PhD position: Cascading effects of sea-level rise on sediment and macrozoobenthos

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 12 Nov 2021

This vacancy is the result of the collaboration between Utrecht University and NIOZ. The Department of Coastal Systems (COS) at NIOZ (Texel) are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate holding a master’s degree in ecology, biology, marine geology or earth science. Experience with analyzing habitat use and spatial data are a plus.

The project
Intertidal ecosystems, like the Wadden Sea, provide rich habitats for shellfish, worms, fish, and millions of shorebirds, but are threatened by sea-level rise. While sea level rise may partly be compensated by increased sedimentation, sediment-composition can change, which may lead to cascading effects in the intertidal ecosystem. In this project, the candidate will quantify relations between bathymetry, sedimentology, and benthic communities. Specifically, the project will consist of three parts: 1) project the effects of sea level rise on sediment characteristics for different IPCC scenarios, 2) model contemporary habitat associations between macrozoobenthos and sediment characteristics and/or bathymetry, and 3) combine the former two parts and project the effects of sea level rise on the spatial distribution and abundances of macrozoobenthos. By capitalizing on recent morphological advances and a NIOZ time-series for benthos (SIBES ), this research creates a unique opportunity for an ecosystem-wide understanding of how sea level rise affects intertidal systems. Within the project their will be close collaboration with another NIOZ-PhD project focussed on understanding how effects of sea level rise on macrozoobenthic communities cascade further up the food chain to shorebirds that forage for macrozoobenthic prey on intertidal mudflats.

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