Spijkerman, Elly

Feuerbachstrasse 16, Potsdam; 0331-9792887; Elly@gappie.nl

Personal information




Krommenie (NH, the Netherlands)


Married (no children)







Scientist at the University of Potsdam

Degree: Habilitation in Ecophysiology and Limnology

Title: Ecophysiological studies on planktonic desmids and an acidophilic Chlamydomonas species”


Ph.D. study at the University of Amsterdam

Degree: Ph.D. in Biologie

Ttitle: „Phosphorus uptake and growth kinetics in planktonic desmid species from trophically different lakes.”


Biology study at the University of Amsterdam

Degree: Master of Science in Biologie (Drs)

Title of 1rst Master thesis (University of Amsterdam):„The accumulation and elimination of cadmium and zinc in the water mite Limnesia maculata and a model interpretation of the data (in Dutch)

Title of 2nd Master thesis (Free University Amsterdam, VU):” Are there effects from increased soil cadmium and arsenic concentrations on plants from the Biesbosch area? (in Dutch)”


Professional experience record


Private Docent at the University of Potsdam,

Institute of Biology and Biochemistry,
Department of Ecology and Ecosystem Modelling,

14469 Potsdam.

1.2008 - 12.2016

Principal Investigator in own DFG-grants: Ecophysiological studies on microalgae at the University of Potsdam

  • Initiation, project writing, planning, execution, analysis and interpretation of diverse results from studies on phytoplankton species and field studies.

  • Studies include complex multi-factorial designs with different concentrations of CO2, phosphate, light and nitrogen sources.

  • Publication of results in scientific journals.

  • Project management and administration.

  • Supervision of bachelor, master, Ph.D. students and technical assistants.

  • Visits to international conferences and presentation of results.

  • Visits to foreign collaborators in project.

  • Lecturing and practical training within several courses.

1.2015- 6.2016

Scientist at Algenol Biofuels GmbH in Berlin:

  • Head of photosynthesis research department .

  • Cultivation of cyanobacteria in Photo Bioreactor Systems.

  • Determination and interpretation of physiological and growth parameters.

  • Development of ideas to enhance biomass yield and ethanol production.

  • Briefings and communication with USA colleagues.


6.2004- 9.2007

2.2004- 5.2004

2.2002- 1.2004

8.2001- 1.2002

Grant from “Support for women in science of Land Brandenburg”

Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Potsdam in own DFG-Projects (see PI activities)
Research assistant
at the University of Potsdam
Marie Curie Host Fellow
at the University of Potsdam
Grant from Umweltforschungszentrum Leipzig-Halle (UFZ Magdeburg, Germany)

6.2000- 5.2001

Staff engineer with Witteveen+Bos (The Netherlands): Member of water quality department

  • Consulting agencies, governmental institutes or private companies in eutrophication problems.

  • Evaluating databases.

  • Risk assessments.

  • Regulation measures.

6.1998- 5.2000

Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Amsterdam: Ecophysiological studies on phosphorus uptake and inorganic carbon acquisition within the green algae family Desmidiaceae.

  • Complex chemostat cultivation and measurements on radio-labelled nutrient uptake.

  • Elemental stoichiometry, photosynthesis and growth measurements.

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration with plant physiologists and microbiologists.

9.1991- 5.1998

Ph.D. at the University of Amsterdam:

Professional affiliation

  • Since 1987

  • Since 1999

  • 2004-2009

  • 2004-2013

  • 2004-2014

  • Since 2017

  • Member of the Dutch Society of Biology (NIBI)

  • Member of the British Phycological Society (BPS)

  • Member of the board to select a Professor at the University of Potsdam (3 events)

  • Member of the committee to organise the International Phycology Congress

  • Member of the committee to shape the bachelor study in Biology at the University of Potsdam

  • Member of the Editorial Board of Limnology (assistant editor)

Special expertise

My professional interest lies in ecophysiological and ecotoxicological research in microalgae. My research aims to describe the influence of stress factors such as a nutrient limitation or high concentrations of metals on the growth and photosynthesis of unicellular plants. I combine molecular and physiological characterisations with ecological (limnological) processes.
My personal interest lies in nature conservation, especially peat bog areas

