Sarah Faye Harpenslager


Müggelseedamm 301, 12587 Berlin


As a biogeochemist and applied ecologist, my main research interests comprise the cycling of nutrients through aquatic ecosystems, the interaction between plants and their abiotic environment and the factors controlling emission or storage of greenhouse gasses. Furthermore, I am interested in the application of ecology to the management and restoration of aquatic systems. In my work, I use a combination of field measurements and more controlled experimental approaches to study biogeochemical processes across different levels of organisation. I am also involved in multiple outreach programmes to engage the public with ecology and climate change science.


Previous affiliations

2016 - 2019                    Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Studied the impact of global warming on biogeochemical cycling in Arctic streams as part of a multidisciplinary NERC-funded project studying whole-ecosystem effects of warming.


July - Dec 2015               Research Assistant, Radboud University, NL

Studied the efficiency of newly designed constructed wetlands for water treatment in the field and in experimental stream channels (EU funded).


2011 - 2015                      Ph.D.   Candidate, Dept. Aquatic Ecology, Radboud University, NL

Studied early stages of peat formation, with a focus on biogeochemistry and C-fluxes for restoration and management applications (STW funded).


2010 - 2011                      Junior researcher, B-Ware Research Centre, NL.

Studied effects of liming on sediments and isoetid vegetation from Norwegian softwater lakes


Mass development of aquatic macrophytes – causes and consequences of macrophyte removal for ecosystem structure, function, and services
Contact person
Jan Köhler
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 2) Ecosystem Research



13.       Derksen-Hooijberg, M.; Hoogveld, J.; Angelini, C.; Lamers, L; Borst, A.; Smolders, A.; Harpenslager, S.F., Govers,  L., van der Heide, T. (2019) Repetitive desiccation events weaken a salt marsh mutualism, Journal of Ecology, https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13178

12.       Dijk, G. van, Fritz, C., Straathof, N., Van de Riet, B., Hogeweg, N., Harpenslager, S.F., Roelofs, J.G.M., Behre, K.E. and Lamers, L.P.M (in review) “Biogeochemical characteristics of the last floating coastal bog remnant in Europe, the Sehestedt bog”, Wetlands, https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-018-1089-3

11.       Temmink, R.J.M., Harpenslager, S.F., Smolders, A.J.P., Van Dijk, G., Peters, R.C.J.H., Lamers, L.P.M. and Van Kempen, M.M.L. (2018) “Azolla along a phosphorus gradient: biphasic growth response linked to diazotroph traits and phosphorus-induced iron chlorosis”, Scientific Reports, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-22760-5

10.       Hester, E., Harpenslager, S.F., Van Diggelen, J.H.M., Lamers, L.P.M., Jetten, M.S.M., Lüke, C., Lücker, S. and Welte, C.U. (2018) “Linking nitrogen load to the structure and function of wetland soil and rhizosphere microbial communities”, mSystems, http://doi.org/10.1128/mSystems.00214-17

9.          Overbeek, C.C., Van der Geest, H.G., Van Loon, E.E., Klink, A. D., Van Heeringen, S., Harpenslager, S.F. and Admiraal. W. (2018) “Decomposition of aquatic pioneer vegetation in newly constructed wetlands”, Ecological Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.06.046

8.          Harpenslager, S.F., Overbeek, C.C., Van Zuidam, J.P., Roelofs, J.G.M., Kosten, S. and Lamers, L.P.M. (2018) “Peat capping: natural capping of wet landfills by peat formation” Ecological Engineering, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2017.04.040

7.          Van den Elzen, E., Kok, M.A.R., Harpenslager, S.F., Hensgens, G., Fritz, C., Jetten, M.S.M., Ettwig, K.F., and Lamers L.P.M. (2017) “Symbiosis revisited: phosphorus and acid buffering stimulate N2 fixation but not Sphagnum growth”, Biogeosciences https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-1111-2017

6.          Tang, Y., Harpenslager, S.F., Van Kempen, M.M.L., Loeffen, L.M.J.M., Roelofs, J.G.M., Smolders, A.J.P. and Lamers, L.P.M. (2017) “Aquatic macrophytes can be used for wastewater polishing but not for purification in constructed wetlands”, Biogeosciences https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-755-2017

5.         Harpenslager, S.F., Lamers, L.P.M., Van der Heide, T., Roelofs, J.G.M. and Smolders, A.J.P. (2016) “Harnessing facilitation: Why successful re-introduction of Stratiotes aloides requires high densities under high nitrogen loading”, Biological Conservation, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2015.12.031

 4.         Harpenslager S.F. (2015) “Growing Peat”, Doctoral dissertation, https://repository.ubn.ru.nl/bitstream/handle/2066/148821/148821.pdf

3.          Harpenslager, S.F., Van den Elzen, E., Kox, M.A.R., Smolders, A.J.P., Ettwig, K.F. and Lamers, L.P.M. (2015) “Topsoil removal as a prerequisite to avoid strong nutrient and greenhouse gas emissions”, Ecological Engineering, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoleng.2015.08.002

2.          Harpenslager, S.F., Van Dijk, G., Kosten, S., Roelofs, J.G.M., Smolders, A.J.P and Lamers, L.P.M. (2015) “Simultaneous high C fixation and high C emissions in Sphagnum mires”, 2015, Biogeosciences https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-4739-2015  

1.           Harpenslager, S.F., Smolders, A.J.P., Kieskamp, A.M., Roelofs, J.G.M. and Lamers, L.P.M., “To float or not to float: how interactions between light and dissolved inorganic carbon species determine the buoyancy of Stratiotes aloides” (2015) PLOSONE, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0124026

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