Group members

Katrine Borgå - Professor Toxicology

Foto: Fredrik Drevon

As an ecotoxicologist my research focuses on understanding mechanisms and processes for contaminant distribution and accumulation in the environment. This includes the influence of food web ecology, migration, life history traits, and biogeochemistry on (re)distribution of contaminants in the context of a changing climate.

My research is oriented towards Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems, coastal marine and lakes, as well as recent involvement in terrestrial systems and the ecological effect of pesticides on pollinators. Target substances are legacy, current use and emerging contaminants of concern.


Heidi Sjursen Konestabo

I am a researcher at the MULTICLIM research project, which investigates how climatic and toxic stress influences life history traits in springtails. I recently completed a postdoctoral project which focused on physiological adaptations to climatic stress in soil invertebrates, and the effects of climate change on soil nutrient cycling in the Arctic.

In MULTICLIM I am studying how exposure to imidacloprid affects drought tolerance in two springtail species, and how soil fauna in an agricultural field responds to the same combination of stressors. I am also employed by the Science Library and will facilitate dissemination and outreach activities from the project.

Jan Heuschele

Photo of Jan HeuscheleMy research so far focused on a) the influence of anthropogenic environmental change on sexual selection in fish, b) the reproduction and development in marine zooplankton, and c) the impact of multiple stressors on aquatic invertebrates. In my work, I love to develop affordable open-source scientific equipment that helps to detect effects that would otherwise remain hidden due to time constraints or observer effects. Right before joining MULTICOP, I served as the centre coordinator for the Centre for Biogeochemistry in the Anthropocene at UiO and worked as a freelance science illustrator.

Postdoctoral researchers

Khuong V. Dinh

Image may contain: Ice, Glacial landform, Glacier, Arctic, Travel.I am broadly interested in how multiple stressors affect natural populations/species across ecosystem boundaries. I have investigated the effects of warming, pollutants, hypoxia, food limitation on both freshwater and marine species from the Arctic to the tropical ecosystems. At UiO, I will be working on the Nansen Legacy project focusing on how the Arctic marine food web is affected by multiple stressors, particularly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), warming, and ocean acidification.

Torben Lode 

Image of Torben LodeI finished my PhD with the BorgåGroup in December 2019 and I am happy to continue working in this group on MULTICOP. My research interests are chiefly within marine ecotoxicology, but also ecology. In my PhD, I focused on multiple stressor effects of combined predation risk and copper exposure on copepod life history and behaviour. I am also interested in how individual heterogeneity and genetic variability can influence outcomes of ecotoxicology studies, and how we can make our research more applicable for environmental regulatory authorities. I have previously worked with behavioural ecology in fish during my MSc, and prior to starting the PhD I worked as a marine environmental consultant.

Sagnik Sengupta

I started working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Research Council of Norway (RCN)-funded MULTICLIM project in October 2018. I am studying the effects of environmental stressors and anthropogenic toxicants on springtail populations. Springtails (Collembola) are an extremely important group of organisms involved in the regulation of nutrient recycling machinery of terrestrial ecosystems. However, the effect of multiple stressors in combination has rarely been addressed using springtails that are widely distributed and abundant across wide geographical ranges or climate regions.

I aim to understand whether multiple stressors in combination exert synergistic, additive, or antagonistic effects on springtail populations and their consequences for population dynamics and demography of two widely distributed springtail species. Extensive laboratory studies, field experiments, and statistical modeling, in collaboration with the other project participants, are his primary research Tools.

My research contribution is supervised by Katrine Borgå (UiO) and Hans Petter Leinaas (UiO)


PhD students

Julia Giebichenstein

For my PhD, I am studying the effects of seasonality and species distribution on contaminant levels in the northern Barents Sea food web, in order to uncover and understand the anthropogenic impact on the oceans. We will collect key marine food web species during four research cruises throughout one year on the new Norwegian icebreaker Kronprins Haakon. The samples will be analyzed for legacy and emerging persistent organic pollutants, mercury and stable isotopes.
My PhD is part of the Nansen Legacy, a joint Norwegian research project that promotes holistic research to identify, investigate and predict the underlying mechanisms of a changing Arctic.          
Driven by my passion for the oceans, combined with my curiosity to understand anthropogenic interactions on nature, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in biology focusing on the effect of ocean acidification on cod egg development. My thesis work introduced me to Northern Norway, and from there my journey towards the north begun. I was immediately fascinated by the Arctic environment, but could not wrap my head around the various changes this pristine area is facing. During my master’s thesis, I studied the behavior of a key species in the Arctic marine food web, the polar cod, after exposure to crude oil and elevated temperatures.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Øystein Varpe (UiB), Geir W. Gabrielsen (NPI), Tom Andersen (UiO)

Sabrina Schultze

I started my PhD in September 2016 and am working on food web structure, function and contaminant accumulation in coastal ecosystems.

