PhD Student “Fish Ecology”

Want to help us understand how changing climate conditions and human impacts affect the dynamics of marine fish stocks? The department of Coastal Systems (COS) is looking for a highly motivated PhD student to take part in our research on fish ecology. We are searching for a candidate with a background in marine ecology, quantitative biology, theoretical ecology, or a related subject.

2019-03-27 11:25:30
VACANCY ID:          2019 - 011
CLOSING DATE:     APRIL 26th, 2019



As a result of increased anthropogenic disturbance, in terms of habitat destruction and through fishing, fish populations globally have been exposed to high mortality rates in the past century. Especially the removal of top predators can lead to trophic cascades in an ecosystem, with impacts on the entire food web. The processes and interactions taking place in these marine communities strongly depend on the size- and life-stage-structure of predator and prey populations: fish species undergo ontogenetic shifts in diet and habitat use, migration occurs in certain life-stages and predators are size-selective in their prey preference.

In our research group, we make use of size-structured population modelling methodologies. With these approaches, we aim to find hidden feedbacks that drive population dynamics and structure species communities. We study the links between intraspecific processes and species interactions or external pressures, by explicitly linking individual-level processes such as growth, reproduction, mortality, and migration behaviour to population dynamics.

This research project is about size-structured fish ecology in the context of anthropogenic pressures.



The research project will integrate the processes of migration behaviour with developmental and demographic processes in fish species. For example, many fish species use the Wadden Sea as a nursery area and habitat for early-life stages, while adults reside in deeper waters in the North Sea. Others migrate between freshwater and saline habitats. These behaviours are connected with the trophic ecology of fish species and impacted by anthropogenic pressures such as fishing mortality, habitat destruction, but also by changes in system productivity.

The overarching aim of the project will be addressed by questions such as: How do complex trophic life-history processes interact with behavioural processes? How does projected climate warming affect the productivity of marine fish stocks in the context of their complex life-histories? Under what conditions does migration between systems in different life-stages limit the population growth of marine fish species under harvest?

To address these research questions, the candidate will have the opportunity to work using a wide array of approaches, from theoretical modelling, to laboratory experiments and field work. The candidate will have the opportunity to actively contribute to the development of the research directions pursued in the project.



Are you an excellent, highly motivated student ready to develop and share new insights in a multidisciplinary and international research environment? Do you have a background in quantitative or theoretical biology, marine ecology, or a related subject? In that case, we gladly invite you to apply. Experience in modelling, analytical and numerical techniques, as well as previous research experience, is preferred.

Due to the international character of the research group, advanced communication skills in the English language are expected. 



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 a salary compliant to the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes, 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. The PhD defence will take place at the University of Amsterdam, where the candidate will have the opportunity to take part in the professional development courses of the PE-RC graduate school.



For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Anieke van Leeuwen (tenure-track scientist and supervisor).

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

Please visit the Department of Coastal Sciences here.

Please note: jobinterviews are foreseen for May 9th and 10th 2019 on Texel.


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