Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

PhD "The unknown role of Submarine canyons – Pathways or sinks for Organic Carbon?"

To support the NWO-funded project “BYPASS?”, the department of Ocean Systems (OCS, department head prof. dr. Gert-Jan Reichart) is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate that would like to contribute to the understanding of lateral transport of organic matter, from the continental margins to the deep ocean.

VACANCY ID: 2017 – 003
CLOSING DATE: 1st of MARCH, 2017

The Department

The department of Ocean Systems (OCS) aims to investigate open-ocean processes ranging from physical oceanography at multiple scales to chemical oceanography, and deep-sea ecology to paleoceanography and paleoclimatology.

For this research, we actively collaborate with peers in (inter)national partner institutes, including the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU) and the Faculty of Earth Sciences of Utrecht University, as well as e.g., MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences in Bremen and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany.

The department of Ocean Systems (Texel, the Netherlands) is a leading research partner in the recently funded NWO-project BYPASS? (NWO-VIDI Grant) and will host the project.

The Research Project

Lateral transport of organic matter is likely channelled through submarine canyons. These canyons not only provide effective conduits, but their steep and irregular topography also interacts with hydrography, resulting in enhanced turbulence and mixing that affects organic matter dispersal. In addition, the heterogeneity of canyons provides a multitude of habitats for deep-sea fauna, which play a significant role in remineralisation.

The overall objective of BYPASS? is to contribute to the understanding of the role of lateral transport of organic matter from the continental margins to the deep ocean.

Read more about the project here.

The Candidate

The PhD we would like to meet is highly motivated. He or she has excellent practical, technical and cognitive abilities. Applicants must hold an MSc degree and must have a background in biogeosciences, marine sciences or environmental sciences. Good English oral and writing skills are essential.

You will focus on measuring fluxes of organic matter within a canyon and the relation to benthic and pelagic faunal distribution patterns and their role in remineralisation.

To establish the role of canyons in organic matter transport: 1) fluxes and biogeochemical properties of particles will be determined to distinguish between fresh and refractory carbon, 2) carbon concentrations and quality will be analysed in suspended matter in the water column and benthic boundary layer, and in sediments from canyons and from the adjacent slope, 3) organic matter remineralisation in the water column and sediments will be linked to the composition of the microbial and metazoan communities, and 4) the distribution and retention of organic matter in the canyon will be linked to local physical processes. All obtained data will be used as input for models to quantitatively calculate carbon flows in the canyon.

Within this project you must be willing to participate in scientific research cruises. Applicants should preferably have experience with (geo)chemical work.

The project will be hosted by the department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at the Royal NIOZ on Texel. Candidates must be available to start work at the 1st of April, 2017.


We offer you a fulltime position for 4 years, a pension scheme, a yearly 8% vacation allowance, year-end bonus and flexible employment conditions. Our labour policies are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of Research Centers. Cost of relocation and help with housing is provided by the Royal NIOZ.

Additional information about this vacancy: dr. Furu Mienis (project leader) and/or prof dr. Gert-Jan Reichart (department head).

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Peter Vooijs (senior HR advisors).

Interviews will be held on March the 15th. An assessment is part of the application procedure.

posted: 23 January 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.