The mission of my research line (Aquatic Ecotoxicology) is to assess, monitor and predict the responses of benthic invertebrates to complex environmental changes. Progressively increasing worldwide anthropogenic disturbances shift species to new environmentally defined boundaries. To what extend this leads to changes in community composition and ecosystem functioning depends critically on the ability of each species to cope with a changing environment. Why do some species persist under harsh conditions, where other species fail to maintain viable populations and get, at least locally, extinct? To answer this question benthic invertebrates are subjected to combinations of natural and man made stressors. Experiments typically last for several generations and responses are determined at the gene level (ecotoxicogenomics; genetic adaptation) up to the population and community level. Bridging ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry, the fate and effects of emerging compounds (N-heterocyclic PAC; flame retardants) are studied.
Since 1992, this research line has generated 25 PhD theses (van der Meer, 2023; de Vries, 2021; van der Lee, 2020; De Baat, 2020; de Brouwer 2020, Dos Reis Oliveira; 2019; van Puijenbroek, 2019; Waaijers, 2014; Hunting, 2013; Loayza-Muro, 2013; Marinkovic, 2012; Oyoo-Okoth, 2012; Leon Paumen, 2009; Pieters, 2007; de Haas, 2004; Heugens, 2003; Leslie, 2003; Osano, 2002; Wiegman, 2002; van der Geest, 2001; Ivorra, 2000; Bleeker, 1999; Groenendijk, 1999; Stuijfzand, 1999; Kraak, 1992).
Currently 10 PhD projects are running:
Prof. Dr Annemarie van Wezel (1968, MSc Biology UU, PhD environmental chemistry and toxicology UU) is an experienced environmental scientist in water quality, risk assessment, environmental toxicology and chemistry, and environmental policy. She was granted many projects in the field of chemicals of emerging concern and water quality, current examples are the European projects ITN ECORISK2050, ITN PERFORCE3, and Dutch NWO funded projects EMERCHE, RUST, PsychoPharmac’eau, AQUACONNECT and NWO Large Scientific Infrastructure ARISE. She is interested in the science-to-policy interface, in scientific outreach and has ample experience in media appearances. She likes to combine organizational and content roles, and is interested in seeing her science applied within society. She is a member of the Dutch Health Council and the Dutch Board on authorization of plant protection products and biocides CTGB. She holds the chair Environmental Ecology and is Scientific Director of IBED (Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics) at the University of Amsterdam.
Prof. dr. ir. P.(Piet) F.M. Verdonschot received his MSc in Biology (specialization populations/ecosystems) at the Wageningen Agricultural University in 1978. He defended his PhD study entitled ‘Ecological characterization of surface waters in the province of Overijssel (The Netherlands)’ in 1990 at the Wageningen Agricultural University. He holds a special chair in Wetland Restoration Ecoloy at IBED, University of Amterdam. His did research on especially smaller aquatic ecosystems such as streams and ditches, pools and small lakes. His focus is on wetland ecosystem structure and functioning and restoration ecology. He specialized in ecosystem typologies, community studies, assessment, monitoring, restoration,biodiversity, and water and nature development. He did several studies on water policy making, setting standards and societal interaction. He specialized in macro-invertebrates with special expertise on oligochaetes and biting insects. He is experienced with statistical techniques, especially multivariate analyses, in working with field experiments, mescosms and laboratory experimental approaches.
Wetlands are defined as “landscape units of marshes, swamps and surface waters with stagnant or running water, fresh, brackish or salt. The special chair Wetland Restoration Ecology studies the recovery processes of degraded wetlands and on the creation of new wetlands. This is achieved by understanding the functioning of current, restored and newly created wetlands, their driving factors and processes and the biological responses. The study areas are operational landscapes like stream valleys, polders, marshes and swamps adjacent to surface waters. Wetland Restoration Ecology integrates different disciplines of ecology, like population biology (of key species in wetlands), biogeography (distribution patterns at different scales) and stress ecology (especially multistress conditions).
Cornelis A. M. (Kees) van Gestel is Emeritus Professor of Ecotoxicology of Soil Ecosystems within the Amsterdam Institute for Life and Environment (A-LIFE), section Ecology & Evolution, Faculty of Science of the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He studied Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University, and started his career in 1981 as a scientific advisor on pesticide risk assessment at the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). At RIVM he also started his research in soil ecotoxicology. He obtained his PhD from Utrecht University (1991), and moved to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in 1992. He officially retired on 27th October 2022, but is still connected to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as emeritus professor.
