reactietermijn vacature verstreken - Scientist with an interest in statistical ecology
The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is the Dutch national marine science institute and among the most renowned internationally. NIOZ acquires and communicates scientific knowledge on seas and oceans through research and education. Our research covers all disciplines pertinent to marine science and our strength is in the multidisciplinary approach. Currently, we employ some 350 scientists, lab assistants, technicians, ship’s crew and auxiliary staff. NIOZ has two locations, one situated in the south along the Oosterschelde estuary (NIOZ Yerseke), and one in the north on the barrier island of Texel (NIOZ Texel). The open position is located at NIOZ Texel. For more information about our institutes, please visit


The WaLTER project, which is funded by the Waddenfonds, is a research project that aims to set up an integrated monitoring network for issues that are important to the Wadden Sea area in the form of a Long-term ecological research site (LTER). These include sea level rise, fishery, recreation and the establishment of new industries. This monitoring network is not just meant to be used for making policy decisions, but it should also enable sound interpretation of research data. NIOZ and the institute IMARES are working closely together on this project.


For this research project the Royal NIOZ invites applications for a full-time position as a


Scientist with an interest in statistical ecology


Statistical design of a Wadden Sea monitoring program.


Vacancy number: 2012-003


We invite Postdocs as well as PhD students to apply.


Job description:

Designing a monitoring program for the Wadden Sea ecosystem requires clear goals to be set. Not just variables of interest should be defined, but also the temporal frequency, spatial coverage and accuracy at which the estimates should be obtained have to be set. This project focuses on various statistical and methodological aspects of the monitoring program. It is embedded in a larger research project where goals are set in cooperation with other researchers who merely emphasize ecological and socio-economical aspects of the ecosystem.


The project is split up in three sub-projects.


The first subproject aims to develop a tool that enables the selection of system variables on the basis of expected variability in system behavior as a result of foreseeable changes in the system resulting from changing management strategies or changes in other external forcing’s. Expected behavior can only be quantitatively assessed by using dynamical system models. An example may be helpful to appreciate this objective. Suppose that climate change leads to an increase in irradiation, resulting in model predictions of increasing primary productivity, but with no predicted effects on algal biomass. Yet both secondary production and zoobenthic biomass are expected to increase. Then it might be wise to spend the limited resources of a monitoring program on measuring primary production and zoobenhtic biomass, taking also in mind that productivity measurements are much more expensive than biomass measures. Hence this subproject focuses on system variables for which dynamical models are available. One dynamical Wadden Sea model that is available is EMOWAD and its successor ECOWASP.


The second subproject focuses on the spatial aspects of the monitoring program. LTERs usually select a smaller geographical part of the entire system of interest in which monitoring takes place. This smaller part should then serve as a 'representative' part of the entire system. For example, the Balgzand area may act as the LTER site for the entire Wadden Sea. The question to be answered is whether this approach makes sense, and if so what the minimum area should be for an LTER in the Wadden Sea. The pros and cons of this classical approach should be derived in relation to alternative approaches of for example selecting multiple tidal basins or no selection at all, but area-wide coverage of the monitoring efforts. One important element in this subproject is thus the choice between an entirely design-based approach or partly a model-based approach needed to generalize the results for a non-randomly selected part to the entire system.


The third subproject will focus on the temporal aspects of the monitoring program and explore whether adaptive monitoring schemes in which the frequency of measurement depends upon the rate of change of the variables of interest is a promising and cost-effective approach.

Alternative subprojects may be formulated depending upon the interests and skills of the researcher.



We are looking for an enthusiastic scientist, holding a PhD or master’s degree in quantitative science. Particularly, applicants with a background in statistics, quantitative ecology, quantitative earth sciences or similar fields of study are encouraged to apply. In addition they will have knowledge of (geo)statistics and sampling theory and an interest in applying their expertise in ecological research. Other skills required for this research project include team-working and writing skills.


We offer:

We offer a Postdoc for 2 years or a PhD position for 4 years. We offer a pension scheme, an annual 8% vacation allowance, year-end bonus and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement for Research Institutes.


Procedure and further information:

The scientist will be supervised by Prof. J. van der Meer and by a group of experts in the field of statistics and geostatistics, Dr E.E. van Loon (UvA), Dr D.J. Brus (Alterra) and Dr G.M. Aarts (IMARES). For more information, please contact Jaap van der Meer (, tel. 00 +31 222369357).


The closing date for applications is 25 May 2012. Selection will start immediately. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Please apply by sending your CV and covering letter. You can send your covering letter, including reference number 2012-003, CV, relevant publications, and contact details of two references who are familiar with your work to NIOZ, HR Department, Sigrid Moerbeek, PO Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands or by email (preferred) to

vacature geplaatst op 29 May 2012 door The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)



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