Katja Philippart, NIOZ researcher and Professor by Special Appointment of Productivity of Coastal Marine Ecosystems at Utrecht University, is working on the crossroads of algae, shellfish and environmental change. ‘When changes occur in the climate or in the nutrient supply in the Wadden Sea, short-lived microalgae – and accordingly, the shellfish that feed on those algae – are the first to respond. That also has consequences for other animals, including the people who rely on natural resources provided by the coastal ecosystems.’
‘In recent decades, we first experienced a period of “eutrophication” in the coastal North Sea and the Wadden Sea due to high nitrogen and phosphate loadings of riverine freshwater supply into the sea. Subsequently, that overfertilisation was curbed. Both the increase and decrease in nutrient supply was reflected in the species composition of microalgae in the water and the shellfish living on tidal flats.’
‘We can now see something similar with global warming. During dry summers, the supply of river water is low and with that the amount of nutrients (including freshwater algae) that reach the sea. Furthermore, warm summers are associated with a high mortality of cockles, although it is not yet clear whether there is a mechanistic link or not. Due to the increased shellfish mortality, however, we might face shifts in age composition as has been observed along the English coast where only one-year-old cockles are found.’
‘Changes in the base of the food web alter the natural values of the Wadden Sea, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. That has direct consequences for the fish that use the Wadden Sea as a breeding ground and for the birds that find a vital tank station there while migrating between the North and South. In addition, this also affects the people who earn their living from shellfish fishing. So, for several reasons, it is crucial to develop a good understanding of the interactions between microalgae and shellfish in a coastal system such as the Wadden Sea.’Read more +
In shallow seas, such as the Wadden Sea, phytoplankton and microphytobenthos are at the base of the food chain and are the source of food for most other marine organisms. The carrying capacity of ecosystems in terms of biomass per trophic level is highly dependent on the production, abundance, timing and assemblage composition of microscopic algae. For the Wadden Sea, our statistical analyses of long-term (> 40 yrs) field observations indicate that changes in nutrient loads were followed by changes in biomass, in species composition, and in the productivity of phytoplankton. Field observations and bioassays on primary production and biomass of lower and higher trophic levels suggest that the carrying capacity of coastal ecosystems, such as the Wadden Sea, is largely under bottom-up control.
The main aim of my research is to understand the trophic interactions between the main primary producers (phytoplankton and microphytobenthos) and primary consumers (bivalves) of shallow temperate coastal waters such as the Wadden Sea. In my research group we use various techniques, including automated monitoring networks, field surveys, remote sensing (airborne and satellite) techniques and laboratory experiments under controlled environmental conditions. Collection and advanced statistics of field data and testing of mechanistic views on structuring factors of primary production and consumption in shallow coastal waters is performed within several interdisciplinary projects, performed together with national and international partners.
In addition, I am very much interested in translating scientific knowledge on coastal seas for the understanding and sustainability of our planet and am, therefore, involved in national and international projects with regard to applications, outreach and education of marine sciences. While the Wadden Sea is my primary study area, my research has included studies within the North Sea, Venice Lagoon, Banc d’Arguin, Patagonian Shelf and Oman.
In order to better understand the driving factors of the temporal and spatial variation in primary productivity in coastal estuarine ecosystems and the interactions between primary producers and primary consumers in a changing world, my research activities include:
From 2021: Chair Waddenacademie
2019-2020: Vice-chair Waddenacademie
From 2018: Professor on the chair 'Productivity of Coastal Marine Ecosystems at the Faculty of Geosciences (University of Utrecht)
From 2017: Lead investigator (NIOZ Department of Coastal Systems)
From 2014: Associate professor (University of Utrecht)
From 2013: Member of the board of directors (Wadden Academy)
From 2010: Deputy head (NIOZ Department of Coastal Systems)
2000-2016: Senior scientist (NIOZ Department of Marine Ecology)
2000-2010: Editor-in-Chief Journal of Sea Research (NIOZ)
1994-2000: PostDoc (NIOZ Department of Marine Ecology)
1994-2000: Editor Journal of Sea Research (NIOZ)
1991-1994: PostDoc (Institute for Forestry and Nature Research, Department of Marine Ecology, Texel, The Netherlands)
1986-1990: PhD student (Agricultural University, Department of Water Quality Management and Aquatic Ecology, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Philippart, C.J.M., H.M. van Aken, J.J. Beukema, O.G. Bos, G.C. Cadée & R. Dekker (2003). Climate-related changes in recruitment of the bivalve Macoma balthica. Limnology and Oceanography 48, 2171-2185 (IF = 3.55; Times cited = 211).
