Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

PhD "The role of trace metals in the ocean - low concentrations with global impact"

The Department of Ocean System Sciences (OCS, department chair: prof. dr. Gert-Jan Reichart) is looking for a highly motivated PhD with a MSc degree in marine sciences, biogeosciences / biogeochemistry, environmental sciences or analytical chemistry to help us unravel the role of metals in the globally important Southern Ocean. Scientific research expeditions are part of the project.

VACANCY ID: 2017-013
CLOSING DATE: MARCH the 17th, 2017


The department of Ocean System Sciences (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.

We cover a wide range of scientific disciplines through experiments and data collection during sea-going oceanographic research as well as through home-based laboratory experiments and analyses.

All involved scientists rely on modern observational techniques including moorings, landers, thermistor strings, trace-metal clean samplers, and novel underwater autonomous observations.

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.


Primary production in the open ocean can be limited by trace metal availability, particularly iron, but other metals might play a role too. The global ocean, and notably the Antarctic, is currently experiencing rapid change as temperatures are increasing and ice is melting.

However, the consequences of these changes for the fluxes and cycling of essential metals and the effect on phytoplankton are largely unknown. Novel tools such as multi-element determination via mass spectrometry and metal stable isotope analysis are now available to help unravel the role of metals in the globally important Southern Ocean.


  • As our PhD, you will focus on measuring trace metal concentrations with scope to include metal stable isotopes and metal binding ligands.
  • We have samples from the Southern Ocean from previous expeditions and are planning more work in the Antarctic region with international collaborators, focusing on the role of iron in the microbial ecosystem.
  • The work is based on recent developments in analytical techniques and method development/implementation will be part of the project.


  • 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 marine sciences, biogeosciences / biogeochemistry, environmental sciences or analytical chemistry. Good English oral and writing skills are essential.
  • Within this project you must be willing to participate in scientific research expeditions. Applicants should preferably have experience with (geo)chemical work.


  • 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 Dutch Collective Labour Agreement of Research Centers (WVOI). Cost of relocation and help with housing is provided by Royal NIOZ.
  • Job interviews are tentatively scheduled to take place on the 4th of April, 2017.
  • For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Rob Middag, senior scientist.
  • For more information about the procedure, please contact Peter Vooijs, senior HR advisor.

posted: 17 February 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.