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 21 PhD theses (De Baat, 2020; Dos Reis Oliveira; 2019; Waaijers, 2014; Hunting, 2013; Loayza-Muro, 2013; Marinkovic, 2012; Oyoo-Okoth, 2012; Leon Paumen, 2009; Pieters, 2007; De Zwart, 2005; 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 6 PhD projects are running:
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.
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).
Elucidating identity and environmental fate of newly emerging chemicals (e.g. persistent organics, polar surfactants, drugs of abuse, nanoparticles), and characterising structures of biotic and abiotic (macro) molecules, such as dissolved organic matter, plant biomarkers.
I coordinated the EU-FP6-NEST and industry funded projects PERFORCE-1 and 2, research projects aimed at the assessment of environmental exposure in Europe to perfluoroalkylated substances.
I was also coordinator of the EU-FP7-Agriculture/Food/Fisheries project PERFOOD that elucidated sources and extent of human exposure to perfluorinated compounds in food and beverages. Since 2006 I also hold a position as Principal Scientist at KWR Watercycle Research Institute in Nieuwegein, where the focus of my research is on water quality and health issues related to newly emerging water contaminants, e.g., industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and drugs of abuse. I have been member-elect and treasurer of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry-SETAC Europe. I am a former member of the Dutch Soil Protection Committee (TCB) and a memberof the Scientific Committe on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) of the EC.
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).
Combining quantitative models and qualitative frameworks for catchment-wide ecological systems analysis
Jip de Vries, Michiel Kraak, Piet Verdonschot.
Funded by Dutch Waterboards.
Chemical-ecological interactions at the sediment-water interface
Nienke Wieringa, Piet Verdonschot, Michiel Kraak.
Funded by NWO.
Sediment purification and facilitation by benthic invertebrates
Tom van der Meer, Michiel Kraak, Piet Verdonschot.
Funded by Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Nooderkwartier, Hoogheemraadschap de Stichtse Rijnlanden, Waterschap Rivierenland.
Ecological key processes in water quality improvement
Bart Schaub, Michiel Kraak, Arie Vonk, Piet Verdonschot.
Funded by Waterboard Rijnland.
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.
no data available