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.

Postdoctoral researchers

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 (UNIS), Geir W. Gabrielsen (NPI), Tom Andersen (UiO)

Torben Lode

I am doing my PhD as a member of the Dept of Biosciences prioritised research project LUMS: Life-history variation under multiple stressors: separating the effects on development, growth, maturation and survival. I am studying the combined effect of ecological and toxicological stressors on coastal copepod life history variation. 

The project is a collaboration between members of Section for Aquatic Biology and Toxicology.

My supervisors are Katrine Borgå (UiO), Tom Andersen (UiO) Josefin Titelman (UiO), Ketil Hylland and Jan Heuschele

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

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).

Research assistants

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 Oct. 16, 2019 3:44 PM