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Postdoc position: “Theoretical analysis of life-cycle bottlenecks and population regulation in the diadromous Sea trout (Salmo trutta)”

Texel, Noord-Holland, NetherlandsCoastal Systems (COS)

Job description

The Department of Coastal Systems (COS) at NIOZ is looking for an experienced and skilled postdoctoral researcher to finalize the analysis of a theoretical model with size-structured population dynamics and life-history complexity for a diadromous species of the Dutch coastal zone. The short project takes place within the context of Swimway Wadden Sea, a collaborative research program involving five PhD candidates and three research institutes (RUG, NIOZ, WMR), with whom and where collaboration will be pursued. Outreach and translation of research to stakeholders will be a crucial element in this postdoc project.

Royal 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. Royal NIOZ hosts an international group of more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories.

The Department of COS studies integral coastal ecosystems and their populations of fish, birds, and other marine animals in the North Sea and Wadden Sea as well as on a global scale. The department focuses on key physical, chemical, and biological processes that determine the productivity and the ecological functioning of coastal areas. The coastal system is studied in unison by considering the interrelations between the key compartments of the ecosystem (water, sediment, microalgae, macrozoobenthos, parasites, fish, and birds). The welcoming atmosphere at NIOZ and in the department will provide ample opportunity for collaborations.

The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO world heritage site and renowned for being the most extensive intertidal mudflat system in the world. In the last decades, fish populations in this area have declined to a fraction of their historic abundance. To understand these changes, in the Swimway project the team examines i) the habitat uses and movement ecology of large (adult) fish, ii) the survival and growth of fish in changing environmental conditions, iii) utilization of creek habitats by juvenile fish, iv) utilization of hard substrates by fish, and v) the occurrence and density of small pelagic fish species.

In this postdoc project, you will focus on the analysis of a physiologically structured population model for the life-cycle and trophic interactions of sea trout (Salmo trutta), a diadromous fish species that makes use of freshwater river systems and of the Wadden Sea and wider open sea marine habitats. Our questions concern the potential for bottlenecks in different life-stages of this species and how interacting (anthropogenic) impacts regulate population growth and performance. We will study concrete management strategies and how these contribute to trout population dynamics. In this position you will be charged with the analysis and publication of this research, since model formulation and development were fulfilled in an earlier stage of the project. This theoretical and analytical work will be carried out at NIOZ on Texel.

This postdoctoral position is part of the Swimway-project funded by Waddenfonds, the Ministry of LNV, Rijkswaterstaat and the three northern Dutch provinces. The research is a collaboration between Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Wageningen Marine Research/Wageningen University, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, the Waddenvereniging, and Sportvisserij Nederland. Research is co-created and developed with a broad range of stakeholders in the Wadden Sea area, including NGO’s and fisheries organisations. The project requires active engagement and communication with Wadden Sea managers and conservation groups.

In this project you will collaborate closely with five PhD candidates already working in the Swimway project to provide science-based management advice. Affinity with the research themes of the PhDs and the ability to function in this diverse team are crucial.

Job requirements

We are looking for a highly motivated, quantitative post-doctoral researcher, ready to develop and share new insights in a multidisciplinary and international research environment. A PhD in quantitative or theoretical ecology, marine biology, computational biology, or a related subject is expected, while we will also accept applications from candidates who finished their PhD project and have submitted their PhD thesis with the reading committee. The preferred candidate will have experience with the analysis (integration, bifurcation, 2-parameter bifurcation) of complex, physiologically structured models and should be familiar with the PSPM-analysis package for R as well as the EBTtool (standalone) integration software. The nature of this short postdoc project requires the candidate to publish their research within a short time-frame, therefore the preferred candidate can showcase their ability to bring theoretical results to the broader ecological community in high-quality publications.

Due to the international character of the research group, advanced communication skills in the English language are essential, and the ability and motivation to disseminate results to both scientific peers and a broad audience will be an advantage.

We want to be a transparent institute with a healthy working climate and an inclusive culture, where people from diverse backgrounds and gender bring their talents and further develop these talents. We aim for inclusive decision-making processes and expect our leadership to show visible commitment, awareness of bias, and cultural intelligence.


  • Employment of this full-time position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO-I
  • Salary compliant with CAO-WVOI  (Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Research Institutes) scale 10 or 11 depending on relevant experience.
  • The freedom to fulfill your role and space and opportunities for your personal (talent) development with the help of the NIOZ Academy.
  • 338 annualized holiday hours for a full-time 40-hour work week.
  • Pension scheme via ABP, 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8.33%.
  • Telephone allowance of €15 per month, prorated for your employment.
  • 2nd class public transportation travel is reimbursed 100%.
  • Employment benefits plan to exchange a portion of your salary for days off or vice versa, or can be used to purchase a bicycle with tax benefits.
  • We offer relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Anieke van Leeuwen (project PI). For additional information about the procedure, please send an e-mail to

Closing date for applications: December 22nd, 2023.

Please note that we aim to invite suitable candidates by January 5th for an interview on January 11th, 2024


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