Nematodes are a group of predominantly microscopic worms
occurring in large numbers in all habitats; most are free-living while
others are parasitic. Animal parasitic nematodes are primarily studied
in veterinary science and are not treated further here except for
insect parasites and in the course "General morphology".
Plant parasitic nematodes are of major importance to agriculture in
general, and to tropical agriculture in particular. Insect parasitic
nematodes are now being applied as effective bio control agents.
Through sheer numbers, free-living nematodes affect a wide range of
cycling and decomposition processes in nature, both in soils and in
freshwater or marine sediments.
The Master of Science in Nematology programme includes training and
research on the morphology, systematics and biology of plant parasitic,
insect parasitic and free-living nematodes. Emphasis is placed on the
acquisition of microscopy techniques and accurate identification
skills, aided by the availability of a virtually complete taxonomic
library. The main purpose is to provide each student with the expertise
required for conducting independent research in his or her home
country. Major attention is given to crop protection and topics
including environmental issues such as soil management (residues,
groundwater), use of nematodes as bio-indicators for pollution of e.g.
industrialised coastal areas, and development of tropical ecosystems
(e.g. mangroves). A third aspect covered in particular is the latest
techniques being developed for control of nematode pests, such as