R.J.E. Vroom (Renske) MSc

PhD candidate - Aquatic Ecology and Environmental Biology

R.J.E. Vroom (Renske) MSc
Visiting address

Heyendaalseweg 135
6525 AJ NIJMEGEN
Internal postal code: 31

Postal address

Postbus 9010
6500 GL NIJMEGEN

Working days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Renske Vroom researches how humans land use change impacts freshwater ecosystems. Her research focuses on nutrient dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions in peatlands, (former) agricultural soils and aquaculture ponds.

Peatlands around the world are severely impacted by drainage for agricultural purposes and peat extraction. Accelerated break-down of organic matter due to peat oxidation leads to huge CO2 emissions, soil degradation, land subsidence and water quality issues. Rewetting and subsequent crop cultivation (‘paludiculture’) has great potential to restore the peatland’s function and a carbon and nutrient sink. We are researching how different ‘paludicrops’, such as Sphagnum spp. and Typha spp., can restore carbon sequestration and water purification functions in rewetted peatlands.

When rewetting former agricultural soils for nature development or the creation of buffer zones, a nutrient legacy often result ins poor water quality and low biodiversity. We aim to extract excess nutrients and rehabilitate these soils by cultivating Azolla filiculoides, a floating fern that can fix atmospheric nitrogen in symbiosis with cyanobacteria. Harvested A. filiculoides biomass can subsequently provide a high-grade product, e.g. as a protein-rich food source or green fertilizer. We are investigating the impact of A. filiculoides on water quality as well as emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Last but not least, we are studying methane emissions from fishponds in collaboration with universities in Brazil. Fish has historically played an essential role as an animal food source. In response to dwindling wild fish stocks, aquaculture is currently booming. Very little is known, however, about the extent, drivers and pathways of methane emissions from fishponds. We are quantifying and characterizing these emissions and their drivers in Brazilian fishponds in order to formulate climate-smart management strategies for low-footprint fish production.

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