PhD-position within the SEALINK project: “The movement of organic matter and microbes through watersheds of Dutch Caribbean Islands”

The Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB) located at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), is looking for a highly motivated PhD student with a passion for marine ‘-omics’ as well as field work. 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 12:35:07

LOCATION:                                         NIOZ TEXEL – UVA AMSTERDAM
VACANCY NR.:                                   2021- 9  
CLOSING DATE:                                 MARCH 15TH 2021


The NIOZ Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB) studies microbial communities in all types of marine environments, from estuaries to the deep ocean. Using field and experimental approaches, we study the diversity, physiology and activity of eukaryotic phytoplankton (algae), prokaryotes (cyanobacteria, archaea and bacteria) and viruses. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, analytical chemical, bioinformatics resources and analytical equipment (biochemical and genomic techniques), and has an excellent level of technical support.


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.


This PhD project spans the entire land-reef-ocean interface, focusing on the flux of microbes (including viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria), exometabolites, pesticides and other ecologically relevant organic substances as they move through the watershed to the nearby reef communities. You will collect in-situ samples to estimate microbial abundances and perform metagenomic and metabolomic analyses on Curaçao and St. Eustatius. You will collaborate with other subprojects within SEALINK, related to e.g., hydrodynamics, coral growth and reef management. This approach allows us to track the movements and fates of substances in coastal waters, identify concentration patterns at healthy and degrading reefs, and elucidate the metabolic processes that govern ecosystem states and their changes through time.


The ideal candidate for this PhD position is an excellent (marine) molecular biology, marine microbiology, (biogeo)chemistry or coral reef ecology, and are you prepared to face the challenges of this highly interdisciplinary project? We are looking for an enthusiastic candidate who is eager to work with state-of-the-art scientific tools (such as metagenomics, LC-MS/MS, metabolomics, flow cytometry), perform fieldwork (including diving), and design and execute dedicated experiments.

Ideally, you already have knowledge on marine viruses, microbial diversity, experience with large data analysis and basic knowledge of mechanistic modelling. Excellent oral and writing skills in English are essential. We highly encourage applicants from all members of our research community and of diverse background to apply. The PhD defense will take place at the University of Amsterdam (UvA): Promotor Prof. Dr. Corina Brussaard.

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

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Andi Haas or Prof. Dr. Corina Brussaard.

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 Valentijn Tiemensma (senior HR advisor at NIOZ).


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