Environmental Modelling

Given the natural variation of light, temperature and nutrients, it is unclear whether and how much chemical pollution affects ecosystem dynamics. To fill this knowledge gap, data of both chemical pollution and natural drivers can be used. However, there are often difficulties in causally linking stressors with observed differences in ecosystem structure and functioning in natural environments because both natural processes as well as the influence of stressors are highly variable in both space and time. To date, due to improved technologies, the computational time for transferring environmental data into scientific knowledge has drastically decreased. As a lot of physical-chemical and biological data have been collected, merging different sets of data has significantly increased our ability to investigate and quantify how stressors potentially alter biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (including interactions between anthropogenic and natural stress). As such, big data analysis (and environmental modelling in general) will become increasingly relevant for risk assessment procedures and will improve our knowledge about the impact of multiple stressors (such as climate change and chemical pollution) on marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

Current researchers
Yana Deschutter

Past researchers
Frederik De LaenderGert Everaert

PhD theses
Everaert, G. (2015). Potential risk of organic micropollutants on marine phytoplankton in the greater North Sea: integration of modelling and experimental approaches. Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent, Belgium.

De Laender, F. (2007). Predicting effects of chemicals on freshwater ecosystems: model development, validation and application. Ghent University. Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent, Belgium.

Recent publications
Everaert, G. et al. (2015). Multidecadal field data support intimate links between phytoplankton dynamics and PCB concentrations in marine sediments and biota. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY49(14), 8704–8711.

Everaert, G. et al. (2015). Relative contribution of persistent organic pollutants to marine phytoplankton biomass dynamics in the North Sea and the Kattegat. CHEMOSPHERE134, 76–83.

Everaert, G. et al. (2014). Additive modelling reveals spatiotemporal PCBs trends in marine sediments. MARINE POLLUTION BULLETIN79(1-2), 47–53.