Natural and Environmental Sciences

Sophie Oster


Fortstr. 7
Gebäude C1 , Raum 101e
76829 Landau


Tel.: +49 6341 28031309


PhD Student

Research Interest

  • Aquatic ecotoxicology
  • Indirect effects of chemical contamination in lotic ecosystems
  • Trophic cascades between lotic biofilm and their primary consumers (grazer)

Current Project: TROPHIE

Direct and indirect effects of herbicides and antibiotics on lotic biofilm communities and their primary consumers

Major questions:
1) How does structure and function of a natural periphyton changes during a chronic exposure towards herbicides and/or antibiotics (direct effects)?

2) Do we find any indirect effects towards grazer consuming contaminated biofilm? Do similar patterns appear regarding the direction of the effect in physiologically different grazers (Potamopyrgus antipodarum vs. Baetis rhodani)?

3) Can these effects be counteracted by adaption of periphyton to those stressors?

In lotic ecosystems, biofilms or periphyton are important contributors to primary production. Additionally, they are a hot spot of biodiversity, composed of algae, diatoms, fungi and bacteria. Chemical contamination (eg. runoff or wastewater) poses a risk for biofilm quantity and quality. The research challenges of this PhD project are: understanding the impact of herbicides and antibiotics on primary producers’ diversity, the consequences for the food quality of the biofilm for higher trophic levels, and further bottom-up or top-down effects.

Personal Information

See ResearchGate:

Sophie Oster



  • Since 2020 PhD student at the Institute of Environmental Sciences, University Koblenz-Landau, Germany
  • 2017-2019 Master of Science in Ecotoxicology at the RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Grade: 1.0, Degree with honors

Master thesis: Endocrine effects of an advanced wastewater treatment plant using effect-based methods in situ and in vitro.

  • 2014-2017 Bachelor of Science in Biology at the RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Grade: 1.8

Bachelor thesis: Comparative analysis of the mutagenic potential of dissolved and particle bound contaminants in the catchment area of the Wurm River.

  • 2012-2014: Apprenticeship to Verterinary Assistant at the Veterinary clinic Dr. Ursula Rullof (Wemmetsweiler, Germany)

  • 10/2020 PhD scholarship (for 3 years) of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt - DBU)
  • 06/2020 PhD scholarship (for 4 months) of the University of Koblenz-Landau (Anschubstipendium für Nachwuchswissenschaftler)

  • 2018 Deans List of the RWTH Aachen University: Top 5 % of students

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