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Personal information

Cornelis A. M. (Kees) van Gestel is Associate Professor of Ecotoxicology within the Department of Ecological Science, Faculty of Science of the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam. He studied Environmental Sciences at Wageningen University, and started his career in 1981 as a scientific advisor on pesticide risk assessment at the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM). At RIVM he also started his research in soil ecotoxicology. He obtained his PhD from Utrecht University (1991), and moved to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in 1992.


In soil, the bioavailability of chemicals is highly dependent on their interaction with soil particles and the resulting concentrations in the soil pore water. Organisms may affect their exposure by the way they interact with the soil, with some organisms literally eating themselves through the soil while others just walk on it or feed on leaf litter. In soil, pollution rarely is restricted to single chemicals. And life in soil is dynamic, asking for a dynamic approach when assessing the bioaccumulation and effects of chemicals in soil organisms. Finally, effects on single species may have consequences for the soil community and its role in important ecological processes (ecosystem services) like decomposition and nutrient cycling. My research focuses on aspects like bioavailability, routes of exposure, toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics, and mixture toxicity, but also aims at addressing effects at different levels of biological organization. I am studying metals, pesticides, nanoparticles and microplastics, using earthworms, enchytraeids, springtails, oribatid mites and isopods as the test organisms. I am interested in the application of our results in the risk assessment of new and existing chemicals. In addition, I am interested in using ecotoxicological test methods for the effect-based assessment of (contaminated) soils and other substrates.


Kees van Gestel is teaching biology, ecology and (eco)toxicology at the Vrije Universiteit, and PhD courses on ecotoxicology and chemical risk assessment at the national and international level. He has been supervising over 35 PhD students and many more undergraduate students. He is winner of the SETAC Europe/Noack-Laboratorien Environmental Education Award 2015.

Ancillary activities

  • Member of the SETAC Europe Council
  • Chair of the SETAC Europe Certified Risk Assessor programme
  • Editor Terrestrial Ecotoxicology of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry
  • Member of the Advisory Board of the Open University programme on Environmental Sciences

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Education/Academic qualification

Ecotoxicology, PhD, Universiteit Utrecht

Environmental Sciences, Master, Wageningen University


  • ecotoxicology
  • mixture toxicity
  • toxicokinetics
  • bioavailability

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 1980 2018

Assessing the toxicity of thiamethoxam, in natural LUFA 2.2 soil, through three generations of Folsomia candida

de Lima E Silva, C., Mariette, J., Verweij, R. A. & van Gestel, C. A. M., 3 Apr 2018, In : Ecotoxicology. 2018, p. 1-8 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Exploring DNA methylation patterns in copper exposed Folsomia candida and Enchytraeus crypticus

Noordhoek, J. W., Koning, J., Mariën, J., Kamstra, J., Amorim, M. J. B., van Gestel, C. A. M., van Straalen, N. M. & Roelofs, T. F. M., Jan 2018, In : Pedobiologia. 66, January, p. 52-57

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Folsomia candida
DNA methylation

Extrapolation of imidacloprid toxicity between soils by exposing Folsomia candida in soil pore water

Ogungbemi, A. O. & van Gestel, C. A. M., Oct 2018, In : Ecotoxicology. 27, 8, p. 1107-1115 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access

Factors influencing bioavailability and toxicity of lead in the soil invertebrate Enchytraeus crypticus

Zhang, L., 2018, 194 p.

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD Thesis - Research VU, graduation VUAcademic

Open Access

Activities 1998 2017

  • 13 Lecture / Presentation

Environmental safety assessment of biomass process streams

van Gestel, C. A. M. (Speaker), B. Pieterse (Speaker), D. Giesen (Speaker), Legradi, J. B. (Speaker), R. Vooijs (Speaker), B. Vugt-Lussenburg (Speaker), Roelofs, T. F. M. (Speaker), E.W.M. Roex (Speaker), E. Swart (Speaker), W. Röling (Speaker), F. Smedes (Speaker), T.E. de Boer (Speaker), Lamoree, M. H. (Speaker), de Wildt-Liesveld, R. (Speaker)
8 Mar 2016

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Soortsverschillen in het omgaan met zware metalen.

van Gestel, C. A. M. (Invited speaker)
22 May 1998

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Bioaccumulatie. Respectfully yours.

van Gestel, C. A. M. (Invited speaker)
13 Jan 1998

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic

Litter decomposition in a PAH and metal-contaminated forest, the NHD.

van Gestel, C. A. M. (Speaker)
22 Oct 1998

Activity: Lecture / PresentationAcademic