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  3. Postdoc position: “Predator-prey dynamics in the open ocean”

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Postdoc position: “Predator-prey dynamics in the open ocean”

The Royal NIOZ is looking for an excellent, highly motivated postdoc with a keen interest in marine foraging ecology and food web dynamics. The candidate will …

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


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


The Royal NIOZ is looking for an excellent, highly motivated postdoc with a keen interest in marine foraging ecology and food web dynamics. The candidate will be working in a multidisciplinary research project driven by the NIOZ department of Coastal Systems and the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED, University of Amsterdam).

The Background
Understanding species interactions in the open ocean is one of the key challenges in the study of oceanic food webs. Lack of knowledge on the dynamics between predators and prey limits insight into fundamental marine ecosystem processes, and hampers conservation efforts of marine ecosystems, that are under increasing pressure from climate change, industrial exploitation and noise.  

A suite of projects executed off the Azores have started to gain insight into the dynamics between deep-diving cetacean predators and their prey. Dual observation of predator and prey is obtained through a combination of sensors, enabling assessment of cetacean foraging strategy as a function of prey conditions, and internal and external contexts.

To further enhance our understanding of pelagic predator-prey systems, this project builds on these studies, aiming to further investigate the dynamics between cetacean predators and cephalopod and fish prey, through investigation of the links between predator foraging strategies and the behaviour and distribution of their prey. Key questions include: how are individual foraging decisions affected by fluctuating prey patch characteristics, how do individual characteristics relate to cost/benefit trade-offs during foraging and how are these processes affected by anthropogenic noise?

The Project
This project will investigate the foraging strategy and target prey population of several cetaceans, including Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), off the Azores. Effects of fluctuation in habitat characteristics will be examined by recording of prey presence and availability and by using experimental exposure to man-made sounds.

In this multi-disciplinary project, we link expertise in animal movement (COS), marine ecology (COS, IBED) and behavioural and social ecology (IBED). The study will be integrated in an existing long-term field study and NWO Veni Project, with field work taking place at the Azores (Portugal).    


For this project we seek an outstanding candidate with a special interest in predator-prey dynamics and marine foraging ecology, who combines strong analytical skills with excellent capability to conduct fieldwork in the marine environment.

The candidate should have a PhD degree in the field of marine ecology/biology or animal behaviour and demonstrated strong ability in quantitative analysis of multivariate data sets, preferably echo sounder, acoustic and/or multi-sensor tag data. The candidate can handle the challenge of integrating data sets from a variety of sensors, and writing computer code (Matlab/R). 

The project requires a candidate with demonstrated proficiency in and experience with marine field research, including skills such as tracking/data collection, experiments, prey layer tracking. Furthermore, the candidate should have strong social skills, team-spirit, ability to supervise student teams, a strong work-ethic, ability to work independently and an intrinsic interest to explore new avenues of research. Good English oral and written skills are essential, knowledge of Dutch/Portuguese is a pre.


Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for a period of 2 years (fulltime). The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) with a maximum of scale 10 depending on your education and experience, 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). The work will be executed at NIOZ (Texel Island, the Netherlands) and University of Amsterdam.

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. Fleur Visser, postdoctoral researcher at UvA and NIOZ

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek, senior HR advisor at NIOZ

If you are interested in this position please visit our website www.workingatnioz.com and apply for this job by submitting a motivation letter with your CV and the names of three references. Job interviews are foreseen for January (week 3) 2021 and will be conducted online.

Please visit the Coastal Systems (COS) here.