Postdoc position: "Ecological engineering of nature-based inshore marine aquaculture sites"

NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research

Texel, Netherlands 🇳🇱

Job description

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 optimizing inshore aquaculture conditions. We are searching for a candidate with a background in modelling the relationships between shellfish growth and environmental conditions. 

This 12-month post-doc position will integrate available field data and process knowledge to find optimal designs for inshore aquaculture systems for marine molluscs which are connected to the sea and use tidally driven flushing. The work builds on previous projects and expertise at COS by putting fundamental ecological understanding of marine systems into practice, amongst others based on long-term field observations, models, and lab experiments.

THE DEPARTMENT
The Department of COS is one of three research departments of NIOZ located on the island of Texel. 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. Special emphasis is given to maintaining long-term ecological time series (on phytoplankton, macro zoobenthos, fish and birds) in the Wadden Sea.

THE PROJECT

Whilst the demand for nutritious and sustainable seafood is increasing, fishing yields are declining due to overfishing and climate change. The inshore aquaculture of marine molluscs is a promising alternative practice if cost-effective and nature-based, low carbon technology can be used to enhance growth and survival. Our previous inshore experiments revealed that growth of marine molluscs can indeed be improved by means of ecological engineering, suggesting that the inshore aquaculture of marine shellfish can provide sustainable food and income for coastal communities, when the shellfish farms are in low-lying salinized coastal areas where common agriculture practices are no longer profitable. The next step, and the main aim of this project, is to design inshore aquaculture plots for locations along the coastline of the Wadden Sea which all appear suitable but differ in environmental conditions (e.g., tidal amplitude, water quality). The project is coordinated by the Saline Zones Foundation, with partners from science (Royal NIOZ) and the shellfishery industry (Meromar Seafoods).

THE VACANCY
This post-doc position will build on the knowledge and data gathered on growth and survival of shellfish in relation to environmental conditions. This information has been gathered by long-term field observations on densities of shellfish (e.g., cockles) in the Wadden Sea, by experiments in the lab, and by previous field experiments on shellfish growth and survival in an inshore experimental aquaculture site on Texel. Topics to be addressed by this modelling efforts include:

  • Determination of optimal environmental conditions (e.g., temperature, salinity, food, oxygen concentrations, sediment composition) for growth, recruitment, and survival of shellfish from existing data and literature.
  • Determination of dimensions for inshore aquaculture plots (e.g., depth, width, number of channels) given boundary conditions of specific locations (e.g., tidal amplitudes, water quality) and knowledge of environmental conditions relevant for growth, recruitment, and survival of shellfish.
  • Assessment of site-specific optimal designs for inshore aquaculture plots based upon boundary conditions and requirements for optimal growth, recruitment, and survival of shellfish.

The work will be focusing on the aquaculture of cockles but should allow for finding optimal designs for other native and commercially interesting marine mollusc species as well.

Job requirements

THE CANDIDATE
Here are some features that make you the ideal candidate for this post-doctoral research position:

  • You have a PhD in marine ecology, physical oceanography, or a closely related discipline.
  • You have knowledge of and/or some demonstrated experience in modelling of hydrodynamic conditions in confined areas, e.g., using the SOBEK software.
  • You have knowledge on marine mollusc ecology, including their physiology.
  • Your scientific performance is demonstrated in peer-reviewed publications.
  • You are a team player, are well organized, are ambitious, and have excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • You can work in an environment with various stakeholders.

We strive to ensure that our staff reflect the diversity of society, including age, gender and cultural background. We therefore very much appreciate candidates who are able to increase the diversity of NIOZ.

THE CONDITIONS

We are offering a full-time Postdoc position for a period of one year. Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWOI (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) scale 10 or 11 depending on relevant experience. Furthermore, NIOZ offers a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8.3% of the gross annual salary, flexible work arrangements and 42 days of holiday leave (fulltime position). You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

MORE INFORMATION

Please apply online at www.workingatnioz.com.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact prof. dr. ir. Katja Philippart and dr. Johan van der Molen 

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sandra Liefhebber (sr. HR advisor).

Please visit the Department of Coastal Systems here.

Closing date for applications: April 16th., 2023. Please note: job interviews are foreseen for early May at Royal NIOZ-COS on Texel if possible, but otherwise online.


POSITION TYPE

EXPERIENCE-LEVEL

DEGREE REQUIRED

IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development