Publications (39 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and 2 book chapters)

H-index: 14. Research gate score: 30.29

41) Spijkerman, E., M. Lukas & A. Wacker 2017. Ecophysiological strategies for growth under varying light and organic carbon supply in two species of green microalgae differing in their motility. Phytochemistry 144: 43-51 doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2017.08.018

40) Lachmann, S.C., S.C. Maberly & E. Spijkerman 2017. Species-specific influence of Pi-status on inorganic carbon acquisition in microalgae (Chlorophyceae). Botany 95: 943-952 doi: 10.1139/cjb-2017-0082

39) Lachmann, S.C., S.C. Maberly & E. Spijkerman 2016. Ecophysiology matters: linking inorganic carbon acquisition to ecological preference in four species of microalgae (Chlorophyceae). Journal of Phycology52: 1051-1063 DOI: 10.1111/jpy.12462

38) Grzesiuk, M., A. Wacker & E. Spijkerman 2016. Photosynthetic sensitivity of phytoplankton against commonly used pharmaceuticals and its dependence on cellular phosphorus status. Ecotoxicology 25: 697-707 DOI 10.1007/s10646-016-1628-8

37) Spijkerman, E., S. Stojkovic, D. Holland, S.C. Lachmann & J. Beardall 2016. Nutrient Induced Fluorescence Transients (NIFTs) provide a rapid measure of P and C (co)-limitation in a green alga. European Journal of Phycology 51(1): 47-58 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09670262.2015.1095355

36) Wacker, A. V. Marzetz & E. Spijkerman 2015b. Interspecific competition in phytoplankton drives the availability of essential mineral and biochemical nutrients. Ecology 96(9): 2467–2477 DOI: 10.1890/14-1915.1

35) Wacker, A. M. Piepho & E. Spijkerman 2015a. Photosynthetic and fatty acid acclimation of four phytoplankton species in response to light intensity and phosphorus availability. European Journal of Phycology 50: 288–300. DOI: 10.1080/09670262.2015.1050068

34) Spijkerman, E., S. Stojkovic, & J. Beardall 2014. CO2 acquisition in Chlamydomonas acidophila is influenced mainly by CO2, not phosphorus, availability. Photosynthesis Research 121:213–221 doi:10.1007/s11120-014-0016-6

33) Spijkerman, E., A. Wacker, G. Weithoff & T. Leya 2012. Elemental and fatty acid composition of snow algae in arctic habitats. Frontiers in Microbiology – Extreme Microbiology. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00380

32) Weithoff, G., E. Spijkerman, N. Kamjunke & J. Tittel 2012. Trophic interactions and energy flow. In. Acidic pit Lakes – the legacy of coal and metal surface mines. Eds. W. Geller, M. Schulze, R. Kleinmann, C. Wolkersdorfer. Springer Series Mining and Environment. Springer. pp 115-129.

31) Clegg, M.R., U. Gaedke, B. Boehrer & E. Spijkerman 2012. Complementary ecophysiological strategies combine to facilitate survival in the hostile conditions of a deep chlorophyll maximum. Oecologia 169(3):609-622. DOI: 10.1007/S00442-011-2225-4

30) Spijkerman, E. & G. Weithoff 2012. Acidophiles. Book chapter 18 in 'Life at Extremes: Environments, Organisms and Strategies for Survival'. Ed.: E.M. Bell. CAB International, UK

29) Spijkerman, E. F. de Castro & U. Gaedke 2011. Independent colimitation for carbon dioxide and inorganic phosphorus. PLoS One 6 (12):e28219 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0028219

28) Spijkerman, E. & A. Wacker 2011. Interactions between P-limitation and different C conditions on the fatty acid composition of an extremophile microalga. Extremophiles 15: 597-609 DOI 10.1007/s00792-011-0390-3

27) Spijkerman, E. 2011. The expression of a carbon concentrating mechanism in Chlamydomonas acidophila under variable phosphorus, iron and CO2 concentrations. Photosynthesis Research 109: 179-189 doi:10.1007/s11120-010-9607-z