Philippart, C.J.M., G.C. Cadée, W. van Raaphorst & R. Riegman (2000). Long-term phytoplankton-nutrient interactions in a shallow coastal sea: algal community structure, nutrient budgets and denitrification potential. Limnology and Oceanography 45, 131-144 (IF = 3.55; Time cited = 170).
Philippart, C.J.M., R. Anadón, R. Danovaro, J.W. Dippner, K.F. Drinkwater, S.J. Hawkins, T. Oguz, G. O'Sullivan, & P.C. Reid (2011). Impacts of climate change on European marine ecosystems: Observations, expectations and indicators. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 400, 52-69 (IF = 1.87; Times cited = 160).
Philippart C.J.M., J.J. Beukema, G.C. Cadée, R. Dekker, P.W. Goedhart, J.M. van Iperen, M.F. Leopold & P.M.J. Herman (2007). Impact of Nutrient Reduction on Coastal Communities. Ecosystems 10, 187-203 (IF = 3.68; Times cited = 144).
Philippart, C.J.M. (1994). Interactions between Arenicola marina and Zostera noltii on a tidal flat in the Wadden Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series 111, 251-257 (IF = 2.71; Times cited = 73).
Please find my complete list of NIOZ-publications at the bottom of this webpage or on ResearcherID. You can download all my publications on ResearchGate.
1994: Doctor in the Agricultural and Environmental Sciences PhD Thesis on “Eutrophication as a possible cause of decline in the seagrass Zostera noltii of the Dutch Wadden Sea” Promotor: Prof. Dr W.J. Wolff, Agricultural University, Wageningen (NL)
1986-1990: PhD at the Agricultural University, Wageningen (NL)
1979-1986: Biology at the Agricultural University, Wageningen (NL)
1972-1978: Secondary school (Atheneum B) Pauluslyceum, Tilburg (NL)
Main applicant & coordinator
2017-2018: EDDD-Eems Dollard Dubbel Dijk (0.7 M€)
2012-2018: WaLTER-Wadden Sea Long-Term Ecosystem Research (5 M€)
2011-2015: IN PLACE-Integrated Network for Production and Loss Assessment in the Coastal Environment (2 M€)
2010-2011: CLAMER-Climate Change Impacts on the Marine Environment(1 M€)
1998-2004: SUSUSE Theme 2-Sustainable Use and Conservation of Marine Living Resources (1 M€)
Principal investigator & associate coordinator
1996-1999: DYNAMO-Dynamics through natural and anthropogenic causes of marine organisms (2 M€)
Principal investigator & co-applicant
2014-2018: Polder Wassenaar (2.5 M€)
2012-2016: INFOWEB-Impact of biological invasions on the food web of the Wadden Sea (0.5 M€)
2009-2012: P REDUCE- Consequences of phosphorus reduction for the dynamic transfer of organic matter between primary producers and primary consumers (0.7 M€)
2017-2018: Member of the Scientific Evaluation Committee of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht (Germany)
2017: Member of the European Marine Board 'Navigating the Future V Foresight' working group
2017: Member of the Evaluation Committee 'Monitoring Bodemdaling Ameland'
From 2017: Member of the Evaluation Committee of the 'Prins Bernhard Cultuur Fonds Natuur'
From 2017: Member of the Advisory Committee 'Blue Energy Afsluitdijk'
2016-2017: Chair of the 'Trilateral Research Agenda Ecology' working group
From 2015: Chief Scientist 'NIOZ Wadden Systems Research Centre'
2010-2015: Member of the SCOR Working Group 137 on 'Patterns of Phytoplankton Dynamics in Coastal Ecosystems'.
