PhD student “Understanding global saltmarsh dynamics using satellite remote sensing"

The Department Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS, Royal NIOZ Yerseke) is recruiting a PhD candidate on the topic ‘Saltmarshes under stress: thresholds for saltmarsh dynamics from global satellite data’. We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a keen interest in remote sensing. The study is financed by NWO/ALW and Netherlands Space Office.

VACANCY ID:         2017-057
CLOSING DATE:    August 21th, 2017


The department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS, Royal NIOZ-Yerseke) aims to understand how the interplay between benthic organisms, water flow, and sedimentation shapes the physical environment as well as the habitats that can support diverse natural communities. Central to our department is a multidisciplinary approach that combines state-of-art biophysical measurements, remote sensing, and manipulative experiments with mathematical and numerical modelling to create in-depth understanding of the processes that form estuarine, delta and coastal systems.


Saltmarshes are dynamic coastal ecosystems. Depending on sediment availability, sea level and hydrodynamics, they can vertically build up by trapping sediment, or drown, and they can expand or erode laterally.

The aim of this PhD project is to yield a generic understanding of saltmarsh dynamics by adopting a global, unified and quantitative approach. Satellite data are used to provide consistent, repetitive and global information of the saltmarshes. Image analysis methods will be developed in this study to characterize the dynamics of saltmarsh vegetation and their drivers from long-term time-series of satellite data, for a large number of sites with contrasting conditions across the world. This information will be used to develop a predictive (statistical) model of saltmarsh development.

Findings of the project will be published in peer reviewed international journals and in a PhD thesis.


Do you have a Master in Science (within the field of Physical Geography, Geomorphology, Ecology, Earth Observation, Coastal Engineering or equivalent)? Do you have affinity with estuarine and coastal systems? Do you have a keen interest in satellite remote sensing and do you have advanced computer skills (programming and image processing)? Do you have good insights in analyzing and interpreting data? Do you have good English oral and writing skills? Are you a highly motivated individual with a cooperative mindset and the drive to successfully complete a thesis? If so, we would very much like to know more about you. Send us a motivational letter and your cv. Closing date is August 21th 2017.


We offer you a fulltime position for 4 years, a pension scheme, a yearly 8% vacation allowance, year-end bonus and flexible employment conditions. Our labour policies are based on the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement of Research Centers. Cost of relocation and help with housing is provided by the Royal NIOZ. Yerseke is located at commuting distance of major cities like Antwerp, Breda and Middelburg.

Additional information about this vacancy: Dr. Daphne van der Wal, senior scientist. For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek, senior HR advisor.

Interviews with pre-selected candidates will take place in Yerseke or online (e.g., by Skype).

Please note: job interviews are foreseen on September 8th,, 2017


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