PhD-position within the SEALINK project: “Numerical modelling of ocean dynamics and transport of substances on Dutch Caribbean reef systems”.

The Department of Coastal Systems (COS) ) located at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), in collaboration with the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU), is looking for a highly motivated PhD student to investigate how hydrodynamics transport and redistribute particulate matter and dissolved substances in waters surrounding the Dutch Caribbean islands. This PhD position is one of nine PhD positions made available through the SEALINK Program, a collaboration among universities and research institutes across the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands led by the University of Amsterdam.

2021-02-11 11:51:39

LOCATION:                         NIOZ-TEXEL (NL) – IMAU UU (NL) 
VACANCY ID:                      2021 – 7
CLOSING DATE:                 March 15th 2021

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).

The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) recently awarded a grant to a new project called Land, Sea, and Society: Linking terrestrial pollutants and inputs to nearshore coral reef growth to identify novel conservation options for the Dutch Caribbean (SEALINK): The Program intends to provide a comprehensive understanding of ocean pollution and coral reef health in the Dutch Caribbean. A total of 9 PhD positions in varying scientific disciplines are available through this project including this one.

Only when coral reefs are considered as dynamic communities reflecting geological, hydrodynamic, biochemical, and ecological processes, can we truly determine which factors foremost cause changes on present day reef communities. The SEALINK Program addresses these questions by forming a large, interdisciplinary research team that will investigate how and which land-derived inputs (including sediments, nutrients, pollutants, organic carbon, and pathogens) affect the growth and survival of reef organisms in the Dutch Caribbean. We will use this information together with input from local stakeholders to design novel management approaches (on land and in the sea) to secure the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs.

Coral reefs are amongst the most diverse, productive and socioeconomic valuable ecosystems on Earth. Some of the healthiest reefs in the Caribbean region are found around Dutch Caribbean islands. But even here, wastewater, pollution, fertilizers, run-off, coastal development, overfishing, and global change affect the dynamics of reef communities. The main aim of this PhD project is to determine how ocean physics and hydrodynamics affect the redistribution of land-derived substances in coastal waters. Therefore, a regional ocean model will be created and forced by tides and regional weather conditions (wind, atmospheric pressure, evaporation, precipitation) to translate island-scale patterns in water movement to local differences in boundary layer flow. Within this model flow, virtual Lagrangian particles will be used to quantify the residence time of water in reef structures of varying structural complexity.

This research will link the transport of substances among land, open-ocean and benthic environments and occur in close collaboration with other researchers and projects within the SEALINK Project.

The project will be executed in continuous collaboration with researchers at the department of COS, Ocean Systems (OCS) and Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB)  at NIOZ as well as at IMAU (UU), the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity (CARMABI) at Curaçao.

The ideal candidate for this PhD position is an excellent, highly motivated scientist with a university degree (MSc) in physics, mathematics, oceanography, meteorology or a related area. We are looking for a candidate with excellent skills in math, programming (C++, Python, Matlab), numerical modelling and data-analysis. The candidate is expected to attend workshops, summer schools, national and international meetings and participate in field-work on the Dutch Caribbean Islands.

Due to the international character of the research team, it is crucial that the candidate is proficient in spoken and written English. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the SEALINK Project, the candidate is expected to be excellent at teamworking.

The PhD researcher will be hosted by the department of Coastal Systems (COS) at the Royal NIOZ on the isle of Texel. The candidate will work one day per week at Utrecht University. The main task will be to conduct a PhD Thesis. PhD defense will take place at Utrecht University: Promotor Dr. Erik van Sebille.

Supervision: Dr. Paolo Stocchi (NIOZ; oceanography, numerical modelling, coding), Dr. Furu Mienis (NIOZ) and Dr. Erik van Sebille (UU; Lagrangian modelling)

Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 4 years (fulltime). 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%, 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. Paolo Stocchi, Dr. Furu Mienis or Dr. Erik van Sebille

Find more information about the SEALINK project here.  For more information about the SEALINK project contact Prof. Dr. Mark Vermeij (Professor Tropical Marine Ecology at UvA).

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


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