I have a background in marine biology from the University of Bremen in Germany (BSc in biology, marine ecology) and a background in both terrestrial and marine ecology/marine ecotoxicology from the University of Tromsø in Norway (MSc in biology, northern populations and ecosystems). The focus of my Bachelor thesis was on the ecology of amphipods on wind energy platforms in the North Sea, while my Master thesis was about the ecology and response of saproxylic (Deadwood) beetles to sudden and high dead wood availability in Finnmark following moth outbreaks.

After my Master degree studies, I worked for two years as a teaching assistant at the Institute of ecology at the University of Lüneburg in Germany. Here I taught courses on introductory biology, ecology and some marine biology, but also a course on basic ecotoxicology (with a strong focus on ecology). I became fascinated by this topic so much that I decided that I want to focus my future research in this direction. I like interdisciplinary questions so that I am very excited that I can combine multiple aspects in my PhD here at UiO.

The overall all focus of my project is to assess what effects increasing levels of DOM, with a particular focus on the interaction between tDOM and associated pollutants, have on the ecology of species. The focus will be on sub-lethal effects such as changes in energy allocation and transfer, and behavioural modifications that nonetheless may have strong implications for the organisms, the food web structure and community composition

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Dag Hessen (UiO), Tom Andersen (UiO), Anders Ruus (NIVA) and Amanda Poste (NIVA).

Ane Haarr

I am a PhD candidate in environmental toxicology employed on the AnthroTox project aiming to “combine social and natural sciences to understand and manage global anthropogenic toxicants.” In my research project, I will investigate how persistent organic pollutants (POPs) associated with electronic waste is accumulating in food webs and affecting wildlife and humans in coastal areas of Tanzania (Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar). As a developing country, the handling and recycling of hazardous waste, such as waste from electronic equipment, is a growing issue in Tanzania and there is a need for empirical data.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Jan Ludvig Lyche (NMBU) and Anders Ruus (UiO).

Julie Sørlie Paus-Knudsen

I am a PhD candidate at CEES and AQUA, working on the project NEOPOLL. As a part of NEOPOLL, I will observe the mixed effects of insecticides and climate change on bumblebee behaviour, colony dynamics and pollination. More specific I will work on how the insecticide group neonicotinoids are affecting the learning of bumblebees, the pollination and the movement, and how this is interacting with different temperatures. Secondly, I will investigate if exposure of neonicotinoids and temperature alter reproduction, mortality and food intake in bumblebee colonies. Thirdly I will analyse neonicotinoid exposure from nectar and pollen and neonicotinoid accumulation in adults, broods and honey. The work in this project will be conducted at UiO, Norwegian Institute of Water Research (NIVA) and at the University of Reading in England.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO)Anders Nielsen (UiO)Merete Grung (NIVA/UiO), Dara Stanley (NUI Galaway), Michael Garratt (Univeristy of Reading) and Bert van Bavel (NIVA).

Silje Marie Kristiansen

I am a PhD candidate in the project MULTICLIM, funded by the Norwegian Research Council (RCN) through the large-scale programme KLIMAFORSK. The research project will examine how springtails (Collembola) are affect by a neonicotinoid pesticide combined with climate change in terms of increased temperature and drought. I am examining life history traits in temperate and Arctic populations of Hypogastrura viatica, and running exposure experiments with Imidacloprid (neonicotinoid) at a range of temperatures. I will, among several traits, study their somatic growth rate, age at first reproduction, egg development and hatching success.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO) and Hans Petter Leinaas (UiO).

Maja Nipen

Maja is a PhD student from the Department of Chemistry, University of Oslo. She is a member of the AnthroTox project, and has Katrine as a co-supervisor

Maeve McGovern

Maeve a PhD student from the University of Tromsø and Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA). She is a member of the TerrACE project, and has Katrine as a co-supervisor

Robynne Nowicki

Robynne a PhD student from the University Centre in Svalbad (UNIS). She is a member of the Nansen Legacy project, and has Katrine as a co-supervisor

Master of Science students

Trym Røil Dingstad

My name is Trym Røil Dingstad and I am a master student in toxicology and environmental science at the University of Oslo (UIO). I did my biology bachelor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim (2017-2020). There I chose to specialize in physiology and toxicology. Now I am a part of the research group MULTICOP that focuses on the effects of multiple stressors on coastal copepods. Throughout my master, I aim to look at populations of copepods sampled from sites historically affected by copper contamination. I want to test individuals from different populations with different life-history traits to see if copper exposure and predation risk affect survival and pigmentation (astaxanthin).

