• Description:

    The freshwater system and its adjacent ecosystems host countless species because of their need of water. These are the earths’ natural capital and drivers of many ecosystem services we humans depend on. At the same time, the presence and effects of anthropogenic stress in the aquatic environment are multitude and ubiquitous. These include the omnipresence of chemical pollution such as the use of agricultural chemicals.

    To relatively quickly assess the impacts of chemicals a standard risk assessment framework is in place. While valuable, the frameworks often lacks ecological realism. Researchers from Leiden University therefore experiment in outdoor freshwater experimental systems with natural food webs such as the “Levend Lab” (EN: “Living Lab”, https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/livinglab) to identify how biodiversity responds to the impacts of pesticides, fertilizers, invasive species and nanomaterials.

    Using ecological theory, a large array of different experimental and statistical analytical methods are currently in practice to perform and analyze such experiments. The key challenge for the PhD candidate is to test these different forms of experimental and statistical analytical methods to identify stressor - ecosystem function relationships. The research will likely entail measuring different forms of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem functionality followed by statistical modelling to infer causality of stressor impacts and their propagation through the ecosystem.


    1. You should have an M.Sc. in a relevant field (environmental science, biology, ecology and/or ecotoxicology), but we also consider candidates from other related scientific fields.
    2. Experience with experimental field and laboratory skills and (aquatic) organism identifications are highly valued
    3. Strong background and interest in statistical analyses, data management, visualization and coding skills (in R, but Python also applies) is highly valued.
    4. You must be proficient in spoken and written English.
    5. You are a team player and have a collaborative attitude.



  • Fields

    • Biology

    • Ecology

    • Environmental Science

  • Qualifications

    • Master

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