Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

PhD-student Marine Viral Ecology

The department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB; department chair prof. dr. J.S. Sinninghe Damsté), is looking for a highly-motivated PhD-student to help unravel the role of viral lysis in the iron cycle in the Antarctic Ocean within the project “Iron limitation and viral lysis, phytoplankton caught between a rock and a hard place (FePhyrus project).”

VACANCY ID: 2017-052


The research of the department Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB) is focused on the diversity, activity, and ecophysiology of marine microbes (algae, bacteria, archaea, and viruses), their interactions, and their consequences for biogeochemical cycling in a variety of marine environments, varying from tidal flats and coral reefs to the Antarctic Ocean.

The department is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories and analytical equipment and has an excellent level of technical support. In generating vast amounts of biological data, we collaborate with the Utrecht Bioinformatics Center (UBC) of Utrecht University.


The Western Antarctic Peninsula is currently experiencing rapid change, with temperature increasing and glaciers melting. The consequences of these changes for the essential metal cycles and fluxes and the effects on phytoplankton dynamics are still largely under studied.

Our interdisciplinary FePhyrus project (chemistry and microbiology) will address the sources of iron and how the microbial community and the iron cycle in Antarctic waters influence each other. In the microbiology subproject, we will investigate the effects of natural iron concentrations on the microbial community and its iron nutritional status, as well as how the viral lysis affects the production and nature of organic iron binding ligands. Additionally, we will study the effect of increasing temperature on metal quota for phytoplankton, viral lysis, and ligand production.


Do you have a special interest in marine polar viruses and their role as drivers of biogeochemical cycling and biodiversity? Do you hold an MSc-degree (or equivalent) in marine microbiology, virology or a related discipline? Do you have excellent cognitive abilities? In that case, we would very much like to meet you.

You will take part in two scientific cruises to the Southern Ocean. The interdisciplinary nature of the research and fieldwork within the FePhyrus project requires you to be a practical and flexible team player. Good writing and oral communication skills in English are expected.

The perfect candidate has experience with sea-going fieldwork, flow cytometry, polar biology, marine viruses, phytoplankton and bacterial viral lysis rate measurements. Adequate knowledge of proteomics techniques is highly appreciated.


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 Institutes (WVOI). The cost of relocation and help with housing is provided by the Royal NIOZ.

Interviews will be held on the 28th, 29th or 30th of August. Your work for the FePhyrus project is expected to start in October 2017.


For additional information about this vacancy, please contact prof. dr. Corina Brussaard.

An assessment is part of the procedure.

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Jolanda Evers (senior HR advisor).

posted: 21 June 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.