Jan Vanaverbeke started his scientific career at Ghent University, investigating marine nematodes from the continental slope of the NE Atlantic Ocean. Since then, he held positions in The Netherlands (former CEME, now NIOZ), Germany (University of Oldenburg) and Belgium (Ghent University, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences) working in the ecology of marine sediments in coastal and deep-sea areas, including studies in Arctic and Antarctic environments. After his PhD on marine nematodes (2003), he took a more holistic view on the marine environment and included other marine groups (from bacteria to fish) in his research projects. His research is highly experimental, targeting the relationship between diversity and ecosystem function in a rapidly changing environment. Jan Vanaverbeke is currently focusing on the effects of the installation of marine renewable energy devices on the marine environment. He is visiting professor at Ghent University, co-chair of the ICES Working Group of Marine Benthal Renewable Energy Developments and vice chair of the EMBRC Committee of the Nodes.