Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Quantifying the impact of osmotic stress on planktonic organisms in Blue Energy power generation

Blue Energy is a novel type of sustainable energy where energy is generated from the mixing of water with different salinity levels such as fresh water and sea water in a process called Reverse Electro Dialysis (RED). Since 2014 the first Blue Energy pilot power plant in the world is operational on the Afsluitdijk, using Wadden Sea water and Lake IJssel water as feed water sources. Royal NIOZ is currently monitoring aquatic organisms in the plant in a project which investigates the impact of Blue Energy power generation on the aquatic environment.

When seawater and freshwater merge in the RED process, organisms in the water are subjected to an osmotic shock as a result of the sudden change in ambient salinity. We want to investigate the impact of this osmotic shock on survival of phyto- and zooplankton using experimental incubations, and are looking for a MSc student interested in doing a research project with us on this subject.

What will you be doing?

You will perform experimental incubations to investigate the impact of osmotic shock on naturally occurring plankton communities in the Wadden Sea, collected at the REDstack pilot Blue Energy plant at Breezanddijk, Afsluitdijk. Plankton composition, health and survival will be investigated using microscopy, flow cytometry and/or PAM fluorometry at Royal NIOZ, Texel.

Who are we looking for?

• You are a MSc student in Marine Biology, Oceanography or equivalent.
• You are available for a period of at least 4 months, starting either early autumn 2017 or early spring 2018.
• Prior experience in one or more of the following areas is beneficial: microscopy, experiments with aquatic (micro)organisms, identification and counting of plankton.


Lodewijk van Walraven, mobile phone: +31 6 1878 1105