Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)222 36 9512

Dr. Louis Peperzak


The benefits and burdens of algae

Algae researcher Louis Peperzak tries to understand how and why algae grow where they grow and in line with that: why they sometimes cause a nuisance. ‘There are various species of algae that produce toxins. When these algae bloom somewhere, that can give rise to problems. It sometimes happens directly, when swimmers swallow them, and sometimes indirectly due to mussels consuming the algae. The mussels might experience no ill effects, but people who consume those mussels will.’

Algae in a changing climate

‘By studying the biology, chemistry and physics of algae, I hope to discover how we can prevent or control problems. That is set to become more relevant in the future, because model research revealed a long time ago that problems caused by toxic algae will probably only increase due to climate change.’

‘Algae can also cause trouble if they are transported with ballast water from one location on earth to another. Our research in that area has resulted in a spin-off company that NIOZ participates in and where I work four days a week. We are testing methods to get rid of algae in ballast water. Do these methods deliver what they promise? We send hundreds of cubic metres of water containing algae through the equipment to be tested and then examine how many algae remain.’

Eating algae

‘Besides the growth of and nuisance caused by microalgae, I also study the growth of macroalgae, in other words seaweed. The knowledge that we collect in that area could help to cultivate seaweed as a source of protein in the future. Sometimes the two lines of research come together on the surface of that seaweed, because just like ship hulls and research instruments, the blades of macroalgae can also suffer under the excessive growth of troublesome microalgae.’

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Linked news

Monday 14 June 2021
Quick enforcement of ballast water disinfection with technique of NIOZ researcher
On Friday 18 June, Cees van Slooten, former researcher at NIOZ, will defend his dissertation on systems for ballast water treatment and monitoring at the University of Groningen. His research led to a ready-to-use technique for quickly testing…
Thursday 15 September 2016
Control Union and NIOZ start spin-out for ballast water
Control Union and NIOZ have joined forces to establish a spin-out company to perform ballast water testing activities for the certification of ballast water treatment systems (BWTS). Control Union Water B.V., with her laboratories in ’t Horntje at…

NIOZ publications

Linked projects

UUNIOZ_Smile, you're on camera
Dick van Oevelen
Utrecht University
Project duration
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025