ESR 11: Saul Fernandes


Country of origin: Portugal

Host institution: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Contact: s.s.monteirofernandes@vu.nl

About me

Saul developed a strong interest in soils ecotoxicology throughout his academic education at the University of Porto in Portugal where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology and later his master’s degree in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology. During this period Saul acquired experience with research technics related to the chemical and biological quality assessment of soils and water. His previous works were mainly focused on the ecotoxicological impact of human actions on soils functions and ecosystem services and searching for more sustainable and less hazardous chemical compounds. After graduation, he worked as a research fellow on a project aiming to develop new nanopesticide formulations, study their efficiency and characterize their ecotoxicological impacts on aquatic and terrestrial non-target species.

Currently, Saul is enrolled as a PhD student in the Department of Ecological Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research within PRORISK focuses on investigating the impact of chemical stressors on the ecosystem services provided by soil micro-arthropods. In his work, a trait-based approach combined with an adverse outcome pathway approach will be explored as tools for predicting effects of chemical stressors on ecosystem services.

Project

Project title: Exploring the role of soil organisms in relation to ecosystem services and its potential sensitivity to chemical stressors
Objectives:

Investigating the effects of chemical stressors on ecosystem services (i.e. soil fertility) provided by soil micro-arthropods.
Linking gene expression and individual level responses by combining AOP and trait-based approaches.

Expected results:

Effects at different levels of biological organization, from gene expression to population and potential for recovery of Folsomia candida (Collembola).
Trait-based approach combined with functional endpoints to establish role of Collembola in soil fertility (i.e. N cycling).
Potential of AOP approach, extended with biochemical and physiological endpoints, dedicated microcosm data on Collembola communities, and combined with trait-based approaches for predicting ecosystem services effects.

Place: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Planned secondments:
AU, M15, 2 months, investigate effects of non-chemical stressors on role of Collembola in ecosystem services
ECT, M25, 2 months, link population level to ecosystem level effects by performing TME experiments
Work package: 4 - Predicting effects on ecosystem services through AOPs
Supervisor: Kees van Gestel, VUA
Host institution and enrolment: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam