Keynote speakers PRIDE-RCMNS conference

We are very excited that Orsolya SztanóOriol Oms, Henri J. Dumont, M.G. Karpinsky, David Lordkipanidze, and David Tarkhnishvili  will be keynote speakers at the PRIDE-RCMNS conference, 27-29 August 2018 in Tbilisi. 

  • Dr. Orsolya Sztanó is associate professor at the Department of Physical and Applied Geology, of the Eotvos Lorand University of Budapest. 
  • Prof. Henri J. Dumont is professor of Ecology at the Universities of Guagzhou, China and Ghent, Belgium.
  • Prof. M.G. Karpinsky is working for the Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography in Moscow
  • Prof. Oriol Oms  is professor of Geology at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.
  • Prof. David Lordkipanidze is professor and director of the Georgian National Musuem in Tbilisi.
  • Prof. David Tarkhnishvili is professor of Ecology at the Ilia State University of Tbilisi.

PRIDE final conference

From 27-29 August 2018, PRIDE will organize its final conference together with the RCMNS (Regional Committee on Mediterranean Neogene Stratigraphy) in Tbilisi, Georgia. We are happy to welcome you in Tbilisi. Abstract submission and registration will be open in February 2018. See for more information this page on the website. Stay tuned for updates. More information regarding location, invited speakers, program and everything else will be released as it comes. 

We have identified four session topics and a panel session (there might be changes):

  • Geological and climatic drivers of biodiversity in the Pontocaspian in the Neogene and Quaternary
  • Rise and fall of Pontocaspian biodiversity – origins and controls
  • Neogene and Quaternary Terrestrial Ecosystems in the Southern Caucasus
  • The role of invasive species in the current Pontocaspian biodiversity crisis
  • Panel discussion 

Network Training in Russia

From 22 August to 1 September 2017 the PRIDE group had a Network Training in Russia.  The meeting was organized by the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Lomonosov Moscow State University and PRIDE. The meetings were in Kagal'nik, along the Don River and near the Sea of Azov, that is connected to the Black Sea, in Astrakhan and the Volga Delta that draines into the Caspian Sea. The conference with the titel "Where East Meets West: Pontocaspia, the historical dimension of the evolution of a unique biodversity" with students and partners from Western Europe and Eastern Europe, including Russia, Azerbijan and Romania. This is link to the conference excursions book. Many thanks to Vadim Titov and the SSC-RAS team!

The program included:

  • two day conference "Where East Meets West" in Kagal'nik with partners from all over Russia, Azerbaijan and Romania,
  • field excursions along the shore of the Taganrog Gulf of the Sea of Azov,
  • field excursions along the Don river,
  • an expedition to Manych, the scientific-expedition base of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and excursion to the salt lake of Gruszkoe,
  • field excursion to the Volga and Astrakhan biosphere reserve in Damchik
  • field excursion to the outcrops of the village Selitrennoe
  • field excursion to the outcrops of the village Seroglazovka

Frank Wesselingh, Sri Nandini, Sifan Koriche, Vadim Titov, Alexey Tesakov and Redzhep Kurbanov were interviewed by local television stations:

local Russian television Our Time (Nashe vremiya)

local Russian television Don Guide (Don Vesti)

Rostov regional newspapers

Nashe vremiya (Our Time) - 1 September 2017, №275

Evening Rostov newspaper - 25 August 2017  


Two day conference in Kagal'nik with (poster) presentations by the PRIDE researchers, and with partners from all over Russia, Azerbaijan and Romania. 

Outcrop along the sea of Azov

At a branch of the Wolga in the Astrakhan Biosphere reserve

Excursion in the Astrakhan biosphere reserve of Damchik


At Manych Natural Reserve


Sampling expedition on the Black Sea

Diksha an Anouk were recently on board of the Mare Nigrum on a sampling expedition on the Black Sea, together with Bianca Pavel from GeoEcoMar.