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Torben Lode (UiO) and Jan Heuschele (UiO)

Hilde Kleppe Langva

I am a master student in Toxicology and Environmental Science at UiO. I took my bachelor’s degree in Biosciences at UiO, and prior to that I took a bachelor’s degree in engineering in Micro- and Nano Systems Technology at USN. My master project is focusing on the effects of dissolved organic matter (DOM) on the marine invertebrates; Ascidians, and how it impacts the contaminant patterns in ascidians. The focus is on the interaction between the pollutant and both terrestrial and aquatic derived DOM. By exposing the organism to the pollutant in combination with different DOM, I will investigate if tDOM acts as a better vector for lipophilic contaminants than aDOM under high DOM conditions, and thus causes a higher bioaccumulation of the contaminant.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Sabrina Schultze (UiO), Anders Ruus (NIVA) and Tom Andersen (UiO).

Nora Kildebo

I’m a master’s student studying toxicology at the University of Oslo. I took my bachelor’s degree in Biosciences at the University of Oslo. My masters project will be part of the NEOPOLL project and I will be looking at how the neonicotinoid clothianidin affects brood production and hive development for bumble bees (Bombus terrestris). The work for this project will be conducted at UiO and at the University of Reading in England.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Julie Sørlige Paus-Knudsen (UiO) and Anders Nielsen (UiO). 

Hilde Bruserud

I’m a master’s student in toxicology and environmental science at the University of Oslo, and I took my bachelor’s degree in Biology at UiO.

My master’s thesis will be part of the MULTICOP project, where I will be looking at how reproduction, a crucial life-history trait, is affected by multiple stressors in the marine, harpacticoid copepod Tigriopus brevicornis.

By exposing the copepods to predation risk and copper, I aim to identify and quantify the combined effects on reproduction endpoints, such as the number of eggs per clutch, hatching rate, and offspring survival.

Predation risk will be simulated by using chemical cues (also known as kairomones) from three-spined stickleback, and T.brevicornis will be sampled in Drøbak, Viken, and brought back to UiO, where I will conduct my experiments.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Jan David Heuschele (UiO), and Torben Lode (UiO).

Jack Sanderson

I’m a master’s student studying toxicology at the University of Oslo. I took my bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Oslo, and prior to that I studied Geological Sciences at the University of Leeds, UK. My master’s project will be part of MULTICLIM, and will be looking at how a population of the springtail species Folsomia quadrioculata is affected by exposure to imidacloprid in soil cores that were taken from their original habitat in Ås, then transferred to the lab. By exposing the springtails to imidacloprid in the lab, but in their more natural soil environment, I hope to be able to begin bridging the gap between other field and lab experiments conducted within the scope of the MULTICLIM project. 
My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO),  and Sagnik Sengupta (UiO).

Andreia Silva

I am a Portuguese Erasmus student, doing my master thesis at the MULTICLIM research project. I am taking a master in Human Biology and Environment at the University of Lisbon and did my bachelor in Marine Sciences at the University of Algarve.
In my Bachelor I had a course about toxicology and that made me realize what I wanted to follow in the future and to study.
My master project is a part of MULTICLIM, a research project that will develop a dietary method in collembolan species, Hypogastrura viatica and Folsomia quadrioculata. I will expose the two species to one concentration of imidacloprid, during five different treatments and try to measure their reproduction rate. I will study the age at first reproduction, observe and count their eggs, egg development and compare the two species.
My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Maria Teresa Rebelo (University of Lisbon) and Silje Marie Kristiansen (UiO)

Mia Drazkowski Teksum

I’m a master student in toxicology and environmental science at UiO. My master project is a part of MULTICLIM, a research project that will examine how springtails (Collembola) are affected by climate change in terms of increased temperature and drought combined with a pesticide. I’m examining on how soil fauna in an agricultural area responds to the combination of these stressors, focusing on drought and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. I will be looking at the population responses in Folsomia quadrioculata. I did my field work in Ås, Akershus in a brackish agricultural field with soil microcosms and a watering regime to manipulate water content.  
My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Heidi Sjursen Konestabo (UiO) and Tone Birkemoe (NMBU). 