In soil, the bioavailability of chemicals is highly dependent on their interaction with soil particles and the resulting concentrations in the soil pore water. Organisms may affect their exposure by the way they interact with the soil, with some organisms literally eating themselves through the soil while others just walk on it or feed on leaf litter. In soil, pollution rarely is restricted to single chemicals. And life in soil is dynamic, asking for a dynamic approach when assessing the bioaccumulation and effects of chemicals in soil organisms. Finally, effects on single species may have consequences for the soil community and its role in important ecological processes (ecosystem services) like decomposition and nutrient cycling. My research focuses on aspects like bioavailability, routes of exposure, toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, and mixture toxicity, but also aims at addressing effects at different levels of biological organization. I am studying metals, pesticides, nanoparticles and microplastics, using earthworms, enchytraeids, springtails, oribatid mites and isopods as the test organisms. I am interested in the application of our results in the risk assessment of new and existing chemicals. In addition, I am interested in using ecotoxicological test methods for the effect-based assessment of (contaminated) soils and other substrates.
Kees van Gestel was teaching biology, ecology and (eco)toxicology at the Vrije Universiteit, and PhD courses on ecotoxicology and chemical risk assessment at the national and international level. He has been supervising over 40 PhD students and many more undergraduate students. He is winner of the SETAC Europe/Noack-Laboratorien Environmental Education Award 2015.
Research interests: Community ecology of benthic systems, focussing on sediment stability and litter processing.
Jan Arie Vonk graduated in 2002 at the University of Groningen at the department of Biology, with specializations towards marine biology and plant ecology. From 2003 to 2008 he worked as PhD student at the Radboud University Nijmegen on nutrient dynamics of seagrass meadows in Indonesia. During this time he conducted fieldwork for 2 years in the Spermonde Archipelago, Sulawesi to study macrophytes and plant-animal interactions using stable isotope techniques. He successfully defended his PhD thesis on 26 May 2008.In 2008 and 2009 he worked as researcher at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on topics including ecotoxicology, ecological risk assessment, and aquatic ecology. During this period (2009-2012) he became involved as Post doc in RCiERA (Research Collaboration in Ecological Risk Assessment), a joint project between RU and RIVM, focusing on agroecosystems, nematode communities, food-web relations and ecological stoichiometry. He combined this from 2010-2012 with a Post-doc position at RIVM (joint project with Wageningen University; NWO-ERGO: Ecology Regarding Genetically modified Organisms). Currently he works as Post doc at University of Amsterdam, with teaching and research tasks (benthic ecology and stress ecology; May 2012 onwards).
As a senior researcher in Chemical Water Quality, Thomas ter Laak is concerned with the sources, monitoring, behavior, occurrence and modeling of (new) micro-pollutants in the water chain. Over the past decade, Thomas has conducted research into various substances, including medicines and their transformation products. In addition, he and colleagues have been conducting research into illegal drugs in wastewater (waste water based epidemiology) since 2018. Thomas works one day a week as an associate professor at the University of Amsterdam (IBED), where he provides education and supervises research in the field of environmental chemistry. Thomas is also involved as a guest lecturer at Utrecht University and supervises research at Wageningen University & Research.
The mission of this research line is to understand the biocomplexity at the sediment water interface. This complexity arises from the multitude of biological, physical and chemical processes that sustain and modify benthic life formed by compact consortia of specialized micro-algae, bacteria and (burrowing) invertebrates. Individual organisms, populations of species and multi-trophic consortia depend on, interact with and adapt to a-biotic processes, such as diffusion of oxygen, and sedimentation of silt and detritus. Simultaneously, biota modifies also these processes through their activities and natural conditions are strongly modified by man-made perturbation. The sequestration of organic matter and nutrients in sediments - for example - is tightly bound to the activity of benthic organisms and a large variety of contaminants is being deposited and partly biologically degraded in sediments. Another key process - with important consequences for water clarity - is the partitioning of particles between the water phase and solid deposits. Communities of phototrophic and heterotrophic species co-act in the process of stabilization and transformation of materials.
