Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

PhD position "Geological constraints on deoxygenation and reoxygenation in restricted basins"

The Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a background in geochemistry and/or paleoceanography to reconstruct the water-column and sedimentary processes that lead to fast deoxygenation and subsequent reoxygenation in restricted basins during past events (principal investigator dr. Rick Hennekam).

VACANCY ID: 2020 - 44
CLOSING DATE: October 23th, 2020


Researchers in the Department of Ocean System Research (OCS) study open-ocean processes and aquatic ecosystems from a variety of disciplines including physical and chemical oceanography, marine geology, paleoceanography, and deep-sea ecology. We investigate the past and present ocean to assess its future role in the Earth system. We collect data during oceanographic research cruises and conduct experiments both at sea and in the laboratory at our home base on Texel. The department carries out work in diverse environments all around the globe, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and from the Caribbean to the North Sea.


Our oceans and seas are losing oxygen due to eutrophication and climate change, having a detrimental effect on marine life and impacting biogeochemical cycles. Oceanic basins with limited water exchange with the global ocean are particularly vulnerable areas to deoxygenation because they can trap nutrients. Moreover, mixing in these restricted basins easily gets disturbed because of freshwater input and surface water warming. Within this project, you will study past (de)oxygenation events in several restricted basins, such as the Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Sea of Japan. Sediment cores from these basins will be used as archives to reveal the primary processes that trigger deoxygenation and subsequent reoxygenation under contrasting basin configurations, climatological settings, and on variable timescales (yearly to Milankovitch). You will use state-of-the-art geochemical proxies, such as trace metal concentrations from high-resolution X-Ray Fluorescence core scanning, uranium and molybdenum isotopes, and metal speciation. You will combine the multi-proxy data with biogeochemical models to define the environmental thresholds resulting in deoxygenation and reoxygenation, providing important constraints to accurately predict the environmental responses of our oceans.


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a Masters-level degree in Earth sciences, (aquatic or environmental) chemistry, or a related field. Practical experience with laboratory work is desirable, and the willingness and aptitude to learn and develop these skills are essential. Familiarity with sediment cores and geochemical proxies, such as redox-sensitive element concentrations, sedimentary metal isotopes, and/or foraminiferal oxygen isotopes, is useful. To collect sample material, participation in oceanographic research expedition(s) of several weeks' duration is expected to be an important component of this project. Furthermore, you should be capable of planning and organizing your work and you should be interested in taking a leading role in directing the course of your own research within the overall framework of the project. Proficiency in spoken and written English is essential, as you will present your results at international conferences, and write manuscripts to submit to peer-reviewed scientific journals. Your position will be hosted by the Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at the Royal NIOZ on the island of Texel, The Netherlands.


Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). 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, and flexible work arrangements are part of the employment conditions.


For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Rick Hennekam (principal investigator) or prof. dr. Gert-Jan Reichart (department head).

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Alexandra Noppeney (senior HR advisor).

Learn more about the Department of Ocean Systems here.

Interviews will be held online (Microsoft Teams) in week 46 of 2020.

posted: 10 September 2020   Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.