Very positive review for PRIDE

On 16 February we had the mid-term review meeting in Leiden. The conclusions of the EU project officer and the expert reviewer were very positive:

“PRIDE provides an excellent training, scientific and career development platform for young scientists. [..] 

The presented results during the reporting period are in very good scientific quality. [..]

The work contributes to European policy objectives and strategies in particular in relation to biodiversity. The work will provide a deeper understanding of the causes of the Pontocaspian biodiversity crisis and thereby enable more effective management of this crisis [..]

Outreach planning has been excellent and communication actions to date (e.g. the website) are good. [..]

The project management is running very well and is highly professional. [..] ”

We are very happy and will keep up the good spirit. 


Part of the PRIDE group plus partners after the mid-term review at the presentation of the new book of Salomon Kroonenberg called Spiegelzee.


Discover the unique mollusk fauna of the Black Sea - Identification sheet

pdf - English
pdf - Ukrainian
pdf - Romanian
pdf - Russian

PRIDE proudly presents the identfication sheet to the most characteristic mollusk species of the Black Sea. We invite everybody to participate in the PRIDE project by uploading observations to the iNaturalist portal. Find pdfs of the identification sheets in four different languages on this page.

To engage with citizen scientists the PRIDE project has developed an identification sheet to the most chararcteristic mollusks of the Black Sea. The identification sheet covers species that occur in the Black Sea, Estuarine-coastal lake areas - the typical Pontocaspian habitat, and in fresh water habitats. The identification sheet also has a short manual on how to upload your observations to the iNaturalist portal and allows everybody to particpate in PRIDE and to enrich the dataset available to biodiversity science in the Black Sea.

The purpose of the leaflet is: (1) Raise awareness of the uniqueness of Pontocaspian biodiversity and the current biodiversity crisis in different target groups. (2) Collect data on recent distribution of the Pontocaspian, Marine, Freshwater and invasive mollusk species in Northern Black Sea through the joint efforts of citizen scientists. This will help us update our distribution maps on our taxonomic platform: PC-Tax ( whereupon we will be able to identify the areas of follow up action.

WWF Ukraine new partner in PRIDE

We are very pleased that WWF Ukraine has become a partner in PRIDE. WWF Ukraine will be advisor to our PRIDE project. WWF Ukraine Project officer for Danube/Freshwater Ms. Nataliia Gozak will be advising us on outreach activities in general and will help us organizing outreach activities in Ukraine. 

Nataliia Gozak is also involved in the Life for Danube Sturgeons (LIFE+ project). Nataliia Gozak aims to enhance inter-project cooperation, networking and leveraging the results in both the Sturgeons and PRIDE project.

The Life for Danube Sturgeons project for “Sustainable protection of lower Danube sturgeons by preventing and counteracting poaching and illegal wildlife trade” is coordinated by WWF Austria and implemented in Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine from October 2016 until December 2020. The project is financed with the contribution of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Community and by WWF.

This is a follow up of the Sturgeons - protect Danube's treasures project for “Joint actions to raise awareness on overexploitation of Danube sturgeons in Romania and Bulgaria” that ran from July 2012 to September 2015 and aimed to tackle overfishing, the main direct threat to the survival of Danube sturgeons. 


Afbeeldingsresultaat voor wwf logo


SSC RAS and CEREGE new partners in PRIDE

We are very happy to announce that SSC-RAS and CEREGE have become partners in the PRIDE programme in March 2017. The Southern Scientific Centre of Russian Academy of Sciences (SSC RAS) will be represented by dr. Vadim Titov. He will help us organize the Network Training Event in Rostov on Don and Astrakhan in August 2017, together with prof. Tamara Yanina of the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

CEREGE, Centre Europeen de Recherche et d'Enseignements des Geosciences de l'Environment, in Aix-Marseille, will be represented by dr. Francoise Chalie and prof. Suzanne Leroy. They will be program advisors and Manuel Sala Perez will join them on his secondment at CEREGE.


