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PhD position on the project Infodisrupt - NIOO-KNAW - Wageningen

The Department of Aquatic Ecology offers a PhD position on the project Infodisrupt. Project description: Organisms use natural chemical communication to deal …

bijna 4 jaar geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 uur
€ 2266 - € 2897 per maand


The Department of Aquatic Ecology offers a PhD position on the project Infodisrupt.

Project description:
Organisms use natural chemical communication to deal with various challenges, such as food location and enemy avoidance. Information is conveyed between individuals by infochemicals, evoking a behavioural or physiological response in the receiving organism.

Recently, evidence was provided that pharmaceuticals in surface waters, even at very low concentrations, can disrupt this natural communication (infodisruption). Pharmaceutical consumption is increasing, leading to unprecedented levels of these compounds in aquatic environments globally.

Aim of this project is to determine the effects of pharmaceutical-induced infodisruption on the functioning of freshwater ecosystems. We hypothesise that exposure to pharmaceuticals will result in disruption of natural communication, causing significant changes in food web composition and functioning.

The PhD candidate will follow a new, integrative and stepwise, multidisciplinary approach to advance from understanding to prediction. First, she/he will unravel pharmaceutical-induced infodisruption at the organismal level. Next, the PhD candidate will demonstrate effects of infodisruption on trophic interactions, and scale up to food web effects in large outdoor mesocosms. Bioassays will bedeveloped with the aim to predict the ecosystem impact of infodisruption.

The PhD candidate will be part of a large-scale collaboration, consisting of the research team of the EMERCHE project (www.stw.nl/nl/content/emerche-effect-directed-monitoring-tools-assess-ecological-and-human-health-risks-chemicals) and the NIOO research team will be imbedded in AKWA (https://nioo.knaw.nl/en/akwa).

The project will provide fundamentally new and critically needed knowledge on effects of pharmaceutical discharge on ecosystem functioning. This may lead to prioritization of pharmaceuticals for water quality monitoring and to stimulation of developing biodegradable pharmaceuticals.


Skills and Competences:
The PhD candidate needs to have a strong background in aquatic ecology and environmental chemistry and needs to have a master degree. If the candidate has not completed the higher education with English as the language of instruction, the candidate has to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language (TOEFL internet-based 90, with minimum sub-score 20 (was 23) for speaking of equivalent). As the candidate will be part of a larger research team, good team player skills are required.

The PhD candidate will be primarily based in Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO) supervised by Dr. Lisette de Senerpont Domis and Dr. Miquel Lürling, and will be co-supervised by Dr. Tania Fernandes. Prof. Dr. Ellen van Donk will coordinate the NIOO Infodisrupt research team, consisting of the PhD candidate and a Postdoc.


This is a temporary appointment, initially for 1 year and upon satisfaction to be prolonged for a maximum of 4 years (1.0 fte). Starting day: October 15, 2018

The gross salary starts at € 2.266, - per month in the 1st year, and will gradually increase to a maximum of € 2.897, - per month in the 4th year, scale P, Collective Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten), excluding 8% holiday pay and a year-end bonus.

Additional information

Information: Dr. Lisette de Senerpont Domis L.deSenerpontDomis@nioo.knaw.nl and/or Prof. Ellen van Donk E.vandonk@nioo.knaw.nl

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