a research scientist and as an environmental consultant. Dr. Vanagt is one of the founders of eCOAST, and has been the managing director of eCOAST since the start of the research centre. Thomas Vanagt is a well-respected expert in coastal ecology, for which he combines a strong ecological knowledge with a sound understanding of the physical environment. In previous years,

Thomas Vanagt worked as project leader and later research director at the Dutch marine field lab of Grontmij, one of Europe’s largest environmental consultants. He initiated and collaborated in numerous projects in the fields of marine ecology, marine environmental monitoring, ecotoxicology and marine aquaculture.


Dr. Vanagt obtained his PhD at the renowned marine biology research group at Ghent University, with a study on sandy beach ecology. He holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in zoology from Ghent University. He was a visiting scientist at universities in Greece, Ecuador and the UK.

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Ir. Marco FaasseSenior Scientist

Marco Faasse is a well-respected taxonomical expert in marine and freshwater crustaceans, as well as in a number of difficult and poorly studied groups such as Cnidaria and Tunicata. Many of his taxonomical studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Mr. Faasse has also been studying alien species for many years, especially in the coastal waters of the Netherlands and in the Dutch delta region. His work on alien species has led to important decisions in the management of the Dutch marine waters.

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Drs. Laura Lallier - Legal Researcher & Consultant 

Laura Lallier holds a law degree from the University of Western Brittany in Brest, and a Master of Laws in Maritime Law and Law of the Sea from the University of Nantes. After a couple of professional experiences with the French Maritime Affairs, where she worked on abandonned ships and wrecks, and safety at sea, she specialized in the legal framework of the deep seabed environment in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In July 2013, she joined eCOAST and now conducts research and gives legal advice on various projects addressing inter alia: marine protected areas, access and benefit-sharing of marine genetic resources and environmental aspects of deep seabed mining.

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Dr. Arianna Broggiato - Project Manager / Senior Scientist

Arianna Broggiato holds an LLM in Environmental Law (UK - Nottingham University) and a PhD in International Law (Milano - Universita' degli Studi di Milano). She did her postdoc at the Université Catholique de Louvain within the Biodiversity Governance Unit (BIOGOV). Her field of research and expertise is policy and law related to access and benefit-sharing (ABS) of genetic resources, with a special focus on marine genetic resources beyond national jurisdiction, and marine related issues.
Arianna has been working as project manager and legal advisor in different organizations. She worked in the FP7 Project Micro B3 (Marine Microbial Biodiversity, Bioinformatics and Biotechnology), under the umbrella of which she co-authored the first model agreement on ABS of marine genetic resources. She built up the ABS Help Desk of the worldwide marine sampling campaign Ocean Sampling Day. She is also a member of the IUCN Specialist Group on Oceans, Coasts and Coral Reef and of the International Council of Environmental Law.
She has served as senior consultant in the field of ABS and marine related subjects for several clients, such as the European Commission, the International Chamber of Commerce and several EU projects' consortia before joining eCOAST.

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Dr. Tim Schellekens - Project Manager/Senior Scientist


Tim has been educated as an ecologist at the universities of Amsterdam and Umeå, Sweden. He obtained his doctorate with modelling-research on the effects of differences between individuals on population- and community-dynamics. After his promotion he worked at IMARES as a quantitative marine ecologist, working on a diversity of project subjects among which effect-studies (fishery, sandnourishments, sandextractions) and growth and dynamics of marine organisms and communities in nature and aquaculture.

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Dr. Koen Lock - Senior Scientist


Koen Lock is an internationally recognized specialist on aquatic invertebrates. His research has been published in over 100 scientific papers. At eCOAST, he works on monitoring studies of marine and freshwater invertabrates.



Jane Collins - Science & policy research fellow


Jane has a Masters degree in Geology from Bristol University, and a further Masters degree in Oceanography from Southampton University. She embarked on her professional career working as a geologist for a mining company engaged in marine exploration and mining activities around the world, and later as a marine environmental scientist. Over recent years Jane has focused on marine spatial planning and the interface between science, policy and law.
She joined eCOAST in 2017 and started working on a PhD as part of the MarPipe project. Her research is aimed specifically at streamlining the legal, policy and governance aspects as well as the innovation management and entrepreneurship of the marine biodiscovery pipeline.

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Dr. Hendrik Gheerardyn - Scientist


Dr. Hendrik Gheerardyn has been educated as a marine biologist (MSc Zoology, PhD Biology) at Ghent University. He is a recognized taxonomical expert in marine harpacticoid copepods (Crustacea) and has authored over 20 papers in peer-reviewed journals on the taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of this group. During his Master thesis he gained experience in species identification of North Sea macrobenthos. He is also a highly skilled scientific illustrator with watercolour as a preferred medium.

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Dr. Katrien Vanagt - Communications and documentary maker




eCOAST Founders


Ir. Marnix Vangheluwe


Marnix Vangheluwe graduated as Master of Science in Engineering (Biochemistry) at Hogeschool Gent in 1989 and obtained a master in environmental sanitation at Ghent University in 1991. At Ghent University (1992-2000) he was responsible for the research group sediment ecotoxicology. He is the co-founder of EURAS, a spin-off consultancy company specialized in environmental risk assessment, and of its follower ARCHE.  Marnix Vangheluwe is a specialist in sediment toxicology and sediment bio-assays. He is the main author of the Metal Risk Assessment Guidance document (MERAG) and the official REACH Appendix R.7.13-2 Environmental risk assessment for metals and metal compounds.



Prof. Dr. Jan Mees 


Jan Mees is the general manager of the Flanders Marine Institute in Ostend since its establishment in 1999. He is trained as a marine biologist (MSc Zoology, MSc Environmental Sanitation, PhD Biology) at Ghent University, where he is part-time professor and has been teaching courses on data analysis, statistics, coastal ecosystems and fisheries. An experienced marine ecologist and taxonomist - contributing a.o. to the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) that is hosted at his institute - he is the author of more than fifty scientific publications, most in international journals with peer review.


Jan Mees is board member of Flanders Marine, the flemish maritime cluster, vice-chair of the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation, and member of several European and global oceanography and marine biodiversity networks (e.g. POGO, MARS, MarBEF, EurOcean).



Prof. Dr. Wim Vyverman 


Professor Vyverman graduated in 1985 as a biologist at Ghent University where he earned his PhD in 1990. Since then, Wim Vyverman is active as a scientist, specialized in Protistology at Ghent University.


Prof. Dr. Colin Janssen 


Professor Janssen is professor of environmental toxicology at Ghent University, the institution from which he graduated in 1983 as a biologist, and where in 1992 he got his PhD with a study on toxicity tests.

Ir. Patrick Van Sprang 

Patrick Van Sprang graduated as Master of Science in Engineering (Environmental Technology) at Ghent University in 1988. At Ghent University he was responsible for the research group aquatic ecotoxicology. He is the co-founder of EURAS, a spin-off consultancy company specialized in environmental risk assessment, and of its follower ARCHE. Currently, Patrick Van Sprang is managing director at ARCHE, a company that provides risk assessment services to numerous metal federations. Patrick Van Sprang is the main author of the environmental part of several risk assessments (eg Cu, Ni, Pb) and contributed to the Metal Risk Assessment Guidance document (MERAG). He is also an expert on ecotoxicological studies, and has a lot of experience with bio-assays.