Research themes

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 themes within the research mission Towards Healthy Ecosystems:

RIBES is organised in three research clusters: Ecology & Physiology, Environmental Science and Microbiology.

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.

Projects within this theme

Coordinators (2022)

Sebastian Lücker, Annelies Veraart and Fiona Wang


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.

Projects within this theme

Coordinators (2022)

Robert Jansen, Juriaan Metz and Victoria Mironova

Plant Systems Physiology-DvA-8801

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.

Projects within this theme

Coordinators (2022)

Jelle Hilbers, Eelke Jongejans and Marlee Tucker

Organismal Animal Physiology (zebravissenlab)-DvA-8628

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.

Projects within this theme

Coordinators (2022)

Steef Hanssen, Sarian Kosten, José Paranaiba and Cornelia Welte

Aquatisch Ecologie 2021-DvA-0907