16 February 2018

Katja Philippart appointed Professor by Special Appointment of 'Productivity of Coastal Marine Ecosystems'

On February 1st, Dr. Ir. Katja Philippart was appointed as a Professor by Special Appointment at Utrecht University on the chair in 'Productivity of Coastal Marine Ecosystems', established by the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). Philippart will investigate causes of global differences in coastal productivity relating to developments such as climate change.

Katja Philippart, Professor Utrecht University - Physical Geography - Coastal dynamics, fluvial systems, and global change - Earth Surface Processes - Foto: Vincent Basler

Philippart's research focuses on how and why marine coastal ecosystems differ in productivity and assesses the sensitivity of associated communities to global pressures such as climate change, fisheries, habitat destruction and pollution.

The basis of the food web

Within estuaries and other shallow coastal waters, there are several primary producers, including phytoplankton, microphytobenthos, macroalgae and seagrasses. Their productivity is regulated by abiotic factors such as light, turbidity, temperature, nutrients and biotic factors such as biochemical processes, competition and consumption.

Knowledge about the relationship between these regulating factors and primary producers is crucial for understanding the natural dynamics of coastal marine ecosystems, their associated food webs and their sensitivity to environmental changes. This in turn is of vital importance in determining the scope for the exploitation of natural resources such as fisheries and aquaculture.


Katja Philippart (1960) has worked at NIOZ since 1994, studying the interactions between shellfish and their food, and the effects of climate change on marine coastal ecosystems. She obtained a PhD degree for her dissertation on eutrophication as a possible cause of the decline of seagrasses in the Wadden Sea at Wageningen University. Hereafter she studied the effects of eutrophication on coastal marine ecosystems at the former Institute for Forest and Nature Research (IBN). In addition to her role as project and program leader at NIOZ, Philippart is a board member 'Ecology' at the Wadden Academy since 2013 and associate professor at Utrecht University since 2014.