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  2. Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee (NIOZ)
  3. PhD position: "Harmful Algal Blooms from the present to the past: a (paleo)ecological and genomic approach"

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PhD position: "Harmful Algal Blooms from the present to the past: a (paleo)ecological and genomic approach"

The Institutions The Faculty of Geosciences at UU offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a …

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Landsdiep, Den Hoorn, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 uur


The Institutions
The Faculty of Geosciences at UU offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a population of 2,600 students (BSc and MSc) and 600 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organization. The Faculty is organized in four Departments: Innovation, Environmental & Energy Sciences, Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning. The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The Department hosts a highly international group of more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories.
The MPP group develops and applies tools to reconstruct climate and environment throughout the Phanerozoic, specifically through the analysis of organic microfossils.
Researchers in the MMB department at NIOZ aim to understand the crucial role that microorganisms play in regulating global biogeochemical cycles, including primary productivity, carbon sequestration, and changing climate in a variety of marine environments, ranging from tidal flats and coral reefs to the deep ocean and sediments. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, bioinformatics resources and analytical equipment, and has an excellent level of technical support. To support this research, the Royal NIOZ has a sea-going research fleet to collect marine water column and sediment samples. MMB also offers world-leading in-house analytical facilities for both lipid and molecular techniques.

The project
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are natural phenomena caused by the proliferation of organisms (i.e. cyanobacteria, dinoflagellates and diatoms) in a water body, which can negatively affect human health, socioeconomical sectors, and the environment. There is a growing concern that global climate change and anthropogenic impact are causing an increase in the frequency and intensity of HABs. Whether HABs have recently increased, depends on knowing their past occurrence and their response to environmental changes on timescales matching and preceding human influence. This project applies a wide array of tools (from genomic to paleoecology) to provide the missing long-term perspective to HABs specifically occurring in the Florida coastal waters, which are known HAB hotspots. The project will use water samples and sediment cores retrieved in Florida’s Gulf coastal and bay-estuarine waters (Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor) and includes fieldwork and extensive collaboration with national and international partners (certainly, but not exclusively, Florida Eckerd College, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission).


We are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate holding a master degree in Geology/Earth Sciences, Biology, Environmental Sciences and/or Paleoceanography. Experience in marine palynology, organic geochemistry, microbial ecology, genomics or phytoplankton physiology are a plus. Furthermore, the optimal candidate must be interested in joining an interdisciplinary project and willing to perform sampling campaigns. The candidate is expected to perform research in both locations and will be advised by both supervisors. Due to the international character of our research, good command of English, spoken as well as written, is a prerequisite. We highly encourage applicants from all members of our community and of diverse background to join us.


Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 4 years (fulltime). We offer a position for a period of 1 year (fulltime). At the end of this first year, the employment will be extended for a fixed-term of a maximum of 4 years, if the first year evaluation held with the employee is positive. The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes), a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8,3%, 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.

Additional information

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Francesca Sangiorgi (Associate Professor Earth Sciences) and dr. Laura Villanueva (senior research scienstist)
For additional information about the procedure, please contact Valentijn Tiemensma (senior HR advisor).
For more information about the Department of Earth Sciences, at Utrecht University see here; for more information about the Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry at NIOZ, see here.
Find more information about the UU-NIOZ projects here.
Interviews will be held online (Microsoft Teams) in week 5 of 2021.