Staff

Piet Spaak

Dr. Piet Spaak

Department Aquatic Ecology

About Me

Also at: ETH-Zurich, Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ)

Date of birth: 10 December 1959
Nationality: Dutch
Languages: Dutch (native), English (fluent), German (fluent)

Academic qualifications and training

  • July 2004 Sabbatical Cornell University, Ithaca New York, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • October 2000 PD (Privat Dozent) Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)- Zurich. Habilitation Thesis entitled: Evolutionary Ecology of Daphnia
  • April 1994 Ph.D. University of Utrecht (The Netherlands). Thesis entitled: Genetical Ecology of a Coexisting Daphnia Hybrid Species Complex.
University: University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
  • 1988 MA degree in biology
  • 1987/1988 Plant ecology: Essay about the evolution of phenotypic plasticity
  • Plant ecology: Translation of the simulation program 'EGRAS' (ecological grassland simulator) from a mainframe computer to a IBM compatible PC
  • 1986 Undergraduate thesis in animal ecology entitled: 'The influence of grazing on siphons on the burying depth of the bivalve Macoma balthica'
  • Completion of a teaching course which resulted in a teaching certificate in high school Biology.
  • 1985 Undergraduate thesis in population genetics entitled: 'Gene-flow and genetic differentiation in a Plantago lanceolata population'
  • Nov. 1983 Bachelor's degree in biology
Appointments held
  • 1996/1999 ETH-Zürich, Oberassistent: Ecological geneticist with the Swiss Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG)
  • 1994/1996 Max-Planck Postdoctoral fellowship the Max-Plank-Institute for Limnology (Plön, Germany): Maintenance of hybridization in Daphnia species complexes: ecological and genetic consequences.
  • 1989/1994 Ph.D. student at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Centre for Limnology.
  • 1989 Supervisor of the continuation of the project for the Institute of Nature Management which resulted in a version of the simulation programme, which could be used by land-use managers.
  • 1987 Research Assistant - Institute for Nature Management. Implementing a simulation programme to predict the development of meadow-bird populations in grassland areas.
Present position
Since June 1999 Transfer from ETH to EAWAG, Scientist, Ecological geneticist with the Swiss Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG), with a teaching assignment (Lehrauftrag) at the Technical University of Zürich (ETH).

Research Grants

(last 10 years)
  • 1998 – 2001 EU project: Steering role of infochemicals for food chain function and structure (SNIFFS)1998-2001 (with H.R. Bürgi) Together with groups in Holland and Germany. Swiss part: SFr 300.000,-- (supporting two Ph.D. Students).
  • 1998 – 2001 : J.V. Ward, C. Robinson & P. Spaak, Habitat fragmentation of alpine streams: implications for biodiversity, genetic diversity, and freshwater conservation: SFr 211.442,-- (supporting one Ph.D. Student).
  • 2002 –2004 Swiss Science Foundation and the German Science foundation granted the project Biotic interactions and the maintenance of a Daphnia hybrid species complex in which two PhD students work on both Lake Greifensee and lake Constance SFr 131.300,-- (supporting Swiss PhD Student)
  • 2004 – 2006 EAWAG, Directorate. Support Brienzersee Project (several departments, my part SFr 20.000,--)
  • 2004 – 2006 Kanton Bern, Brienzersee Project, subproject Zooplankton Growth SFr 200.000,--. (supporting PhD student)
  • 2006 - 2008 Eawag, “Aqua Diverse” – a framework for explaining, predicting and remediating loss of aquatic biodiversity in Switzerland (with O. Seehausen, R. Müller, J. Jokela, C.T. Robinson, C. Schubert) SFr 460’800,--
  • 2007-2009 EvolChemTox Sfr 230’000 (with J. Hollender and C. Stamm)
  • 2007-2010 SNF parasites SFr 240’000 (supporting one Ph.D. Student).
  • 2008-2012 ETH Board GEDIHAP SFr 1’400’000 (with Bas Ibelings (Eawag), Sebastian Bonhoeffer (ETH), Paul Schmid-Hempel (ETH), Daniel Rigling (WSL), Ottmar Holdenrieder (ETH), Jukka Jokela (Eawag), Rik Eggen (Eawag), Bruce McDonalds (ETH).)
Teaching Activities
  • Developed a course for Diploma Students (Vollpraktikum Limnologie) where they basically learn how to do science, first 9 weeks of the winter semester (started 1996 till 2003). This course is done in close co-operation with the diploma-supervisors of the students, so that they can practise working on their own research theme. Modules of the course are:
        ‘Academic Writing culture’
        Finding literature in electronic sources and on the web
        Presentation techniques
        Statistics / Pseudo replication
        How to design a good experiment?
        Introduction in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Statistica and SigmaPlot
  • Lecture course: Ecological Genetics of Aquatic Organisms, one semester hour in winter semester (started 1997)
  • Practical course ‘Genetic techniques as tools in aquatic ecology’
  • Lectures within the course Introduction to Ecotoxicology 2002: 1) Ecological basics in ecotoxicology, evolution, limiting resources and ecological niches. 2) population ecology
  • Lectures within the course Introduction to Ecotoxicology 2004: B3 Daphnia as model for the influence of biotic factors on ecosystems. Part 1 Parasites; Part 2 Case Study Brienzersee
  • Lecture Limnology WS 2005 at Cornell University, together with Nelson Hairston
  • Lecture SS 2006-2007 Aquatic Ecology II
  • Lecture SS 2008 Aquatic Systems
  • SS 2007-2008 Practical Lab course in Evolutionary Biology
Editorial Activities
  • Co-editor (with A. Brancelj and L. De Meester) of the proceedings of the 4th international conference on Cladocera, Postojna, Slovenia, August 8-15, 1996. These are published as a special volume of Hydrobiologia in 1997.
  • Co-editor (with E. van Donk and M. Boerma) of a special volume of Hydrobiologia with the title: “Recent developments in fundamental and applied plankton research” to be published in 2002.
  • Editor of special issue of Hydrobiologia: Cladocera: Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Cladocera. Volume 594. Springer Science Business Media B.V.: 199 p.
  • I reviewed manuscripts for Hydrobiologia, Limnology and Oceanography, Archiv für Hydrobiologie, Aquatic Ecology, Aquatic Science, Plankton Research, Ecological Aplications, Ecology, The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Evolution, Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Freshwater Biology, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Molecular Ecology and The European Journal for Evolutionary Biology.
  • 2008 - 2010 Associate Editor of Plankton Research
  • Since January 1. 2008 Associate Editor of Hydrobiologia
  • Since 2010 Editor in Chief of Aquatic Ecology
Member of societies
  • The Society for the study of Evolution
  • European Society for Evolutionary Biology
  • Netherlands Society for Aquatic Ecology
  • SIL, International Association of Theoretical and Applied Limnology
  • American Limnological Society

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Projects

The impact of cyanobacterial blooms triggered by nutrient pollution on aquatic environments in the context of climate change. A Romanian-Swiss collaboration.
This project aims at sequencing a member of the subgenus Hyalodaphnia, which are the Daphnia that are predominantly found in European lakes.

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Address

E-Mail: piet.spaak@eawag.ch
Phone: +41 58 765 5617
Fax: +41 58 765 5817
Address: Eawag
Überlandstrasse 133
8600 Dübendorf
Office: BU G05

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Expert of

plankton, sediments

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