PhD position: “Can subtidal bivalve reefs be restored in the Wadden Sea?”

The department of Coastal Systems (COS) is looking for a highly motivated PhD student with a strong interest in (marine) restoration ecology, and experience with fieldwork and experiments.

2019-07-04 16:48:23

VACANCY ID:                     2019 - 046
CLOSING DATE:                September 30th , 2019



This PhD position is embedded within the “Wadden Mosaic/Waddenmozaïek” project, a collaboration between Natuurmonumenten, University of Groningen and NIOZ, funded by Waddenfonds, Rijkswaterstaat and the three northern Dutch provinces. This project will completely map habitat diversity and biodiversity of the subtidal Dutch Wadden Sea and test conservation and restoration measures that may contribute to the recovery of the subtidal Dutch Wadden Sea, a UNESCO world heritage site.

In this project, a postdoc and 4 PhD students, working at NIOZ and the University of Groningen, will closely collaborate to work towards these goals. The research for this position will therefore be conducted in close collaboration with the Conservation Ecology group at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), where the PhD-student is also expected to spend considerable time. Other collaborations will involve a broad range of stakeholders in the Wadden Sea area.



The shallows of the subtidal Wadden Sea used to be typified by extensive epibenthic bivalve reefs dominated by blue mussels, horse mussels and the native flat oyster. Over the last centuries, however, these reefs have large disappeared due to the combined effects of habitat loss, overharvesting, and disease.

In this PhD project, you will empirically test the feasibility of the restoration of these historic reefs, and investigate whether such restoration actions can improve overall subtidal habitat quality and biodiversity. As a first step, you will construct a field experiment in which you will test a number of biodegradable structures for their potential to serve as an establishment substrate for mussels, oysters and other epibenthic species. The underlying idea is that this artificial substrate should bridge the establishment threshold for reef-forming species by providing suitable settlement substrate for larvae, and by temporarily reducing predation. Once the reefs have developed and matured, the initial artificial structures should degrade and disappear. Successful treatments and other experiments will be scaled up in the following years.



We are seeking an enthusiastic candidate with a strong interest in (marine) restoration ecology, and experience with fieldwork and experiments. You should be a real team player, willing to work with a diverse group of researchers, technicians and project stakeholders, and have the ability and interest to communicate your work to both scientific peers and a broad audience. You must have an MSc degree (or equivalent) in Biology, Marine Biology, Ecology or Environmental Science, or a related field.



Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for 4 (fulltime) years with a salary compliant to the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes, a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus, and flexible work arrangements.

You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.



The job interviews will take place on October 7,8 or 9th 2019.

Additional information on job details: prof. dr. ir. Tjisse van der Heide or Dr. Laura Govers.

For additional information on the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek (senior HR advisor).

Please visit the Department of Coastal Sciences here.


Share on:
Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Share with a friend:
Mail a friend