Gunnvor Evenrud

I am studying a masters degree in toxicology at the University of Oslo. Prior to my master I have studied nursing, history, Nordic literature and biology. In my masters project I investigate how different concentrations of the neonicotinoid Imidacloprid affect some of the aspects of the life history of the collembolan species Hypogastrura viatica at two temperatures. Aspects of the life history that I am investigating are: survival until and after maturation, length growth until and after maturation, and aspects of the reproduction; age at first egg laying, number of eggs laid, time of hatching, what share of the eggs laid that hatch, and the length of the offspring that hatch. The collembolas I am looking at in my research are from a population collected in Svalbard.

My master's project is a part of a bigger project called MULTICLIM.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Hans Petter Leinaas (UiO) and Heidi Sjursen Konestabo (UiO).

Håvard Nilsen Liholt

My master thesis is titled “Pollutants in the Southern Ocean: spatial distribution of mercury and dietary descriptors in Antarctic macrozooplankton and fish”. I did my fieldwork on board the research vessel Kronprins Haakon RV, going to the Southern Ocean in Antarctica for the 2019 CCAMLR synoptic krill survey lead by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR). There, I collected samples of water, zooplankton (krill, salps, amphipods) and fish to be analyzed for total mercury (Hg) content and stable isotopes. From the data I will work on describing the spatial distribution of mercury contamination in the Scotia sea area of the Southern Ocean. Additionally, I will link the mercury levels to the Antarctic food-web by using stable isotope analysis, a dietary descriptor, which can be used to determine the relative trophic position of the sample species. In this way, I can determine the amount of mercury transferred up the food-chain.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO) and Bjørn Krafft (IMR).

Anjali Gopakumar

Image may contain: Water, Adaptation.I am an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master student, pursuing the course 'International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources' (IMBRSea), with a specialization in Marine Environment Health, and enrolled at Ghent University, Belgium. I'm currently working on my Master Thesis on the topic ‘Accumulation of Mercury in an Arctic Marine Food Web’, under the umbrella of the Nansen Legacy project, at the University of Oslo. I will be analysing the concentrations and biomagnification of total mercury and methyl mercury in selected species from a pelagic food web in the Northern Barents Sea, in the Arctic.

Prior to my Master, I did my Bachelor degree in Biotechnology in India; and worked for a year in a marine non- profit organisation in India, involved in sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation, marine mammal conservation and environment education. I am extremely interested in a myriad of research themes within the vast field of marine biology, including Marine Ecotoxicology and Marine Biodiversity, and I plan to continue working in these fields and help promote the sustainable use of the marine environment and its resources.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO) and Julia Giebichenstein (UiO).

Research assistants

Helene Skjeie Thorstensen

Image may contain: Person, Hair, Blond, Hairstyle, Surfer hair.I am a research assistant in the group, studying levels of emerging and legacy contaminants in seabirds in the Oslofjord. I am working on the project Environmental Contaminants in an Urban Fjord (Urbanfjord), which is a monitoring programme led by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), and funded by the Norwegian environmental agency. The Urbanfjord project monitors the pollution status of the marine food web of the inner Oslofjord, and I am specifically studying the role of seabirds as indicators of marine pollution in urban areas, especially focusing on the herring gull.

Clare Andvik

I'm a former master student, and I studied the levels of mercury and organohalogen contaminants in Norwegian killer whales. I am now working as a research assistant, on a project called Arctic Whales. The aim of the project is to conduct a screening of the levels of both legacy and emerging contaminants in various whale species along the Norwegian coast. The project is funded by the Climate and Environment department's Arctic 2030 programme, and is in collaboration with Norwegian Orca Survey and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences.

Malin Røyset Aarønes

I'm a former master student who studied the bioaccumulation and effects of the insecticide clothianidin in bumblebees. I now work as research assistant on the same project: NEOPOLL. The aim of the NEOPOLL project is to determine the effects of neonicotinoids and temperature on crop pollination. The project is a collaboration between the University in Oslo, the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research in Reading, UK, the NUI Gallway in Irland, and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).

I am also working on the "Other Media" chapter of the new Regional monitoring report for the Western Europe and others group region, under the global monitoring plan for persistent organic pollutants under the Stockholm Convention article 16 on effectiveness evaluation. Finally, I am also a teaching assistant, helping with two toxicology master courses.

Published Nov. 4, 2015 1:58 PM - Last modified Nov. 17, 2020 12:21 PM