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Animals as biosensors for environmental pollution

Daily supervisor will be: dr. Jeroen Jansen

Model animals may serve very well as biosensors for environmental pollution because (a) their response to pollution is very specific (b) the polluting effect may have some ‘memory effect' in the organism's metabolism, such that it may still be observed although the pollutant itself is gone and (c) the direct effect of a pollutant on an organism and its ecology may be observed. There are two sub-projects in this study:

1. Industrial process monitoring for pollutant analysis
Many animals follow cycles throughout the season for sexual development, that may be chemically observed. Such processes closely resemble the progress of an industrial batch process. The methods for process monitoring may therefore be employed to identify and diagnose deviations from this ‘normal' seasonal cycle. The first project explores the usability and adaptation of such methods

2. Ecology of seasonal variation
Reproduction is ecologically most important for animals and for this they need to survive. This project aims to reveal the relative importance of sexual development and survival in seasonal cycles, for which new data analysis methodology needs to be developed.

The main interest in these projects lies in the translation of purely biological knowledge into quantitative model aspects, that can be used to evaluate the purely chemical data.