2014-2017: External member of Tenure Track Committees (ITC, RUG)
2012: Member of the SEAS-ERA Atlantic Consultative Workshop
2011: Member of the Steering Committee of 'Monitoring Inland and Coastal waters with the APEX Sensor (MICAS)'
2009-2010: Chair of the IMBER Continental Margins Working Group
2009-2010: Member of the IMBER Science Steering Committee
2008-2011: Co-editor of Treatise Volume on 'Marine Ecosystem Processes', together with Prof. Dr C. Heip & Prof. Dr J. Middelburg
2007: Member of the PRLTI4 (400 MEuro) Funding Advisory Panel of the Higher Education Agency of Ireland, Dublin (Ireland)
2006: Member of the Climate Change Working Group of the Joint Research Council of the European Commission, Ispra (Italy)
2005: Member of the Commissie MER working group 'Aardgaswinning Waddenzeegebied vanaf lokaties Moddergat, Lauwersoog en Vierhuizen'
2005: Member of the Commissie MER working group 'PKB Derde nota Waddenzee'
2005-2007: Chair of the Climate Change Working Group of the Marine Board of the European Science Foundation, Strasbourg (France)
2005: Chair of the Evaluation Panel of the 'Long-term Monitoring of the Marine Environmental Change Network (MECN)', Plymouth (UK)
2004-2009: Coordinator international research project 'Pan-European Gradients in Propagation and Settlement Events' (participants: 21 European marine research institutes) funded within a EU-Network of Excellence framework.
2004-2005: Member 'Beoordelingscommissies Geo- en Biosfeer, ALW'
2004: Member of the Wadden Sea Expert Group, Institute for Environment and Systems Analysis (IMSA), Amsterdam (NL)
1997: Member of the board of reference of MER High Voltage cable linkage between Norway and The Netherlands
1993-1996: Board member of the Dutch Society of Aquatic Ecology (NVAE)
2017: Scientific coordinator (on behalf of Wadden Academy) of the 'Rich Wadden Sea' symposium, Nes (NL)
2016: Scientific coordinator (on behalf of Wadden Academy & NIOZ) of the 'Cumulative Effects in Marine Ecosystems' symposium, Texel (NL)
2015: Scientific coordinator (on behalf of NIOZ) of the national 'Resilient Wadden' symposium, Leeuwarden (NL)
2015: Scientific coordinator (on behalf of Wadden Academy) of the bilateral 'Towards a sustainable Ems-Dollard estuary' symposium, Delfzijl (NL)
2015: Member of the scientific advisory committee (on behalf of Wadden Academy) of the trilateral 'Wadden Sea Research' symposium, Leeuwarden (NL)
2013 Scientific coordinator (on behalf of Wadden Academy) of the national 'Practice, Knowledge and Management in Marine Coastal Waters' symposium, Lauwersoog (NL)
2011: Scientific coordinator (on behalf of NIOZ) of the International Conference 'Living with a Warming Ocean', Brussels (Belgium)
2009: Member of the scientific advisory committee (on behalf of NIOZ) of the International Wadden Sea Symposium, Wilhelmshaven (Germany)
2003: Member of the scientific organisation committee (on behalf of NIOZ) of the International Scientific Symposium on Structuring Factors of Shallow Marine Coastal Communities, Texel (NL)
2015-2017: Guest editor of a special issue on 'North Sea Coastal Systems' of the Journal of Sea Research
2000-2010: Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sea Research
2001-2003: Guest editor of the proceedings of the International Scientific symposium on Structuring Factors of Shallow Marine Coastal Communities, Texel (NL)
1999-2001: Guest editor of the proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Flatfish Ecology, North Carolina (USA)
1996-1999: Editor of the Journal of Sea Research
From 1994: Reviewer for various international scientific journals and reports (a.o. Limnology & Oceanography, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine Systems, PLOS ONE, IPCC AR5 Reports)
From 2014: Coordination MSc Marine Sciences 'Estuarine Ecology' Course, UU, Utrecht.
From 2014: Contributions to MSc Introduction of Marine Sciences Course, UU, Utrecht.
2009-2016: Contributions to MSc Marine Masters Course, NIOZ, Texel
2006-2014: Contributions to BSc and MSc Marine Sciences Courses, UU, Utrecht
2005-2012: Contributions to Limnology & Oceanography Course, UvA IBED, Amsterdam
2004: Marine Sciences Course, European Graduate College in Marine Sciences (Germany & NL)
2003: Contributions to Marine Ecology Course, UvA IBED, Amsterdam
1998-2002: Contributions to Marine Sciences Course, European Graduate College in Marine Sciences (Germany & NL)
1993-1995: Contributions to Tropical Ecology Course, Biology VU, Amsterdam