PhD position: “The macrobenthic community in the Amelander tidal inlet: Their role in and response to a mega nourishment.”

Are you a curiosity driven researcher with a biological background and strong interest in marine macrobenthic species? Do you want to do fieldwork, laboratory work, and statistical analyses of large datasets? Then this PhD project may be a unique opportunity for you!

2020-10-13 14:49:32

VACANCY ID:              2020 – 50
CLOSING DATE:         November 20th , 2020

The TRAILS (TRacking Ameland Inlet Living lab Sediments) project aims to study the "off- site" effects of the mega nourishments in the outer delta of the Amelander Zeegat, located between the Terschelling and Ameland Wadden islands.  The project is funded by NWO within the call "living labs in the Dutch Delta".

The proposed research intends to establish whether and how fast the nourished sand in the outer tidal delta is transported into the Wadden Sea and if this newly introduced sediment invokes changes in the macrobenthic community bordering this tidal inlet. For the latter part we are looking for an enthousiastic PhD to analyze changes in the benthic community and do experimental work in the field to quantify the role of specific benthic communities and / or species in the transport or retention of individual sand grains. It is intended to do this in combination with measurements of the physical environment such as currents, deposition and erosion.


We are therefore looking for a PhD candidate with a biological background and strong interest in marine macrobenthic fauna and the sedimentary processes they interact with. An already existing research program in the area: SIBES;  provides an excellent foundation of existing data to document , quantify and compare the change in the benthic community. Dedicated cruises can facilitate sampling for the project itself in those areas of interest. This more descriptive part of the project will be supplemented with experiments about the role of organisms on sediment movement.  

The candidate will be employed at the EDS department of NIOZ located at Yerseke but in the first year be trained and work on Texel to participate in sampling and obtain taxonomic knowledge. Therefore the candidate will be embedded in the research team responsible for the SIBES sampling program and the recently funded research program "Waddenmozaiek" ( . The research consortium of the TRAILS project consists of NIOZ, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences, Deltares, Rijkswaterstaat, TUDelft and Wageningen University.



  • An enthusiastic and proactive candidate who would like to work in a multidisciplinary team.
  • MSc degree in Marine Biology, Ecology or other relevant field.
  • Strong interest for and willing to obtain taxonomic knowledge of Wadden Sea macrofauna.
  • Interest in physical processes and animal sediment relations
  • Willing and able to do fieldwork at sea, laboratory work, and statistical analyses of large datasets.
  • Creative and curiosity driven to do fundamental research in the context of nature-based coastal management.
  • Good communication skills in English (both oral and written).

Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 1 year (fulltime). At the end of this first year, the employment will be extended to a fixed-term of a maximum of 4 years, if the first year evaluation held with the employee is positive.

The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (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.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Rob Witbaard (scientist). For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek, sr. HRM advisor.

Please visit NIOZ and the departments of Coastal Systems (COS) and Estuariene & Delta Systems (EDS)  here.

Please note: job interviews are foreseen for the end of November 2020.


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