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Water appears to be the factor connecting everything

Our human population depends critically on the availability of freshwater, a stable climate and functioning ecosystems. What are the major influences on climate and how does climate change impact system Earth? How do global changes affect ecosystems and their biodiversity, and how do ecosystem responses feedback on water and climate?

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Prof. Marc Bierkens

Programme coordinator 

+31 30 253 2777


It is clear that the issues impacting water, climate and ecosystems are highly interconnected and water appears the factor connecting everything. Utrecht University scientists are studying the full spectrum of these interconnections. From the interactions between climate change, ice sheets and oceans, through ecosystems and biodiversity, to the quality and availability of fresh water and sustainable land use. With our truly multi-disciplinary approach we bring together knowledge to contribute to a better future for our next generations.

Water Climate and Ecosystems is part of the Utrecht University research theme Sustainability.

Comprehensive and multi-disciplinary

Water, Climate and Ecosystems focusses on research topics involving system earth and has a keen eye for the application of scientific advancements. Our approach is truly multi-disciplinary drawing from a wide range of expertise that can be offered by Utrecht University. Our vast range of disciplines enables a whole-system analysis of the Earth’s climate system and aids the search for attainable adaptation strategies to maintain water security and biodiversity.


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21 April 2017
The research by Ana Benítez-López and Pita Verweij led to international media attention.
prof. Guus Velders
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TIME has named Professor by Special Appointment Guus Velders as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Photo collage of plastic fragments found in the Arctic Ocean. Photo: Andres Cozar.
19 April 2017
The Arctic Ocean contains a surprisingly large amount of plastic debris, especially compared to the low population of the area.