Grant for research on Antarctic marine animals

Aquatic ecologist Wilco Verberk of Radboud University has received a grant of nearly 1 million euros from NWO to conduct research in Antarctica. From the money, he will investigate the influence of global warming on marine animals in Antarctica.

The Antarctic climate and ecosystem are changing rapidly. Therefore, the Dutch Polar Program has allocated a total of 4.6 million euros to five projects conducting Antarctic research, including Verberk's. The ecologist will look at how the unique biodiversity in the seas around Antarctica is threatened by global warming and invasions of exotic species from outside Antarctica. Verberk will focus on snails and ostracods that have adapted to the stable, icy climate over millions of years. The researchers will examine temperature tolerance, growth and interactions between Antarctic and non-Antarctic species under current and future conditions. With this information, they want to predict how vulnerable Antarctica's unique species are to shifts in climate and the arrival of non-native newcomers.

Verberk: "With this NWO grant, we are going to appoint two PhD students and a postdoc. We will go to Antarctica to dive into the water at -2 and collect marine animals to study in the lab there. We will also ship animals from Antarctica and southern Chile to the Cambridge aquarium facilities to study them even more closely. This way we want to find out if, with further global warming, southern Chilean species can gain a foothold in Antarctica.'

Contact information

For further information, please contact researcher involved or team Science communication via +31 24 361 6000 or media [at] (media[at]ru[dot]nl).   

Sustainability, Nature