PhD position: It takes guts to be resilient against climate change

This vacancy is the result of the collaboration between Utrecht University and NIOZ. The Department of Coastal Systems (COS) at NIOZ (Texel) is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate holding a master degree in Biology. Experience in marine ecology, animal ecology and molecular ecology are a plus.

2021-10-01 00:16:04

VACANCY ID:              2021-58
CLOSING DATE          October 31st
, 2021.


The Faculty of Geosciences at UU offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a population of 2,600 students (BSc and MSc) and 600 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty is organized in four Departments: Innovation, Environmental & Energy Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning. The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The Department hosts a highly international group of more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories.

NIOZ is the national oceanographic institute and principally performs academically excellent multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research addressing important scientific and societal questions pertinent to the functioning of oceans and seas. Second, NIOZ serves as national marine research facilitator (NMF) for The Netherlands scientific community. Third, NIOZ stimulates and supports multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research, education and marine policy development in the national and international context.

The department of COS studies integral coastal ecosystems and their populations of fish, birds, and other marine animals in the North Sea and Wadden Sea as well as on a global scale. The department focuses on key physical, chemical and biological processes that determine the productivity and the ecological functioning of coastal areas. The coastal system is studied as a unity by considering the interrelations between the key compartments of the ecosystem (water, sediment, microalgae, macro zoobenthos, parasites, fish and birds).  

Food webs are altering under climate change and many animals have needed to switch to alternative food sources due to changes in their prey resources. This obviously requires flexible foraging adaptations. We hypothesize that changes in the gut microbiome are critical in such diets shifts, especially when animals switch from a carnivorous to an herbivorous diet or vice versa.

In this project we will examine the gut microbial community of a migratory shorebird in decline, the red knot (Calidris canutus), which has shown a radical diet shift from shellfish to seagrass rhizomes caused by a climate-induced bill shortening and changes in food supply. We take a both a descriptive and an experimental approach.

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate holding a master degree in Biology. Experience in marine ecology, animal ecology and molecular ecology are a plus. Furthermore, the ideal candidate must be interested in joining an interdisciplinary project and willing to perform sampling campaigns. The candidate is expected to perform research in both locations and will be advised by both supervisors. Due to the international character of our research, good command of English, spoken as well as written, is a prerequisite.

We highly encourage applicants from all members of our community and of diverse background,  including LGBTIQ+ communities, to join us.

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 for 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 of 8,3%, flexible work arrangements and arrangements and 42 days of holiday leave (fulltime position).

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 Jan van Gils or  Aldert Zomer additional information about the procedure, please contact  Sigrid Moerbeek (senior HR advisor).

For more information about the Department of Earth Sciences, at Utrecht University see here; for more information about the Department of Coastal Systems at NIOZ, see here.

Find more information about the UU-NIOZ projects here.



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