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

Dr. Louis Peperzak


The benefits and burdens of algae

Plankton researcher Louis Peperzak tries to understand how and why plankton grow where they grow and in line with that: why they sometimes cause a nuisance.

'The abundance of plankton, microscopic algae, is controlled by physical and biological factors. Physical factors are nutrients (nitrogen), salinity, turbulence and temperature. The long-term seawater temperature is increasing and this may lead to a change on plankton composition. Biological factors are related to the algae themselves and to organisms that consume plankton, such as zooplankton and mussels. Algae that were introduced from warmer Asia will grow better in a steadily less cooler North Sea. If they are less consumed by our native zooplankton, they may outgrow indigenous species.'   

‘There are various species of algae that produce colorfull pigments or even toxic substances. When these algae bloom, that can give rise to problems. The sea may change from blue to orange or red. Sometimes people get sick after eating mussels that have fed on toxic algae. The mussels might experience no ill effects, but people who consume those mussels will.’ 

Algae in a changing climate

‘By studying the biology and physics of algae, I examine why the plankton composition changes from season to season and from year to year. This is becoming more relevant in the future, because my model research revealed a long time ago that problems caused by nuisamce algae will probably only increase due to climate change.’

More information?

I am on ResearchGate, Web of Science and Orcid: 0000-0003-0691-2521.

Read more +

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