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Students wanted for Msc topics at the Institute of Environmental Sciences

Students searched for MSc Internships under the following topics: 1. Understanding temporal variability in functional biodiversity and 2. Characterization of engineered nanoparticles in aquatic organisms: Gold nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes

Research topic 1: Understanding temporal variability in functional biodiversity

Ecological field work in the tropics or the Netherlands: Opportunities for MSc students (May – August 2018)

Viewing communities as a collection of traits rather than species allows ecologists to more closely link biodiversity with ecosystem functions. Functional diversity refers to the range of functions (through their traits) that organisms within a community or ecosystem provide, allowing the system to provide essential services for society that contribute to human well-being and economic value. However, most all of the knowledge we have about functional diversity is applicable to only one part of the year. Insights into how traits and functional diversity fluctuate over an entire growing season will strongly enhance our understanding of diversity, ecosystem resilience, and the services it provides.


Field work can be in either Speulderbos Forest, NL or a tropical location TBD and will involve collecting hyperspectral data with a spectrometer, collecting leaf samples, and taking measurements. You will then help analyze the spectra and samples. Projects can focus on functional diversity, temporal dynamics of plant traits, retrieval of traits through remote sensing, or other idea in consultation with the supervisor. The tropical location will require an extensive stay (May – August). This work is available for MSc students or for exceptional BSc students who follow an internship outside the regular designated period.

Contact Rosaleen March
E-mail r.g.march@cml.leidenuniv.nl
Telephone 071 - 527 7497


Research topic 2: Characterization of engineered nanoparticles in aquatic organisms: Gold nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes

Master/internship  in Environmental Nano-Science


Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) possess enhanced or unique mechanical, catalytic, and optical properties because of their nano-specific properties such as shape and size. The result has been an exponential growth over the past decade in the development of ENPs and their exploitation by nanotechnology industries. ENPs enter the environment through releases such as waste streams upon production and application and finally can enter organisms body.

When in tissues and cells, ENPs are located in the biological matrix among different molecules and organelles. These make characterization and quantification of ENPs a tedious task. Despite the considerable progress in different aspects of Nano-safety over the past decade; detection, characterization and quantification of ENPs in biological media still are tasks of enormous complexity. This is due to limitations in methods and analytical techniques that are able to characterise and quantify ENPs in the complex biological matrices. As a result, it remains unclear: Do ENPs bioaccumulate in organisms? Are they transferred through food chains and induce biomagnification in predators? Which physicochemical properties (such as size and shape) of ENPs modify these processes?


Quantification of bioaccumulation and trophic transfer of NMs as a function of size, shape and surface coating in Daphnia magna and zebrafish at chronic exposure conditions.

We offer

  • The support from internationally recognised researchers to develop all the skills necessary to complete a successful master thesis
  • Excellent laboratories facilities with novel techniques
  • An international working environment with many opportunities for career development (networking, project meetings etc…)

The group has access to specialized instrumentation in-house or through intensive collaborations on all levels. The advertised position has a strong link to the European Union Horizon 2020 project BTBnano with plenty of networking opportunities.


Bachelor in Biology, Environmental Sciences or Toxicology  (or related fields).
Only students of Leiden University will be accepted.

Contact person:

Dr. Fazel Abdolahpur Monikh; f.abdolahpur.monikh@cml.leidenuniv.nl (CML),

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