Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

Postdoctoral Scholar Nanoplastics and the Plastisphere

The Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB) located at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with a background in bioinformatics, population genomics, phylogenomics and metagenomics, proficiency in coding and a keen interest in symbiosis, archaea and evolution. The position is offered for a minimum of 1 year.

LOCATION: Royal NIOZ - Texel
VACANCY ID: 2021-60
CLOSING DATE: October 31st , 2021.


NIOZ is the national oceanographic institute and principally performs academically excellent multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research addressing important scientific and societal questions pertinent to the functioning of oceans and seas. Second, NIOZ serves as national marine research facilitator (NMF) for The Netherlands scientific community. Third, NIOZ stimulates and supports multidisciplinary fundamental and frontier applied marine research, education and marine policy development in the national and international context.

The MMB Department studies microbial communities in all types of marine environments, from estuaries to the deep ocean, from the deep past to the present. Using field and experimental approaches and a variety of analytical, (bio)chemical and genomic techniques, we study the diversity, evolution, physiology and activity of eukaryotes, prokaryotes and viruses in diverse marine environmental settings. We do so by a variety of analytical chemical, biochemical and modern genomic techniques.


The Amaral-Zettler Research Team ( invites applications for a postdoctoral position to work on the NWO-Groot Nanoplastics: Origin, Structure, and Fate ( Project. The uncontrolled release of nanoplastics (NPs), operationally defined as particles between 1-100 nm into the environment is a growing concern with unknown health impacts. Given their small size, NPs are bioavailable to the largest contributors to biomass on earth: the microbes. This position addresses the origin and fate of nanoplastics in asking the following questions:

What role do microbes play in the fragmentation of microplastics into nanoplastics and how quickly does this occur? What is the ecological impact of nanoplastics on the base of the food chain? Can microbes accelerate the vertical transport of nanoplastics in the aquatic environment?

Our group uses a polyphasic approach in addressing these questions that span the fields of microbiology, molecular biology and biogeochemistry. The project will leverage our Plastisphere isolate collection, access to stable isotope and fluorescently labeled polymers, and advanced imaging techniques including but not limited to Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and NanoSIMS. The candidate could choose to focus on an aspect of the project best aligned with his/her expertise but is expected to work closely alongside an existing graduate student also working on the project.


The ideal candidate will have a PhD, may have one or more years of postdoctoral experience (not required), and existing familiarity with microbiological, molecular and microscopy techniques. The candidate must be willing to work on site at the NIOZ Texel campus in the Netherlands. If the candidate has strong computational skills with some programming ability and experience handling and curating large ‘omics datasets, the position could be offered for an additional year associated with a contemporaneous project. The candidate must be acquainted with the fields of microbiology and ecology and have excellent spoken and written command of the English language. Excellent organizational skills and interest in working in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment are a given.

We highly encourage applicants from all members of our community and of diverse background, including LGBTIQ+ communities, to join us.


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), with the anticipation of continuation for another year or more (depending on research progress and funding availability). The salary is compliant to the CAO-OI (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) scale 10, a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus of 8,3%, flexible work arrangements and arrangements and 42 days of holiday leave (fulltime position).

You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.


For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Linda Amaral- Zettler or additional information about the procedure, please contact Mylene Lormans (senior HR advisor).

For more information about the Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry at NIOZ, see here.

posted: 28 September 2021   Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.