PhD Position in Reef Ecology
University of Amsterdam Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

PhD Position in Reef Ecology: Quantifying Community Dynamics Through Time

Publication date 15 February 2021

Closing date 15 March 2021

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 21-093

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 PhD position in reef ecology: quantifying community dynamics through time.

In this project you will conduct yearly surveys based on high-resolution 3D mosaic images of reefs at selected sites around Curaçao and St Eustatius to produce estimations of community structure, biomass, and volume through time at e.g., sites with/without pressure from coastal development and that experience differences in run-off and hydrodynamic conditions. Biomass estimates need to be collected to estimate substance fluxes in collaboration with other project partners. You will also produce in situ experimental estimates of calcification and respiration rates of important reef calcifiers and bioeroders. In addition, coral skeletons will be used to reconstruct coral growth (calcification) over the past decades/centuries and serve as archives of environmental change in response to historic events (e.g., run-off, development).

What are you going to do?

  • Participate in and organize fieldwork in the Caribbean;
  • analyze data, write scientific manuscripts for peer-reviewed scientific journal;
  • present research at conferences and meetings and write a PhD thesis;
  • take part in teaching efforts, including on site supervision of bachelor and master students from Dutch and Caribbean Universities;
  • collaborate with and assist other scientists and students that participate in the SEALINK project.

What do we require?

  • A MSc. degree in (marine or community) Ecology, Biological Oceanography, Paleoceanography, Marine Biogeochemistry and/or Marine Biology;
  • demonstrable experience with imaging technology and image analysis techniques;
  • experience handling large datasets;
  • knowledge of ecology and systems biology;
  • excellent organizational skills;
  • fluency in oral and written English;
  • image analysis and computational skills (incl. programming in R);
  • extensive diving experience and experience handling boats;
  • willingness to spend consecutive months abroad;
  • ability to organize and oversee fieldwork.

Experience in bio(geo)chemical field studies and in Caribbean fieldwork are a plus.

The ideal candidate possesses most, but not necessarily all, of the requirements listed above. However, a MSc degree in a relevant field is required.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week for the duration of 4 years (the initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after satisfactory evaluation it will be extended for a total duration of 4 years). This should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). We will draft an educational plan that includes attendance of courses and (international) meetings. We also expect you to assist in teaching undergraduates and master students.

The salary, depending on relevant experience before the beginning of the employment contract, will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on a full-time contract of 38 hours a week. This is exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look here.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Or do you want to know more about our organisation? Please contact:

  • Prof. Mark Vermeij
    T: +5999 5103 067

About the Faculty of Science and the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 7,000, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic (soil and water quality) and biotic factors (ecology and evolution of plants, animals, and microorganisms), and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale.

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

If you are interested in this position, we encourage you to apply. We plan to start this position in the second half of 2021, so those graduating this summer can also apply. Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your application by 15 March 2021. You can apply online by using the link below.

Applications in .pdf should include:

  • a motivation letter (max. 2 pages) and CV (max 4 pages).

Please mention the months (not just years) in your CV when referring to your education and work experience.

No agencies please


Apply now

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