Ecological Microbiology
Ecological Microbiology


The Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences (RIBES) aims to perform world leading research in order to understand the response of the natural environment to human impact.


RIBES defines four overarching research themes within the research mission Towards Healthy Ecosystems. You can read more about the mission on the Organisation page.

Laura van Niftrik in laboratory

I. Macronutrients and Chemicals of Emerging Concern

RIBES aims to understand the ecology and physiology of novel nitrogen cycle bacteria in aquatic ecosystems and apply these bacteria in drinking water and wastewater plants for the removal of residual nitrogen and pharmaceuticals. RIBES also defines new methods to improve soil conditions and nutrient cycling in natural and agricultural systems. Finally, the institute assesses the risk posed by chemicals of emerging concern and tries to find sustainable solutions to remove them from aquatic environments.

Coordinators (2024): Sebastian Lücker, Annelies Veraart, Fiona Wang

Plant Systems Physiology

II. Physical Conditions: Understanding Responses and Adaptation Mechanism to Stressors

Drastic changes in physical conditions (drought, flooding, temperature) are leading to a loss of species diversity and affecting the sustainability of natural and agricultural systems worldwide. To ensure food security and safety there is an urgent need for the development of climate-resilient crops and animals. Incorporating in-depth insights from plant and animal ecophysiology may reduce the need for excessive use of energy, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, protein-rich diets, or synthetic fertilisers.

Coordinators (2024): Robert Jansen, Juriaan Metz, Victoria Mironova

Organismal Animal Physiology Zebrafish Lab

III. Biodiversity Decline and Recovery of Ecological Communities

RIBES unravels, understands and finds solutions for urgent ecosystem restoration to increase biodiversity and support a wide range of ecosystem services. The institute has a leading role in bio-demographic research because it harbours world-class population ecologists, and it has a very successful collaboration with many species-oriented NGOs grouped in ‘Natuurplaza’ housed at the Radboud University campus.

Coordinators (2024): Jelle Hilbers, Eelke Jongejans, Marlee Tucker

Aquatic Ecology

IV. Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases

RIBES studies the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation of organisms to climate change. With this, the institute aims to understand, and ultimately reduce and combat climate change in aquatic and wetland ecosystems.

Coordinators (2024): Steef Hanssen, Sarian Kosten, José Paranaíba, Cornelia Welte


Researchers of RIBES are involved in many different research projects. In this list, you can find some of our current projects.

  • Living Lab Ooijpolder

    Living Lab Ooijpolder

    In recent years, scientists have experimented with innovative forms of biodiversity restoration in the Ooijpolder in Gelderland. The Living Lab looks at how the existing pilot schemes and initiatives have improved biodiversity in this region.

  • Red and Green Tomato Fruits


    The project will contribute fundamental biological insight as well as materials and strategies for breeding of heat tolerant crop varieties.

  • druppels op drijvende varen

    AZOPRO - Azolla farming on rewetted agricultural lands

    The AzoPro project investigates the potential of Azolla for phosphate removal from former agricultural lands in transition to nature.

Discover more projects


RIBES is organised in four research departments. All departments participate in the cross-cutting research theme Towards Healthy Ecosystems, leveraging their complementary expertise in close collaboration with their large network of partners in academia, and public and private organisations.


View all papers, dissertations and datasets in Radboud Repository.

View all publications