Pierre Servais

Professor and Director of ESA


Université Libre de Bruxelles
Ecologie des Systèmes Aquatiques CP-221
Boulevard du Triomphe
B-1050 Bruxelles

Research Interests

  • Bacterial ecology of aquatic systems (Study of the activity and diversity of bacteria in various types of aquatic systems).
  • Biogeochemistry of aquatic systems (Role of micro-organisms in the cycles of key biogeochemical elements as C, N, P).
  • Health-related microbiology (Development of detection methods for micro-organisms of sanitary interest in waters; origin and fate in aquatic systems of micro-organisms from fecal origin; wastewater disinfection).
  • Microbiology of drinking water treatment and distribution (Biological treatment used in drinking water production, deterioration of microbiological water quality during distribution; biofilms in distribution systems; biofouling of membranes used in drinking water treatment).

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Research Gate


Bachelor in Biosciences engineering

– Anglais scientifique et projet de recherche (in collaboration with Profs. D.Gilis, C. Hermans and G. Lucy)  – BING-F-3004 (5 ECTS)

Master in Biosciences engineering: environmental science and technology

– Stage en entreprise en sciences et technologies de l’environnement – BING-F-537 (15 ECTS)
– Qualité microbiologique des eaux continentales et marines – BING-F-523 (5 ECTS)
– Techniques de l’eau et calcul des réseaux” (in collaboration with Prof. M. Verbanck) – BING-F-524 (5 ECTS)

Master in environmental managment

– Fonctionnement et gestion des environnements agricoles et aquatiques (in collaboration with Prof. N. Gypens and Prof. B. Godden) – ENVI-F-4001 (5 ECTS)

Key Publications

Cazals, M., Stott, R., Fleury, C., Proulx, F., Prévost, M., Servais, P., Dorner, S., Burnet, J.B. 2020. Near-real time notification of water quality impairments in recreational freshwaters using rapid online detection of β-D-glucuronidase activity as a surrogate for Escherichia coli monitoring. Science of the Total Environment. 720: 137303

Inceoglu, O., Garcia-Armisen, T., Ouattara, K., Anzil, A., Verbanck, M. Brion, N. & Servais, P. 2014. Seasonal variations and resilience of bacterial communities in a sewage polluted urban river. PlosOne. 9 (3): e92579.

Servais, P. & Passerat, J. Antimicrobial resistance of fecal bacteria in waters of the Seine river basin (France). Science of the Total Environment. 2009. 408: 365-372.

Servais, P., Billen, G. Goncalvez, A. and Garcia-Armisen, T. 2007. Modelling microbiological water quality in the Seine river drainage network: past, present and future situations. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 11: 1581-1592.

Servais, P., Garcia-Armisen, T., George, I. & Billen, G. 2007. Fecal bacteria in the rivers of the Seine drainage network: source, fate and modeling. Science of the Total Environment. 375: 152-167.

Servais, P. & Garnier, J. 2006. Organic carbon and bacterial heterotrophic activity in the Seine estuary maximum turbidity zone (France). Aquatic Sciences. 68: 78-85.

Servais, P., Anzil, A., Gatel, D. & Cavard, J. 2004. Biofilm in the parisian suburbs drinking water distribution system. Aqua – Journal of Water Supply Research and Technology. 53 : 313-324

Servais, P., Casamayor, E., Courties, C., Catala, P., Parthuisot, N. & Lebaron, P. 2003. Activity and diversity of high and low nucleic acid bacterial cells. Aquatic Microbial Ecology. 33 : 41-51.

Servais, P., J. Garnier, N. Demarteau, N. Brion & G. Billen. 1999. Supply of organic matter and bacteria to aquatic ecosystems through waste water effluents. Water Research. 33 : 3521-3531.

Servais P., C. Courties, P. Lebaron & M. Troussellier. 1999. Coupling bacterial activity measurements with cell sorting by flow cytometry. Microbial Ecology. 38 : 180-189.

Servais, P., Billen, G. & Hascoët, M.C., 1987. Determination of the biodegradable fraction of dissolved organic matter in waters, Wat. Res., 21 : 445-450.

Complete list of publications

Scientific Committees

  • Scientific expert for the “Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire (ANSES – France) et “Agence Nationale de la Recherche” (ANR – France)
  • Scientific expert for TetraTech Consulting (USA)
  • Associate Editor “Estuaries” (1999-2008)
  • Editorial Advisory Commitee “International Journal Limnology”
  • Scientific Committee: “Revue des Sciences de l’Eau”
  • Member of International Water Association, Association Francophone d’ Écologie Microbienne, Société Française de Microbiologie, Association Française de Limnologie
  • Member of the research program “PIREN-Seine” (France)