PhD-position within the SEALINK project: “Three-dimensional dispersal of land-derived substances in the Dutch Caribbean”.

The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) located at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a passion for marine ecology as well as for seawater chemistry. 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 12:07:03

LOCATION:                                        NIOZ- TEXEL
VACANCY NR.:                                  2021- 8          
CLOSING DATE:                                March 15th 2021


In the department Ocean Systems (OCS) we study the role of the ocean in a changing climate from equator to pole, from the continental shelf to the deep ocean and from present to past. The ocean is the largest reservoir of CO2 and heat. Therefore circulation, mixing, biogeochemistry and other processes of the ocean systems, have (had) a large impact on (past) global climate. Ocean-floor sediments have recorded signatures of organisms and changes in environmental conditions on geological time scales. Today, the ocean environment is changing rapidly as a result of external pressures, which will affect the diverse but poorly understood ocean processes that play an important role in marine ecosystems and for our future climate.

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 will focus on the effect of ocean and reef hydrodynamics on the transport, distribution and deposition of (particulate and dissolved) substances.  Fluxes between land and ocean between the reefs and the overlying water will be determined by sediment trap, gradient sampling and by incubations and labelling experiments on both Curaçao and St. Eustatius. You will collect in-situ samples through time to determine fluxes, characterize and understand them through bio- and chemical analyses and identify the hydrodynamic processes that govern them. 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. You will closely collaborate with other SEALINK projects, related to e.g., microbial metabolomics, hydrodynamic modeling, coral reef community dynamics and management related issues.

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 OCS, Coastal Systems (COS) 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 (marine) biology, marine (bio)geology, (biogeo)chemistry or coral reef ecology, and is 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, perform fieldwork (including diving), and design and execute dedicated experiments. Ideally, you already have knowledge about benthic-pelagic coupling, carbonate chemistry, mechanistic modelling and in situ sampling. 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 researcher will be hosted by the department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at the Royal NIOZ on the isle of Texel. The main task will be to conduct a PhD Thesis. PhD defense will take place at Utrecht University: Promotor Prof Dr Gert-Jan Reichart. Supervision: Dr. Lennart de Nooijer (NIOZ) and Dr. Furu Mienis (NIOZ).


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). At the end of the first year if the first year evaluation held with the employee is positive, the employment will be extended for a fixed-term of a maximum of 4 years.,. 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 Lennart de Nooijer or Dr Furu Mienis

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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