PhD-position: “Advancing climate-ready shellfish restoration and aquaculture as nature-based solutions”: The department of Coastal Systems (COS) at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is looking for a highly motivated PhD. We offer a 4-year position applying advanced field and laboratory ecophysiology to provide science-based advice for planning climate-ready marine shellfish aquaculture and restoration.

The position is in the group of Prof. Myron Peck and is part of two EU Projects (FutureMARES and MarineSABRES). This NIOZ PhD position will be embedded within the Chair Group of Marine Animal Ecology (MAE) part of the Department of Animal Sciences at Wageningen University and Research (WUR).


The Department of COS is one of three research departments of NIOZ located on the island of Texel. COS integrates state-of-the art laboratory, field, and numerical modelling studies in frontier explorations of the drivers of the dynamics of marine 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. Research is applied at both the regional and global scales. 

The WUR MAE studies how marine animals adapt in response to a changing environment. Research is conducted on different organismal levels, from eco-physiology, early life-stage development, population genomics, to ecological community responses. Work at NIOZ COS and WUR MAE provides science-based advice on the consequences of anthropogenic activities to ecosystem services to inform conservation management.


The EU FutureMARES project is advancing the implementation of nature-based solutions (NBS) in marine and transitional (coastal) habitats to simultaneously combat the biodiversity and climate crises. The project explores three NBS: i) effective restoration of habitat-forming species such as shellfish, seagrasses and kelp, ii) effective conservation of marine habitats and species using marine protected areas and other mechanisms, and iii) the aquaculture of plants and animals near the base of the marine food web. The work in European waters (from the NE Atlantic through the Mediterranean) is being conducted by 31 partners from 13 nations.

This PhD position will support research efforts in the Netherlands on shellfish restoration and aquaculture but is expected to take advantage of the science conducted across the broader FutureMARES network. The work will include applying next-generation microsensors monitoring the performance of shellfish during laboratory and field experiments. Those experiments will examine cumulative impacts of multiple abiotic and biotic drivers on shellfish feeding, growth and reproduction. 

The PhD will also contribute to the MarineSABRES project co-designing and co-delivering a simple systems-approach framework for the analysis, understanding and producing sustainable marine environmental management. The work will include assessing sustainable upscaling of shellfish restoration and aquaculture in coastal waters of the Netherlands including the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO world heritage site. In the broadest sense, this PhD research will contribute to ensuring the resilience of marine social-ecological systems in a future climate.

Job requirements


You must have completed your MSc degree in ecology, biology, marine (or environmental) science or related discipline. Preferably, you will also have:

  • Knowledge on the marine ecology of coastal systems in the Netherlands and/or other northern European areas;
  • Knowledge on marine aquaculture including methods of cultivation of shellfish or other plants and animals;
  • Knowledge on the physiology and/or bioenergetics of shellfish or other invertebrates including measurement techniques;
  • Strong analytical, and computational skills to support the potential application of bioenergetics and/or GIS modelling of shellfish in coastal habitats;
  • Good collaborative and networking skills, excellent written and oral communication in English;
  • A keen interest in performing multi-disciplinary work in an international setting;
  • A growing passion and capacity to engage various stakeholders (e.g. environmental managers, NGOs, shellfish farmers, scientists and/or peers) to discuss your results;
  • A willingness to think broadly and critically about the role of shellfish restoration and aquaculture to social-ecological systems.

Preferably, you will start this PhD position in early October, 2022. Most of the time, the work will be conducted at WUR but extended research stays at NIOZ (Texel) and at Wageningen Marine Research (Yerseke) will occur.

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


Employment of this full time position is at Royal NIOZ. After a 12-month probationary period and successful evaluation, the position is extended for 36 months for a maximum employment of 4 years. 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%, 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.

Royal NIOZ 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 main land by an hourly to half-hourly ferry service, with crossings taking 20 minutes. The Royal NIOZ is situated next to the ferry terminal.

More Information

If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit a CV, a cover letter, and names and contact information of 2 references by July 31st, 2022. The cover letter should discuss your motivation for this PhD position including how you meet some or all of the preferred criteria.

For additional information about this vacancy, please contact Professor Myron A. Peck, Head Department of Coastal Systems. For additional information about the procedure, please contact Sigrid Moerbeek (sr. HR advisor).

Apply now

Closing date for applications: July 31, 2022

We aim to invite suitable candidates for an interview during the week of August 22nd, 2022.

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