Postdoc position: “ SWIMWAY – From individual ecology to population bottlenecks in Wadden Sea fish species”.

The department of Coastal Systems (COS) of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ) is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to take part in our research on fish ecology. We are searching for a candidate with a background in quantitative or theoretical ecology, marine biology, computational biology, or a related subject. The research is part of a larger collaboration in Swimway, a project where a consortium of academic institutions and NGO’s study the fish community in the Wadden Sea.

2021-05-31 11:44:37

VACANCY ID:                     2021-28
CLOSING DATE:                July 9th , 2021


NWO-NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is the national oceanographic institute and principally performs academically excellent multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research addressing important scientific and societal questions pertinent to the functioning of oceans and seas. Second, NIOZ serves as national marine research facilitator (NMF) for The Netherlands scientific community. Third, NIOZ stimulates and supports multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research, education and marine policy development in the national and international context.


The Department of COS integrates state-of-the art laboratory, field, and numerical modelling studies in frontier explorations of the drivers of the dynamics of marine habitats and food webs. COS examines how physical, chemical and biological processes interact to determine the distribution, composition and productivity of marine species - from primary producers to top predators - and marine habitats - from the coast to inter/sub-tidal and pelagic environments. Research is applied at both the regional and global scales.


This post-doc position is part of the Swimway-project examining actions needed for the conservation and restoration of the fish community in the Dutch Wadden Sea. The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO world heritage site and renowned for being the most extensive intertidal mudflat system in the world. In the last decades, fish populations in this area have declined to a fraction of their historic abundance. To understand these changes, Swimway examines i) the habitat use and movement ecology of large (adult) fish, ii) the survival and growth of pre-adult fish in changing environmental conditions, iii) utilization of creek habitats by juvenile fish, iv) utilization of hard substrates by fish, and v) the occurrence and density of small pelagic fish species.

The postdoctoral project will connect these and other aspects of fish life history for key members of fish guilds (marine juveniles, diadromous fish, estuarine residents, and seasonal visitors). Accounting for the different life stages allows us to examine stage- and habitat-specific bottlenecks for population persistence now and in a future climate. This knowledge is needed to plan effective conservation and management strategies and actions.

This is a theoretical and computational research project. You will be using deterministic, stage-structured biomass models and physiologically structured population models. In this project you will work in close collaboration with the Swimway team of five PhD candidates to develop these mechanistic models and analyse management options (e.g. regional closures for fisheries, adaptive sluice management to improve freshwater-marine habitat connectivity, restoration of hard substrates to enhance nursery functions). This theoretical and analytical work will be carried out at NIOZ on Texel.


This postdoctoral position is part of the Swimway-project funded by Waddenfonds, the Ministry of LNV, Rijkswaterstaat and the three northern Dutch provinces. The research is a collaboration between Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Wageningen Marine Research/Wageningen University, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, the Waddenvereniging, and Sportvisserij Nederland. Research is co-created and developed with a broad range of stakeholders in the Wadden Sea area, including NGO’s and fisheries organisations. The project requires active engagement and communication with Wadden Sea managers and conservation groups.

In this project you will collaborate closely with five PhD candidates already working in the Swimway project to provide science-based management advice. Affinity with the research themes of the PhDs and the ability to function in this diverse team are crucial.


We are looking for an excellent, highly motivated quantitative post-doctoral researcher, ready to develop and share new insights in a multidisciplinary and international research environment. A PhD in quantitative or theoretical ecology, marine biology, computational biology, or a related subject is expected. Candidates with experience in theory building, mechanistic modelling, or with strong analytical and numerical computational skills will be preferred.

Due to the international character of the research group, advanced communication skills in the English language are essential, and the ability and motivation to disseminate results to both scientific peers and a broad audience will be an advantage.


Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 1 year (fulltime), which will be extended for two more years following a positive evaluation. The salary is compliant with the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes), and includes 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 provide support with finding accommodation.

You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

Royal NIOZ COS is located on the beautiful island of Texel in the World Heritage Wadden Sea. Texel offers sun, wind and beach, and a diverse but moderate level of facilities, including a thriving tourist industry, shops, sports facilities, primary schools and a high school. It is connected to the main land by an hourly to half-hourly ferry service, with crossings taking 20 minutes. The Royal NIOZ is situated next to the ferry terminal.


For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Anieke van Leeuwen (project PI). For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek (sr. HRM advisor).

Find more information about the SWIMWAY project here. Please visit the Department of Coastal Systems here.

Closing date for applications: July 9th - 2021. Interviews are foreseen for week 29 or 30 in 2021 and will be conducted (if possible) at NIOZ on Texel, otherwise online.


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