Job opening: Early Stage Researcher in the field of marine palynology

Job opening: Early Stage Researcher in the field of marine palynology – PRIDE project

For the Marie-Curie Training Network PRIDE (Drivers of Pontocaspian biodiversity Rise and Demise) we are seeking an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) in the field of marine palynology. The PRIDE program ( combines climate-, geo- and bio-sciences and is conducted by 15 ESRs. From 2015 to 2019 we investigate the evolution and demise of lake systems and biota in the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and surrounding basins. Due to the leave of one of the ESRs we are seeking a new ESR for the period of maximum 25 months.

You will be working on the project: Palaeoenvironmental reconstructions and lake basin dynamics: a dinoflagellate approach.

You will be hosted at the University of Utrecht in Utrecht, The Netherlands, for a period of maximum 25 months. Your job will be to perform the research project and to participate in an extensive training programme that includes five network training events (NTE’s), paid for by the program. During your project you will also be performing one or two secondment(s), a period where you will work in one of the cooperating institutes.

You will be employed as a junior researcher and will have a contract period of maximum 25 months. You will reconstruct palaeoenvironmental conditions in Quaternary Pontocaspian lakes from biological proxies in order to assess basin connectivity and dynamics in the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Anatolian lakes in the past ~3 Ma. Dinoflagellates are part of the phytoplankton and produce cysts that are well preserved in the Pontocaspian fossil record. The dinocysts will be used to assess changes in palaeoenvironmental conditions during the Plio-Pleistocene and Holocene in the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Anatolian lakes. Main aim is to improve the understanding of the biogeographical connections and catchment dynamics of the basins. Possible drivers of turnover (isolation and/or rapid environmental change) will be explored further in conjunction with data obtained from the other projects in PRIDE. The project will result in a proxy-based palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and identification of periods of connection and isolation of main Pontocaspian lake basins. This project will include a secondment at Bristol University (UK) for integration with geochemical proxies and potentially a secondment at Bucharest University for joint work on Anatolian lake material or at Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany to work on a Georgian section.

The PRIDE program will offer you a very unique opportunity to deeply engage into a multidisciplinary network where climate, geo- and biosciences will come together and that involves excellent institutes in the EU as well as in the Pontocaspian Region (Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkey). The terms of employment are generous but will vary slightly per country and institute and your family situation. Rough indications of maximum payments are given below and are based on MSCA-ITN rules; it consists of Salary + Mobility + Family Allowance (if applicable).


Excellent candidates are encouraged to apply for this highly attractive position in the internationally high-ranked network. Anyone is invited to apply under two conditions. (1) You should not have resided in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment date (and not have carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in The Netherlands) and (2) you should have an MSc and be - at the date of recruitment - an ‘early stage researcher’ (i.e. in the first four years of your research career and not have a doctoral degree).  

We are seeking candidates with a background in marine palynology. Experience with terrestrial palynology is desirable.

Excellent level of written and spoken English is required.

We are looking for candidates that are available on a short notice.


According to the MSCA-ITN rules and the rules of the general agreement of Dutch Universities:  

€ 2.552,- gross /month + max. € 600 /month (gross) Mobility + (if applicable) € 500 /month (gross) Family Allowance.

Information about the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions (MSCA) is available at:

Type of contract

Fixed term contract. First for 12 months, and this will be extended for the next 13 months (maximum) upon positive evaluation. The contract is for 38 hrs/week.


Deadline for your application is December 5, 2016. Your application letter (max 2 pages), CV and mail addresses of two referents should be submitted to Please indicate Application PRIDE and your name in the subject line. For your motivation please think about the projects you have been working in, relevant expertise in the general subject, your ability to work in teams and in different countries/settings, lab, modelling, fieldwork experience if applicable and your social skills. For further information see the project description below.

We intent to interview the selected candidates on 19 December in Utrecht.

Further information

You may wish to contact us for further information.  For further information regarding the position, please send an email to Caroline van Impelen (programme manager) at