Skip to content

Tenure Track Principle Investigator Position: "Marine Mammal (Cetacean) Foraging Dynamics"

Texel, Noord-Holland, NetherlandsCoastal Systems (COS)

Job description

NIOZ is looking for a highly motivated marine researcher to join the team of Principal Investigators (PI) in its department of Coastal Systems research (COS). The PI will develop world-leading research on the predator-prey dynamics and behaviour of marine mammals with focus on cetaceans within coastal, shelf sea and/or pelagic (meso-/bathy-) food webs. The position compliments long-standing expertise at COS in advancing fundamental ecological understanding of marine systems.


The Department of COS integrates state-of-the art field, laboratory and numerical modelling studies in frontier explorations of the drivers of the dynamics of marine species, habitats and food webs. COS examines how physical, chemical and biological processes interact to determine the distribution, composition and productivity of marine species - from primary producers to top predators - and marine habitats - from the coast to inter/sub-tidal and pelagic environments. Three, strongly interconnected research themes include: i) revealing the connectivity of individuals, species and habitats through studies of behaviour and movement at micro- to hemisphere-scales, ii) advancing knowledge on the adaptive capacity of organisms to cope with environmental change, and iii) the trophodynamic structure and function of food webs. Research is applied at both the regional and global scales.


The PI is expected to establish a world-class research unit advancing fundamental process understanding of the foraging dynamics and behaviour of marine mammals, with emphasis on toothed whales. The research should be conducted within a holistic, food-web context and apply a variety of approaches to advance understanding of the effects of pressures on vulnerable marine species and systems. There is considerable flexibility for the selected candidate to shape her/his/their own research line in consideration of the NIOZ strategic plan. Potential coastal / marine research areas include:

  • Employing state-of-the-art, matched in situ sampling and measurements as well as laboratory techniques, on predator-prey systems to gain a holistic understanding of the drivers of cetacean foraging strategies, food web dynamics and inference on ecosystem-level resilience to change;
  • Evaluating the response of cetaceans to changes in the abundance and distribution of their prey, and fluctuations in their environment across spatial and temporal scales;
  • Assessing anthropogenic impacts, including man-made noise, on the foraging behaviour of marine mammals with emphasis on cetaceans, their prey and their interactions;
  • Performing bioenergetics-based analyses of foraging consequences for cetaceans and their prey;
  • Integrating your field and laboratory measurements within models to advance predictive capacity of the effects of pressure (e.g. climate change, habitat modification) on species, habitats and ecosystems.

The successful candidate should take advantage of the cross-departmental research facilities available at NIOZ including its research laboratories and field sampling programs including its oceanographic research fleet. Research can be applied within or across a variety of habitats from coastal zones to the deep sea.

Job requirements


  • You have a PhD plus relevant Post-doctoral or other professional research experience in ecology, marine science or a closely related discipline and a strong track record of process investigations on cetacean-prey systems and anthropogenic effects on marine life.
  • You have a demonstrated capacity and affinity for addressing marine ecological questions using a collaborative, cross-disciplinary, state-of-the-art approach.
  • You have already gained some experience in building a research group and are ready to continue expanding your effective research team including the mentoring of (early career) scientists and active collaboration within and outside NIOZ.
  • You have demonstrated success at building long-term (inter)national research collaborations and obtaining research project funding
  • You have a strong track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals.


Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a full-time tenure track position and, after a successful review, a permanent scientific staff position will be offered within 5 years up to the level of senior scientist.

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 of 8.3% of the gross annual salary, flexible work 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.

Royal NIOZ COS is located on the beautiful island of Texel in the World Heritage Wadden Sea. Texel offers sun, wind and beach, and a diverse but moderate level of facilities, including a thriving tourist industry, shops, sports facilities, primary schools and a high school. It is connected to the mainland by an hourly to half-hourly ferry service, with crossings taking 20 minutes. The Royal NIOZ is situated next to the ferry terminal.


Please apply online at

Your application should contain: 

  • a maximum two-page research statement, including how you plan to build your research group such as funding, collaborations and use of research facilities.
  • an updated CV or resume.
  • three names of references.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact the Head of the Department of Coastal Systems, Prof. Dr. Myron A. Peck.

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sandra Liefhebber (sr. HR advisor).

Please visit the Department of Coastal Systems here.

Closing date for applications: March 31st, 2023. Please note: job interviews are foreseen within three to four weeks later at Royal NIOZ-COS on Texel if possible, but otherwise online.


Apply with Indeed unavailable