PhD Student – Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology, Ghent, Belgium: Bioavailability of silver for freshwater organisms;

Silver (Ag) is a widely used antimicrobial compound with substantial releases to surface water, that can be toxic to aquatic organisms in the nanogram per liter range. For this reason, the European Commission has recently listed Ag as a priority pollutant under the Water Framework Directive, and proposed an environmental quality standard (EQS) of 10 ng/L.

As for other metals, it is known that certain water quality variables such as pH, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration, can affect bioavailability and toxicity by more than 100-fold. However, there is a lack of experimental data and models to predict chronic silver toxicity to aquatic organisms.

In this project you will combine experimental work (ecotoxicity tests, metal speciation measurements) with the development of bioavailability models (e.g., biotic ligand model, BLM). The ultimate aim is to have a toolbox with validated models that can predict chronic toxicity of silver to algae, invertebrates and fish, and which can be used to derive bioavailability-based EQS values.

The project will be conducted at the Environmental Toxicology unit of UGent (GhEnToxLab) and is in collaboration with Arche-consulting (Belgium) and the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology (UK). This is a 4-year PhD project for a doctoral candidate, with a Master’s degree in (Bio-)engineering, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Technology, or Ecotoxicology.

Job profile

  • Diploma of Master of Science in Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Technology, Ecotoxicology (or similar) at the time of starting the position
  • Available to start the position on 1 October 2023, at the latest
  • Knowledge and/or skills in ecotoxicology is an asset
  • Skills in mathematical modeling and coding in a program language (R, phyton,…) is an asset
  • Passionate to perform research in an academic setting

How to apply

Send your application on or before 19 May 2023 to

The application must contain:

  • a short motivation letter (maximum 1 page)
  • a curriculum vitae (CV) (maximum 2 pages)
  • a copy of your MSc diploma
  • a copy of your study results during your MSc study

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis, followed by (online) interviews. If a suitable candidate is identified before the closing date, the procedure may be closed earlier than the advertised closing date.

Last application date May 19, 2023 00:00

Department LA22 – Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology

Contract Limited duration

Degree MSc Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Environmental Technology, Ecotoxicology (or similar)

Occupancy rate 100%

Vacancy type Research staff

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