The “Environmental Management” track of the University of Amsterdam MSc Earth Sciences program is the more applied sister to the Earth System Science track. The Environmental Science track is focused on the solutions to societal challenges that can be gained from the Earth sciences. Drawing on linkages with social sciences you will gain a broad interdisciplinary training covering topics including: urban-ecological development, human-wildlife conflicts, and the climate crisis. During the degree you will work with researcher within the interdisciplinary Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED), carry out an independent research project, and an internship at a societal facing organisation.
Energy and Climate Change: Investigate the relationship between climate change and energy systems, and confront the challenges of creating a decarbonised world.
GIS and Remote Sensing in Ecosystem Dynamics: Learn how to use large remotely sensed datasets to gain insights into geological, geomorphological and soil systems.
Integrated Coastal Dune Management: Explore the concept of “Resilience Thinking” in tacking the complex management task of protecting the Dutch coastline and its ecosystems.
Metropol Ecology: Focused on the part of the Earth system where people are, investigate biodiversity and ecosystems in urban systems and mega cities.
Science Based Geo-ecological Management: How can science guide environmental management, address key challenges of supporting society, includes field visit to Oostvardersplassen.
System Innovation and Transition Management: Climate, energy and agricultural systems are all changing discover how understanding their dynamics is important for governance and sustainability.
The MSc Earth Sciences at the University of Amsterdam has a new look for the start of the next academic year (starting September 2023). Drawing on the international research expertise of our staff it is now possible to tailor your studies within two complementary tracks:
Earth System Science: Focused on fundamental aspects of Earth science, such as biogeochemical cycles, climate dynamics, and past environmental change. Our education follows our research in exploring how abiotic and biotic elements of the Earths system interact through time and across the globe.
Environmental Management: Focused on the interface between Earth science and society, key topics include: management of coastal systems, ecosystem dynamics in urban environments, and the relationship between science policy and ethics. During your internship you will have the opportunity to engage with societal partners to develop skills and projects.
For both tracks education is delivered through lectures, field courses, laboratory practical’s, and data analysis. Furthermore, you will get the chance to develop your own research agenda by conducting a project with one of our scientists, or at an external partner or university. In addition to expert knowledge our graduates have transferable skills in data handeling, numerical analysis, and science communication.
To find out more about our program visit click here to visit the MSc Earth Sciences pages on the University of Amsterdam web site.
Luckily, in spite of these trying times, we are allowed to continue our research in Amsterdam and on the Veluwe to determine the effects of air pollution on airborne pollen grains. Unfortunately for us (but generally perhaps one of the few silver linings of this situation), the COVID-19 lockdown has largely eliminated our main variable of interest; air pollution.
With traffic in the city at a minimum, any chemical differences might not be as pronounced between the city and rural areas. However, this may actually provide us with a unique opportunity to get a baseline of the pollen chemistry in Amsterdam with relatively little pollution. This baseline may also be of interest to projects working on urban air quality and greenifying urban spaces, such as the projects in the Amsterdam Knowledge Mile Park, which is included amongst our sampling locations.
For more about our project on pollen and pollution in the Netherlands see other posts:
Figure 1: (a) Illustrative images of sample locations in Amsterdam and the Hoge Veluwe. (b) The newly developed ‘pollen sniffer’ collects airborne pollen from the environment. (c) The FTIR can chemically characterise individual pollen grains.
Does environmental pollution enhance the allergenic nature of pollen? This is the question that drives my NWO Idea Generator grant that has just started. This project links up the pollen chemistry expertise in my group within the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics (University of Amsterdam) and the work of Letty de Weger into human health and pollen (Leiden University Medical Centrum). Over the 2020 flowering season we will be monitoring pollen in Amsterdam (urban) and in the Hoge Veluwe (rural) in the space in which people have allergic reactions to see if there is any chemical difference between the pollen in urban and rural settings.
We are delighted that Cas Verbeek has joined the team as a Research Assistant; taking time out from his MSc Biological Sciences degree (University of Amsterdam). Cas is already busy in the field and lab fine tuning our collection and analysis protocols.