26) Spijkerman, E. 2010. High photosynthetic rates under a co-limitation for inorganic phosphorus and carbon dioxide. Journal of Phycology 46(4): 658-664 DOI: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2010.00859.x

25) Friedrich, S. & E. Spijkerman 2009. Chlorophyll a fluorescence and absorption in two Chlamydomonas species. Ecological Chemistry and Engineering A 16(11): 1501-1513 link

Spijkerman, E. 2009. Ecophysiological studies on planktonic desmids and an acidophilic Chlamydomonas species. Habilitation in Ecophysiology and Limnology. University of Potsdam.

24) Spijkerman, E. 2008b. Phosphorus limitation of algae living in iron-rich, acidic lakes. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 53: 201-210 https://doi.org/10.3354/ame01244

23) Spijkerman, E. 2008a. What physiological acclimation supports increased growth at high CO2 conditions? Physiologia Plantarum 133:41-48 DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2008.01062.x

22) Spijkerman, E. 2007. Phosphorus acquisition by Chlamydomonas acidophila under autrophic and osmo-mixotrophic growth conditions. Journal of Experimental Botany 58: 4195-4202 doi: 10.1093/jxb/erm276

21) Spijkerman, E., V. Bissinger, A. Meister & U. Gaedke, 2007. Low potassium and inorganic carbon concentrations influence a possible phosphorus limitation in Chlamydomonas acidophila (Chlorophyceae). European Journal of Phycology 42: 327-339 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09670260701529596

20) Spijkerman, E., D. Barua, A. Gerloff-Elias, J. Kern, U. Gaedke & S.A. Heckathorn, 2007. Stress responses and metal tolerance of Chlamydomonas acidophila in metal-enriched lake water and artificial medium. Extremophiles 11:551-562 doi:10.1007/s00792-007-0067-0

19) Wilson, J.B., E. Spijkerman & J. Huisman, 2007. Is there really insufficient support for Tilman’s R* concept? A comment on Miller et al. The American Naturalist 169 (5): 700-706 DOI: 10.1086/513113

18) Gerloff-Elias, A., D. Barua, A. Mölich & E. Spijkerman, 2006. Temperature and pH-dependent accumulation of heat shock proteins in the acidophilic green alga Chlamydomonas acidophila. FEMS Microbial Ecology 56 (3): 345-354 DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2006.00078.x

17) Gerloff-Elias, A., E. Spijkerman & H. Schubert, 2005. Light acclimation of Chlamydomonas acidophila accumulating in the hypolimnion of an acidic lake (pH 2.6). Freshwater Biology 50: 1301-1314 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2005.01400.x

16) Spijkerman, E., 2005. Inorganic carbon acquisition by Chlamydomonas acidophila across a pH range. Canadian Journal of Botany 83: 872-878 DOI: 10.1139/b05-073

15) Spijkerman, E., S.C. Maberly, & P.F.M Coesel, 2005. Carbon acquisition mechanisms by planktonic desmids and their link to ecological distribution. Canadian Journal of Botany 83: 850-858 DOI: 10.1139/b05-069

14) Gerloff-Elias, A., E. Spijkerman & T. Pröschold, 2005. Effect of external pH on the growth, photosynthesis and photosynthetic electron transport of Chlamydomonas acidophila Negoro, isolated from an extremely acidic lake (pH 2.6). Plant, Cell & Environment 28: 1218-1229 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2005.01357.x

13) Spijkerman, E., 2005. Growth and photosynthesis of Chlamydomonas sp. in a pH range of 1-8. Photosynthesis: Fundamental aspects to Global Perspectives. A. van der Est & D. Bruce (Eds.) pp.587-589.

