Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

dr. ir. G. (Giovanni) Sandrini

  • Faculty of Science
    Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Visiting address
    Science Park A
    Science Park 904  Room number: C4.225
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  94248
    1090 GE  Amsterdam

Welcome! I am a currently doing my postdoc at the hydrogen peroxide team ("HP team") of IBED-FAME of the University of Amsterdam. I previously did my PhD on the effects of rising CO2 on the harmful cyanobacterium Microcystis (see below).

My PhD thesis (see:

My current research

Harmful cyanobacteria ("blue-green algae", or in Dutch "blauwalgen") cause ecological and economical problems worldwide (see example of a cyanobacterial bloom below). A promising short-term method to selectively combat harmful cyanobacterial blooms in lakes is the application of a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Cyanobacteria are much more sensitive to H2O2 than for example eukaryotic algae, because cyanobacteria use a Mehler-like reaction that does not produce H2O2. Besides that applying a low concentration of H2O2 can selectively kill cyanobacteria while eukaryotic algae remain virtually unharmed, the H2O2 method is also relatively cheap to apply compared to other lake mitigation methods, and H2O2 rapidly decomposes to simply water (H2O) and oxygen (O2), typically within one day, not leaving any chemical traces in the environment. Our research group has applied H2O2 treatments to several cyanobacteria-dominated lakes in the Netherlands since 2009 (Matthijs et al., 2012). Currently, we investigate under which conditions the H2O2 treatment method is most successful. I work together with PhD student Tim Piel and our project is funded by TTW-NWO.

Example of a cyanobacterial bloom (Klinkenbergerplas 2017).

Our research constist of both lab and lake experiments. In the lab we typically cultivate isolated harmful cyanobacteria in custom-made chemostats optimized for phytoplankton growth (see picture below).

Chemostat experiments with the harmful cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa PCC 7806.

Among the Dutch lakes we study are Oosterduinse Meer and Klinkenbergerplas. During summertime, both lakes often have dense cyanobacterial blooms. We typically use small boats with electric engines to monitor and samples these lakes (see picture below). For an impression of the actual H2O2 lake treatments, please see the "Field impression" tab of my page.

Me on a fieldwork trip at the Oosterduinse Meer.

Other members of our team include dr. Petra Visser (project leader), Erik Weenink (PhD student), Pieter Slot (technician), Maria van Herk (technician), Mariël Leon-Grooters (technician), dr. Hongjie Qin (guest researcher) and several students (see picture below). We have a website with updates about our work ( and a Twitter account (

The HP team of the University of Amsterdam (2017).

H2O2 lake treatments

The "Dr. Hans Matthijs" boat from Arcadis that is used to treat lakes with hydrogen peroxide.

Klinkenbergerplas treatment June 2017

Planktothrix rubescens bloom in Klinkenbergerplas.

Planktothrix rubescens blobs in Klinkenbergerplas.

Just before the treatment Planktothrix rubescens was joined by Dolichospermum and Aphanizomenon.

Advice against bathing due to "blue algae" (harmful cyanobacteria).

Information about the upcoming treatment.

Soup of cyanobacteria.

Arcadis treatment boat.

Monitoring/sampling boats University of Amsterdam.

Milky water after addition of very low dose of hydrogen peroxide (2.5 mg/L) to the lake.

One day after the hydrogen peroxide treatment: clear water!

Oosterduinse Meer treatment June 2018

Aphanizomenon klebahnii bloom in Oosterduinse Meer.

Several dead fish, possibly killed by the cyanobacterial bloom.

Advice against bathing due to "blue algae" (harmful cyanobacteria).

Arcadis boat.

Sampling/monitoring boats University of Amsterdam.

Large hydrogen peroxide stock tank.

Base camp.

Our "blauwalgen onderzoek" team T-shirts.

Zooplankton sampling.

Water quality strongly improved after the treatment.


  • Sandrini, G., Tann, R. P., Schuurmans, J. M., van Beusekom, S. A. M., Matthijs, H. C. P., & Huisman, J. (2016). Diel Variation in Gene Expression of the CO2-Concentrating Mechanism during a Harmful Cyanobacterial Bloom. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7, [551]. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00551  [details] 
  • Sandrini, G., Ji, X., Verspagen, J. M. H., Tann, R. P., Slot, P. C., Luimstra, V. M., ... Huisman, J. (2016). Rapid adaptation of harmful cyanobacteria to rising CO2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(33), 9315-9320. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1602435113  [details] 
  • Visser, P. M., Verspagen, J. M. H., Sandrini, G., Stal, L. J., Matthijs, H. C. P., Davis, T. W., ... Huisman, J. (2016). How rising CO2 and global warming may stimulate harmful cyanobacterial blooms. Harmful Algae, 54, 145-159. DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2015.12.006  [details] 



  • Sandrini, G., Matthijs, H. C. P., Verspagen, J. M. H., Muyzer, G., & Huisman, J. (2014). Genetic diversity of inorganic carbon uptake systems causes variation in CO2 response of the cyanobacterium Microcystis. The ISME Journal, 8, 589-600. DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2013.179  [details] 


  • Sandrini, G., Schuurmans, J. M., Cunsolo, S., Muyzer, G., Matthijs, J. C. P., & Huisman, J. (2014). Genetic diversity of inorganic carbon uptake systems causes variation in CO2 response of the harmful cyanobacterium Microcystis. Poster session presented at ISME15 (Seoul), .

Talk / presentation

  • Sandrini, G. (speaker), Schuurmans, J. M. (speaker), Matthijs, J. C. P. (speaker) & Huisman, J. (speaker) (5-8-2015). In situ expression patterns of a Microcystis bloom linked to 24 h changes in environmental conditions, International Symposium for Photosynthetic Prokaryotes, Tübingen.
  • Sandrini, G. (speaker), Matthijs, J. C. P. (speaker), Cunsolo, S. (speaker), Schuurmans, J. M. (speaker), Jakupovic, D. (speaker), Verspagen, J. M. H. (speaker) & Huisman, J. (speaker) (9-9-2014). CO2 response of the harmful cyanobacterium Microcystis, The 9th European Workshop on the Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria, Texel.
  • Matthijs, J. C. P. (invited speaker), Visser, P. M. (invited speaker), Schuurmans, J. M. (invited speaker), Sandrini, G. (invited speaker) & Huisman, J. (invited speaker) (5-8-2013). Making use of a metabolic enigma: Killing cyanobacteria in an entire lake with hydrogen peroxide, US Cyanobacteria Workshop IX, St. Louis USA.
  • Matthijs, J. C. P. (invited speaker), Schuurmans, J. M. (invited speaker), Sandrini, G. (invited speaker), Huisman, J. (invited speaker) & Visser, P. M. (invited speaker) (18-4-2013). The Mehler like reaction: Making use of science to solve the CyanoHABS problem, ESF_EMBO Conference on the Molecular Bioenergetics of Cyanobacteria, Pultusk Poland.
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  • No ancillary activities
  • No ancillary activities

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