Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Smart Monitoring grant for Piet Verdonschot and Michiel Kraak

18 August 2015

Piet Verdonschot and Michiel Kraak (UvA-IBED) received a grant of €320.000 from the Dutch water boards, united in the STOWA (Foundation for Applied Water Research). The to-be appointed PhD student will focus on the innovation of chemical and ecotoxicological water quality assessment.


The assessment of the ecotoxicological status of freshwater ecosystems comes with specific scientific and practical limitations and high expenses are made by the water authorities to register the absence of compounds. The aim of the present project is therefore to improve ecotoxicological water quality assessment and to integrate this into a Smart Monitoring program for integrated WFD monitoring. We foresee that this project will strongly improve the scientific basis of the ecotoxicological water quality assessment, and moreover, cost reductions will allow evaluation of a higher number of sites compared to the present WFD monitoring strategy.

According to the WFD the chemical status of water bodies is evaluated by comparing the concentrations of 45 priority compounds with environmental quality standards. In this approach, however, only a limited number of potential hazardous compounds is being considered. Our alternative is a smart monitoring strategy applying bioassays to screen for adverse effects. This project includes the optimization, validation and scientific foundation of this effect monitoring by means of bioassays. In addition, we will identify the compounds causing the highest ecological risks by means of Effect Directed Analysis (EDA).

This project will provide tools to improve monitoring ecotoxicological water quality. The scientific foundation of the innovative techniques may allow implementation of the Smart Monitoring program for integrated WFD monitoring into European legislation. Water boards and other water authorities will benefit from this project by obtaining better insights into the relationship between the presence of hazardous compounds and actual ecological risks. This will allow them to take cost effective and efficient measures to improve the ecological water quality.

  • prof. dr. ir. P.F.M. (Piet) Verdonschot | T: 0205258448

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