12) Poerschmann, J., E. Spijkerman & U. Langer, 2004. Fatty acid patterns in Chlamydomonas sp. as a marker for nutrition regimes and temperature under extreme, acidic conditions. Microbial Ecology 48: 78-89 DOI: 10.1007/s00248-003-0144-6

11) Spijkerman, E., E. Garcia-Mendoza, H.C.M. Matthijs, E. van Hunnik & P.F.M. Coesel, 2004. Negative effects of P-buffering and pH on photosynthetic activity of planktonic desmid species. Photosynthetica 42: 49-57 DOI:10.1023/B:PHOT.0000040569.17719.2a

10) Wiegman, S, C. Barranguet, E. Spijkerman, M.H.S. Kraak & W. Admiraal, 2003. The role of UV adaptation of a marine diatom in photoenhanced toxicity of acridine. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22: 591-598 DOI: 10.1002/etc.5620220318

9) van Hunnik, E., A. Livne, V. Pogenberg, E. Spijkerman, H. van den Ende, E. Garcia-Mendoza, D. Sultemeyer & J. W. de Leeuw, 2001. Identification and localization of a thylakoid-bound carbonic anhydrase from the green algae Tetraedron minimum (Chlorophyta) and Chlamydomonas noctigama (Chlorophyta). Planta 212: 454-459 DOI: 10.1007/s004250000418

8) Coesel, P.F.M. & E. Spijkerman, 1999. Growth kinetic characteristics of Staurastrum chaetoceras and Cosmarium abbreviatum var. planctonicum (Desmidiaceae) in a long-term competition experiment. Algological Studies 95: 81-88.

Spijkerman, E. 1998. Phosphorus uptake and growth kinetics in planktonic desmid species from trophically different lakes. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 120 pp.

7) Spijkerman, E. & P.F.M. Coesel 1998. Alkaline phosphatase activity in two planktonic desmid species and the possible role of an extracellular envelope. Freshwater Biology 39: 101-111 DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2427.1998.00299.x

6) Spijkerman, E. & P.F.M. Coesel, 1998. Different response mechanisms of two planktonic desmid species (Chlorophyceae) to a single, saturating addition of phosphate. Journal of Phycology 34: 438-445 DOI: 10.1046/j.1529-8817.1998.340438.x

5) Spijkerman, E. & P.F.M. Coesel, 1998. Ecophysiological characteristics of two planktonic desmid species originating from trophically different lakes. Hydrobiologia 369/370: 109-116 DOI: 10.1023/A:1017030817750

4) Spijkerman, E. & P.F.M. Coesel, 1997. Growth kinetic parameters of two planktonic desmid species under fluctuating phosphorus conditions in continuous flow culture. Journal of Plankton Research 19: 1899-1912 DOI: 10.1093

3) Spijkerman, E. & P.F.M. Coesel, 1996. Competition for phosphorus between planktonic desmid species in continuous flow culture. Journal of Phycology 32: 939-948 DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-3646.1996.00939.x

2) Spijkerman, E. & P.F.M. Coesel, 1996. Phosphorus uptake and growth kinetics of two planktonic desmid species. European Journal of Phycology 31: 53-60 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09670269600651191

1) Timmermans, K.R., E. Spijkerman, M. Tonkes, & H. Govers, 1992. Cadmium and zinc uptake by two species of aquatic invertebrate predators from dietary and aqueous sources. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 49: 655-662 DOI: 10.1139/f92-074  

Teaching experience (several lecturing and practical experiences for bachelor and master students)

2002-2008 Ecophysiology for undergraduates (Bachelor, 4th semester, lecturing and practical)

2004-2014, 2016-present Applied limnology (Bachelor and Master, lecturing)

2006-2009 Aquatic ecology for undergraduates (4th semester, practical)

2006 Extremophiles for undergraduates (6th semester, lecturing)

2009-2014 Ecology (Master, lecturing recent themes in Ecology)

2009-2014 Botany (Master incl. student of education, lecturing algal taxonomy)

2010-2013 Animal Physiology (Bachelor, practical)

2012-2014 Ecology (bachelor, practical)

2012 Aquatic Ecology (master, literature seminar in English)

2011-2014 Limnological excursion (3-day excursion for Bachelor and Master)