Milo de Baat is Assistant Professor in Water Quality & Ecotoxicology at the Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam. He previously worked as a scientific researcher in the Chemical Water Quality & Health group at KWR Water Research Institute. Milo's research explores how chemical pollution affects the health of aquatic ecosystems. Water is essential to life, but the increasingly complex chemical burden that human activities impose on freshwater and marine environments negatively impacts the biodiversity and functioning of aquatic ecosystems and threatens the provision of clean and safe water for human use and consumption. By combining innovative sampling methods and effect-based toxicity assessment, Milo's research aims to unravel the complexity and toxic effects of chemical mixtures in the environment. By aligning these findings with knowledge of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, he strives to quantify the limitations that chemical pollution imposes on environmental health in a variety of aquatic ecosystems.
I am an assistant professor in Environmental Chemistry at the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics (ELD) at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED). Previously I worked as a Researcher at Stockholm University (Sweden) and as a Postdoc at the University of Vienna (Austria). I studied chemistry and obtained my PhD from ETH Zurich (Switzerland).
My research interests centre around assessing the environmental fate of emerging chemical contaminants. I am particularly interested in understanding how the fundamental physical and chemical properties of a contaminant drive its transformation and transport behaviour in aquatic and terrestrial environments and how we can utilise this understanding to build models for predicting contaminant fate and concentrations. I have a strong expertise in particulate contaminants, such as engineered nanomaterials, nano- and microplastics and microfibers. Additionally, I am working on (persistent) organic contaminants, such as PFAS and (psycho)pharmaceuticals, as well as emerging contaminants in circular systems (such as wastewater reuse). I very much enjoy working in interdisciplinary teams and I am convinced that addressing potential risks and designing effective mitigation strategies or regulations for emerging contaminants requires joint forces from different disciplines.
In our projects we combine modelling approaches with laboratory-based studies on contaminant fate processes (e.g. degradation/transformation, aggregation, sedimentation). We also work towards improving analytical methods for identifying emerging contaminants in different environmental matrices.
More information on ongoing projects
µPLANET – Microplatic Long-range transport Assessment aNd Estimation Tools: together with Marianne Seijo we are developing a global-scale multimedia fate and transport model for microplastics and their additives. Our model is based on the Full Multi, an open-source framework for modelling the transport and fate of nano- and microplastics in aquatic systems, developed previously with Prado Domercq and Matthew MacLeod from Stockholm University (find the code on GitHub: Full Multi GitHub repository).
We are also contributing to developing an open-source unit world multimedia modeling platform for microplastics in the environment in the UTOPIA project and to better understanding and modelling micro- and nanoplastic fragmentation in the FRAGMENT-MNP project.
META – Citizen Science for Microfiber Detection: together with Lies Jacobs, Bernou Boven, Cameron Brick and interested Dutch citizens we are investigating the factors that drive the release of synthetic microfibers—one of the most frequently detected forms of microplastics in the environment—from washing of textiles in real households. If you are interested in participating, check out our website for more information: https://www.meta-citizenscience.nl/.
Mud matters: the significance of effect based sediment quality assessment
Nienke Wieringa, Steven Droge, Piet Verdonschot, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by NWO.
Combatting cyanobacteria with hydrogen peroxide
Erik Weenink, Petra Visser, Jef Huisman, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by NWO-TTW.
Psychopharmaceutical Prevention & Pilots to Reduce Effects in the water cycle
Charlie Davey, Michiel Kraak, Antonia Praetorius, Thomas ter Laak, Annemarie van Wezel.
Funded by NWO.
Life-cycle habitat requirements of lowland stream macroinvertebrates
Elmar Becker, Ralf Verdonschot, Arie Vonk, Michiel Kraak, Piet Verdonschot.
Funded by UvA-IBED.
Environmental fate, bioavailability and bioaccumulation of PFAS
Ioanna Gkika, Thomas ter Laak, Annemarie van Wezel, Kees van Gestel, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by NWO-TTW.
Toxicity and risks of selected per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems
Skylar Xie, Arie Vonk, Annemarie van Wezel, Kees van Gestel, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by NWO-TTW.
Temporal variation in toxic pressure in agricultural ditches
Harry Boonstra, Milo de Baat, Ivo Roessink, Annemarie van Wezel, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by Wetterskip Fryslân.
Natural filtering capacity of aquatic systems
Annalieke Bakker, Tom van der Meer, Piet Verdonschot, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by LNV.
Drivers of food web structure, stability and resilience in lake Markermeer
Laura Tack, Harm van der Geest, Arie Vonk, Jef Huisman, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by RWS.
Assessing single stressors and stressor interaction in multistressed stream ecosystems
Leon van Kouwen, Piet Verdonschot, Michiel Kraak.
2022 - 2028.
Funded by NWO.
no data available