Wageningen University

Partner No. 4: Wageningen University, Department of Environmental Sciences, Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group (WU)

University of Wageningen


Wageningen University (WU) founded in 1918, has in recent decades evolved into one of the world’s leading education and research centres in plant, animal, environmental, agrotechnological, food and social sciences.. Wageningen University has therefore formulated its mission as follows:
“Wageningen University wishes to develop and disseminate the scientific knowledge needed to a sustainable supply of society’s demand for sufficient, healthy food and a good environment for humans, animals and plants.” Recognising the importance of disseminating knowledge and expertise, WU offers students from around the world a wide range of educational programmes, including a special international Master of Science Programme as well as a post-graduate programme.

Wageningen University and Research Centre

The University has been integrated with the Agricultural Research Department (DLO), the Institutes for Applied Research in Agriculture, the International Agricultural Centre (IAC), the International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement (ILRI) and the International Soil Reference and Information Centre (ISRIC), establishing Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR). Within its sphere of activity (agro-production chains and the green space) Wageningen UR focuses on sustainable agricultural production chains (plant and animal);agrotechnology, nutrition and health; development of natural habitats and conservation of natural resources anduse of the multifunctional ‘green’ and ‘blue’ (aquatic and atmospheric) spaces.

Department of Environmental Sciences

The Department of Environmental Sciences (DES) is one of five Departments of Wageningen University. DES covers and co-ordinates the activities of twenty chairs and their accompanying research groups which form the foundation of the scientific education and research activities at university level.
Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group
The research of the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group focuses on the physical, chemical and biological processes occurring predominantly in freshwater ecosystems. The main goal is to develop new knowledge and better instruments for restoration and management of aquatic ecosystems. The research is multidisciplinary (environmental engineering, environmental chemistry and aquatic ecology) and ranges from the laboratory scale (detailed process studies) to the actual ecosystems’ scale (field studies). The multidisciplinary expertise of the team comes together in the development of integrated models for ecosystem and water quality management. The research approach is quantitative with a strong emphasis on state-of-the-art statistical and modelling techniques.

Main tasks attributed:

  • WU will be involved in work package 1, 4 and 7. In work package 1 it will engage in the project meetings and discussions. In work package 4 it will provide information to validate the environmental models relevant to contaminants, while WU will be the lead participant of work package 7.

Key Project Personnel:

Dr. Paul J. Van den Brink (21-06-68) is involved in supervising and executing international projects on the scientific underpinning of higher tier risk assessment procedures for contaminants (e.g. for the registration of pesticides). He is also experienced in the analysis of complex ecological data sets. For this he improved multivariate ordination techniques to assess the impact of chemical stress on freshwater (model) ecosystems. Recent research topics are the development of effect models (e.g. food web, meta-population and expert base models), the validation of risk assessment procedures, and human and ecological risk assessment of pesticide use in developing countries in Asia and Africa. Since 1994, Paul van den Brink has published over 75 peer reviewed papers, for two of which he won international prizes. In 2006 Paul won the LRI-SETAC Innovative Science Award and is presently a member of the SENSE research school (www.sense.nl ), vice-president of SETAC Europe (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) and editor of the journal: ‘Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’.
Andreu Rico Andreu Rico (MSc in Environmental Sciences) has experience on the risk assessment of pesticides in tropical aquatic ecosystems of South and Central America. He started his PhD project in November of 2009 at Wageningen University and the main objectives of his research are:
• To assess preliminary risks posed by chemicals and chemotherapeutants used in Asian aquaculture for the cultured species, external aquatic ecosystems and consumers.
• To assess environmental pollution and effects of chemicals on tropical aquatic ecosystems through monitoring campaigns and ecotoxicity studies.
• To explore new methods that can be used by farmers and relevant stakeholders to assess the environmental risks posed by chemical pollution in Asian seafood production systems.
Photo © Loni Hensler