Beginning:      Spring 2018
Duration:        20 – 30 weeks, unpaid
Credits:            30 – 45 ECTS


Future climatic scenarios point to a threat of salinization in Dutch floating fen ecosystems. This is mainly caused by an increased upward seepage of saline groundwater and an increased inflow of saline surface water. The fen ecosystem as a whole is depicted as a protected area and it consists of mostly salt sensitive plant species, some of which are red-listed. However, what we barely know is how these plants respond to increasing salt concentrations. What happens to plant growth and survival? Or to plant physiology such as leaf nitrogen and potassium concentration? And: can we pinpoint particular plant functional traits which could be integrated into vegetation models?


You can be part of this ongoing research, because this Spring 2018 we will start performing multiple salt stress experiments to try and tackle the abovementioned questions. We will use a monoculture setup in our controlled growing chambers to expose floating fen plant species to different levels of salt and record their response. From the results we can than build salt response curves and determine the critical salt concentrations of floating fen plant species. During this MSc project you will work together with Milou in the laboratory. In addition, it is possible to give this project your own spin by linking the laboratory results directly to actual field locations in The Netherlands.


Affinity with maintaining and caring for plants is a plus.

Contact information

Milou Huizinga is a PhD student working on salinization of natural floating fen plant communities in the Netherlands. During her PhD project she is supervised by Prof. Dr. Ing. Flip Witte and Prof. Dr. Rien Aerts.

If this topic appeals to you, please email

Faculty of Science (FES),  VU Amsterdam.
Dept. of Ecological Science, subdept. Systems Ecology, room A-159.
Address: De Boelelaan 1085, 1081HV Amsterdam