Job NIOZ – PostDoc researcher (Consequences of ocean acidification for phytoplankton production and losses)

PostDoc researcher searched by the the NIOZ Department of Biological Oceanography.

Job description

We seek a candidate for a PostDoc position within recently funded program entitled Double Trouble: Consequences of Ocean Acidification – Past, Present and Future.

Along with climate warming, anthropogenic CO2 is currently causing a significant increase in ocean acidity: Double Trouble! The effects of ocean acidification on marine calcifying organisms and plankton, as well as the marine carbon cycle are, however, poorly understood. The research program constitutes an integrated multidisciplinary approach, combining (1) laboratory experiments using organisms grown under pCO2 controlled conditions (2) reconstructions of ocean acidification in the geological past, and (3) studies of the impact of ocean acidification on the marine carbon cycle. Together this will quantify the impact of ocean acidification on calcification and feedbacks on atmospheric pCO2. The impact of past ocean acidification on evolution and extinction will provide important constraints on the adaptation potential of marine calcifying organisms and non-calcifying plankton. Furthermore, results will allow for determining the consequences for the marine carbon cycle. The program is integrated within the Darwin Centre of Biogeosciences (, and is a close cooperation between the Biology and Earth Sciences Departments at NIOZ, Utrecht University and the Alfred-Wegener Institute for polar and marine research (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany.

Topic of research:

Consequences of Ocean Acidification for Phytoplankton production and losses

The increase of pCO2 in the surface ocean profoundly affects the seawater carbonate system. However, very few processes other than calcification have been investigated so far despite the fact that pH and availability of CO2 are potentially important controls of e.g. nutrient speciation and photosynthesis. Phytoplankton form the base of nearly all marine food chains and account for about half of the total primary production on Earth. Their production sets upper limits to the overall activity of the pelagic food web and the biological pump. A major gap in our understanding concerns the synergistic effects of increasing pCO2 with other relevant environmental stressors on the adaptation potential of phytoplankton. This project will determine the ecological relevance of ocean acidification on the physiology, health, cellular composition of key marine phytoplankton species, as well as its sensitivity to viral induced mortality, grazing and sinking. The results will be crucial for a better understanding of the paleobiology and provide a solid base for urgently needed improved proxies for past climate change.


Applicants must have a strong background in Aquatic Microbial Ecology. Ideally, the successful candidate for the position should have working experience in phytoplankton ecophysiology, virus ecology, molecular analysis, continuous culturing and flow cytometry.

Conditions of employment

A full-time Postdoc position for 3 years, a pension scheme, a yearly 8% vacation allowance, year-end bonus 8,33 % and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of Research Institutes.

Contract type


3 years



The NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research is an independent research institute associated with the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). NIOZ was founded in 1876 and is one of the oldest major oceanographic institutions in Europe. Its mission is to pursue curiosity-driven multidisciplinary marine research in coastal and shelf seas as well as in the open ocean through close co-operation between physicists, chemists, geologists and biologists.

The Darwin Center for Biogeosciences is a virtual Dutch research institute, partially funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), which aims at performing cutting-edge science in the central field of Biogeology where Biology and Earth Sciences meet. Its research mission is to understand the functioning of global, regional and local ecosystems, focusing on change and feedback at all time scales in and between biotic and abiotic components of a changing Earth.

Additional information

Further information: on the project can be obtained from Dr. Corina Brussaard (, +31-222-369513).

Further information: the position can be obtained from Jolanda Evers (P&O) (, +31-222-369371).

Closing Date:  April 20th 2010 or until a qualified candidate is identified.

Academic transfer, More information.

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