Anouk D’Hont

Anouk D’Hont

Institute & email

Gittenberger Marine Research, Inventory & Strategy (GiMaRIS)

BioScience Park Leiden, J.H. Oortweg 21, 2333 CH Leiden, The Netherlands


Statement of interest & passion

Becoming a marine biologist has always been a dream of mine. Everything I did since I was about nine years old revolved around realizing that dream. I love being near or in water looking for shrimp, clamps, starfish, sea urchins, sea squirts and small fish, so it was obvious for me to start a career in marine biology.


I started off my biology career with a bachelor of science in biology at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. My marine biology master in Portugal, Greece and Ireland provided me with an incredible international experience and trained me in conservation, ecology and biodiversity of marine ecosystems.

Description of project

Human activities have a large impact on Ponto-Caspian biota.

Some marine environments experience significant anthropogenic impacts. Examples of these impacts are habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution and eutrophication. Our project will investigate anthropogenic stressors in the Ponto-Caspian region. Two of these stressors having a significant impact in the Ponto-Caspian region are plastic pollution and invasive species, making them the focus of our research project. This study will explore possibilities to quantify the extent of plastic pollution based on the use of microplastics. Furthermore, we will investigate the expression of invasive behaviour of a selection of Ponto-Caspian species in their native habitat compared to the same species in Western-European regions. Additionally, we will study the dispersal patterns and establishment success of certain alien invasive species in the Ponto-Caspian region. Based on the obtained results we will investigate whether potential mitigation strategies can be developed for both the stressors. Our project will act as a subproject to PRIDE tackling the deterioration of the Ponto-Caspian biodiversity.


English & Dutch