Mentorship/ advisor experience (8 Ph.D. students; 8 Diploma; 5 Bachelor; 3 Master;13 6-Week Practical training students; 1 Research assistant; 13 Student assistants; 27 Analytical assistants in training and 5 Technical assistants)



Special scientific experiences

2009: Invited speaker on the International Phycological Congress
2009: Invited topic speaker on the 13
th Leibnizkolleg Potsdam on the Search for Extraterrestrial life.
2005: Invited speaker on the International Botanical Conference (Vienna)

Regularly: Chair person and organiser of oral sessions at: the International and European Phycological Congress (IPC, EPC), international symposium on CO2 Concentrating Mechanisms in algae and German Limnology Congress (DGL).

Reviewer experiences

Reviewer for (>90 times):

Algae; American Naturalist; Annales de Limnologie; Aquatic Ecology; Aquatic Sciences, Canadian Journal of Botany; Chemosphere; Cryptogamie Algologie; Ecological Indicators; Ecological Research; Ecology Letters; Environmental and Experimental Botany; Environmental Microbiology; Environmental Science & Technology; European Journal of Phycology; European Journal of Protistology; Extremophiles; Functional Plant Biology; Hydrobiologia; International Review of Hydrobiology; Journal of Limnology; Journal of Phycology; Journal of Plant Physiology; Limnologica; Limnology; Limnology & Oceanography, Lipids; Marine Biology; Microbial Biotechnology; MEPS; Oecologia, Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences; Photosynthesis Research; Phycologia; Phycological Research; Phytochemistry; Planta; Polar Biology; Proceedings of the Royal Society B; Proteomics; Protist; Protoplasma; Science of the Total Environment

Several Diploma, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral theses

International Research proposals of: Czech science foundation; Province of Bozen-Südtirol; Australian Antarctic Science Program.

Granted proposals

Marie Curie host fellowship (EU, co-PI):

Coping with an extreme environment: carbon acquisition by phytoplankton” Submitted: Jun 2001. Funded: Jan 2002. (295,700 Euro)

FAZIT-Stiftung (co-PI):

Pelagische Primärproduktion in Extrem sauren Tagebaurestseen und die sie bestimmenden Faktoren“ Funded Oct 2002. (24 month Ph.D. salary, Gerloff-Elias)

International Quality Network grant (DAAD, PI) (2002&2003):

Expression and quantification of stress in phytoplankton species from the acid mining lakes in the Lusatia area, Germany”. (visiting grant of guest professor Prof. Heckathorn and Post-Doc Dr. Barua from Syracuse University, USA)


Phosphorus kinetics in phytoplankton species of very acidic mining lakes, Lusatia, Germany” Funded 6.2004 (SP695/1). (146,640 Euro)


Phosphorus kinetics in phytoplankton species of very acidic mining lakes, Lusatia, Germany” Funded 4.2006 (SP695/2). (73,374 Euro)


Co-limitation of the growth and photosynthesis of Chlamydomonas acidophila by phosphorus and CO2 in a multi-stress environment” Funded 8.2007 (GA 401/12-1). (103,870 Euro).


Iron toxicity in Chlamydomonas in relation to P limitation” Funded 12.2009 (SP695/4-2). (108,112 Euro).


Genome and Transcriptome Analyses of Two Extremely Acidophilic and One Neutrophilic Eukaryotic Algal Species with Diverse Mechanism for CO2 Acquisition” With Prof. Don Weeks (University of Nebraska) & Prof. Cheryl Kerfeld (University of California).


Alternative CO2 concentrating mechanisms in different green algal species related to phosphorus limitation and pH” Funded 1.2012 (SP695/5-1). (420,440 Euro).

Congress presentation (24 oral and 6 posters presentations on national and international meetings 1990-2016)

Visits abroad

Febr. 2000

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Windemere, UK)

Febr. 2004

University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

July-Aug 2004

University of Toledo (Ohio, USA)

June-July 2010

University of Toledo (Ohio, USA)

Oct.-Nov. 2010

Monash University (Melbourne, Australia)

Nov.-Dec. 2012

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Lancaster, UK)

April 2014

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Lancaster, UK)