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About IBED

Video IBED

At the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics - or IBED in short- , we try to understand biodiversity and functioning of ecosystems for the future health of our planet. We study the world around us from the level of molecules and genes to entire ecosystems. We aim to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities.

Mission and vision

The mission of IBED is to carry out high quality research in the field of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics to herewith contribute to sustainability, in particular climate change, human induced environmental stressors on ecosystems (contamination, land degradation), food security, and the preservation of biological diversity in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.

The vision of IBED is that we require a systems approach combining ecology, earth sciences and environmental chemistry, and encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from microbes and individual behaviour up to processes at landscape scale.

Research structure

The research of IBED is organized in four research departments. Each research department is led by a head of department, but is must be emphasized that researchers in the departments are highly independent scientists with their own career opportunities.

IBED’s strength lies in integrated studies of biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment using methods typical of the disciplines of biology, chemistry and physical geography.


The institute was peer-reviewed in 2017 as part of the Research Review Chemistry, Ecology and Life Sciences by an international peer-review committee (chaired by Prof. Hans van Veen, including Prof. Trine Bilde, Prof. Claire Chenu and Dr Robert Sterner as peers with the highest affinity to IBED's research). The peers evaluation was highly positive and IBED received the highest possible ranking for all three assessment categories: research quality, relevance to society and viability. 

'The review committee had a highly positive impression of IBED’s research quality. The commitment of its members to common goals and their sense of community also stood out. The leadership team of IBED is to be commended and the scientists and staff of IBED should feel great pride in their accomplishments. In all important respects, it presents itself as a high functioning group.'


Indeed, IBED’s research is supported by truly excellent research facilities, that were created  when the Faculty of Science moved to their new building at Science Park Amsterdam in 2010. The facilities include:

  • Greenhouse and other growth facilities (climate chambers and cabinets, plant growth chambers), with legal permits for experimentation, including working with genetic transformation.
  • Standard molecular genetic labs for analyses of genetic variation and gene expression.
  • Analytical chemistry labs to study the partitioning, transport and transformation of substances in the environment (AAS, ICP-OES, GC/MS, LC/MS/MS, GC/IRMS).
  • A dedicated soil erosion laboratory, as well as experimental facilities for aquatic research, AQUATRON and BENTHATRON for phytoplankton cultures and sediment incubation, respectively.
  • Extensive modelling facilities, including a dedicated GIS studio for spatial analyses and access to high-performance computing facilities at SARA.
  • In 2017 the research vessel Dreissena was added to the facilities of IBED. This first university-owned research vessel in the Netherlands was obtained through crowd-funding, is provided with specialized research equipment, and offers many new possibilities for aquatic research.