Tessa Driessen

Loughborough University


Tropical lake ecosystems in the Anthropocene: quantifying recent human impacts on aquatic biodiversity and biogeochemical cycling

PhD Summary

Tropical freshwater lakes are critical natural systems of global importance. In East Africa, crater lakes and their catchments provide vital ecosystem services to some of Earth’s fastest growing and most vulnerable human populations, however, these services are under great threat due to the impact of human activities. Up till now very little work has been carried out on these lakes, which are often undergoing rapid catchment and other environmental change, with largely unknown impacts. My PhD aims to fill in this gap by reconstructing environmental and ecological change over the recent past from several crater lakes in western Uganda.

What inspires you

A combination of David Attenborough, chickens at a petting zoo and flowers – even though I’m allergic to pollen –

Previous activity

I did a Bachelor Biology and Master Environmental Biology both at Utrecht University. After my studies I worked as an IT support assistant and as an affiliated researcher for the University of Amsterdam.

Why did you choose doctoral research?

Since a young age I have always been very curious and interested in science. During my Bachelor and Master I discovered that I love doing research. By doing a PhD I’m not only following my passion, but I’m also contributing to a better world!

Why did you choose CENTA?

What I particularly enjoyed during my studies was the interdisciplinarity, enabling me to combine biology with my longstanding fascination for chemistry and earth sciences. CENTA itself is very multidisciplinary and it gives me an unique opportunity to fuse my experiences and personal interest.

Future plans

After my PhD I would like to continue in the academic world by doing a post doc. I think Loughborough University and CENTA can help me by connecting me to the right people.