PhD Student “Exploration of sediment properties, mineral formation and benthic exchange in deep-sea environments”

The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS, Principal Investigator dr. Peter Kraal) is looking for a highly motivated PhD student to study biogeochemical cycling at the deep-sea seafloor and its role in regulating fluxes of nutrients between water and sediment.

2018-04-12 11:02:07


VACANCY ID:        2018-029

CLOSING DATE:    May 24th, 2018



Researchers in the Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) aim to understand the crucial role that oceans play in regulating global biogeochemical cycles, primary productivity, and climate. To support this research, the Royal NIOZ offers excellent tooling for characterization and sampling of marine waters and sediments in the field, as well as well-equipped laboratories for experimental biogeochemical research. 

A key objective within OCS is to shed light on biogeochemical cycling in the dark, deep sea. This part of the ocean, for a large part still unexplored, yields surprises nearly every time we venture into its depths.

Within OCS, dr. Peter Kraal explores biogeochemical cycling at the seafloor and its role in regulating fluxes of nutrients between water and sediment, using a combination of lab experiments with field observations. These fluxes not only regulate the bioavailability of nutrients but also shape the sedimentary records that are used to reconstruct conditions on Earth in the (recent) geological past. In particular, the project focuses on the impact of natural and anthropogenic perturbations (eutrophication, deoxygenation, and acidification).



The sediment-water interface is a biogeochemically highly active zone that determines the fate of nutrients: long-term burial in the sediment or remineralization and a triumphant return to the bio-available nutrient pool in the water column. Many benthic environments, including extreme environments such as hydrothermal vents and cold seeps, are characterized by strong gradients in oxygen availability, which fuel the (trans)formation of minerals that regulate nutrient mobility by sorption and coprecipitation processes. Iron and manganese particles play a particularly important role in this respect.

The importance of microbes in mediating these geochemical processes cannot be overstated. In this project, we will combine analysis of natural samples and experimental biogeochemistry to explore sediment properties, mineral formation and benthic exchange in extreme marine environments such as hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and the abyssal deep sea.



The ideal candidate holds an MSc degree in marine sciences, chemical oceanography, (analytical) chemistry and/or a related field. Expertise in mineralogy, microbiology and/or chemical modelling would be advantageous. You are eager to apply existing chemical and spectroscopic analytical techniques and to optimize these for the specific goals of the project.

You are well-organized and methodical in the lab but not afraid to get your hands dirty while sampling and analysing natural systems, often under demanding conditions.  

The inter-disciplinary and international research environment at the Royal NIOZ suits you well, and you have a strong command of the English language in speaking and writing.



Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for 4 (fulltime) years with an excellent salary, 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. Peter Kraal (tenure-track scientist).

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Jolanda Evers (senior HR advisor).

Learn more about the department of Ocean Systems here.


Interviews will be held on Texel on June 6th.


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