Assistant professor in Benthic Ecology

University of Amsterdam
March 20 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is looking for an enthusiastic and outstanding new Assistant professor, who wants to make leading contributions to the research and teaching program of the Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology.


FAME - Benthic Ecology research theme

In this research theme, we study the structure and functioning of biological communities at the sediment-water interface in both shallow freshwater and marine ecosystems. At this interface a multitude of biological, chemical and physical processes take place that sustain and modify benthic life consisting of consortia of bacteria, algae, invertebrates, and macrophytes. Individuals, populations and multi-trophic consortia depend on and adapt to a wide variety of abiotic processes, such as sedimentation and resuspension of particles or diffusion of gases and solutes (e.g., oxygen, methane, P, N and Si). In turn, benthic organisms modify these physical and chemical processes through their own activities. Moreover, benthic life is strongly coupled to the pelagic system and thereby to ecological functioning of aquatic ecosystems at larger spatial and temporal scales. Special attention is given to the progressively increasing worldwide anthropogenic disturbances causing a shift of species to new, environmentally defined boundaries. The benthic environment is highly susceptible to a large variety of human stressors in terms of e.g. nutrients, contaminants or silt. To what extent this leads to changes in benthic community composition and ecosystem functioning depends critically on the ability of each species to cope with a changing environment.
Our research approach is based on gaining fundamental insight in drivers and on quantification of processes. Often it involves fieldwork combined with an experimental analysis, and is carried out in systems ranging from freshwater agricultural ditches and shallow lakes to estuaries, tropical seagrass beds and mangrove lagoons


The department has a major contribution in the BSc program Biology (i.e. BSc courses in Aquatic Ecology, Marine Biology, Microbial Ecology) and related BSc programs (BSc Future Planet Studies, BSc Chemistry) and has full responsibility for the MSc track Freshwater & Marine Biology  (formerly known as Limnology & Oceanography), which includes courses in Aquatic Ecological Water Management; Ecotoxicology and Water Quality. Our teaching is research based in which scientific theory is implemented and applied in lectures, practical (field) assignments and individual research projects. Following shifts in the societal, educational and scientific domains, changes in the curricula of the different programs as well as in teaching paradigms are foreseen, to adapt our teaching to educate future generations of students.

We search for staff member whose research will focus on interactions between biological, chemical- and physical processes in both marine and freshwater benthic systems and whose research expertise is complementary to that of other staff members in the group.  The assistant professor is a specialist in productivity and trophic structure of benthic ecosystems and how these are driven by element cycles across the sediment-water interface. The candidate has experience in experimental studies, e.g., of functional responses of aquatic communities to (natural and human induced) stressors.  The assistant professor is foreseen to play an important role in the collaboration of FAME with other departments within IBED, in particular in such areas as water-soil interfaces, nutrient cycles, or population and community ecology.  In addition, the assistant professor should be an inspiring and stimulating teacher for both bachelor and master students, with a clear vision on quality, style and development of education and an open attitude towards integrating diverse teaching methods, being competent to steer (student) researchers at different stages of their career from BSc to PhD.

The candidate:

  • has a PhD in Aquatic Ecology or Freshwater/Marine Biology and at least three years of postdoctoral research experience, preferably on the interdisciplinary field of sediment biogeochemistry, ecology, ecosystem functioning, or stress-ecology in freshwater or marine systems;

  • has proven experience with experimental work in the field and/or the laboratory,  and with chemical analyses (stable isotopes, nutrient-fluxes) or data-analysis (foodweb analyses, multi-stress effect analyses);

  • has an good publication record in peer-reviewed international journals;

  • has a keen interest to combine fundamental research with relevant applications;

  • has supervised MSc and PhD candidates, or a teaching record at the Bachelor and Master level;

  • is in possession of the Dutch Basic Teaching Qualification (BKO, or foreign equivalent) or willing to obtain this qualification at short notice;

  • is fluent in English and Dutch;

  • has a driving license.

The candidate preferably also:

  • has a demonstrated ability to foster research collaborations with other scientists at the national and international level, or

  • considers teaching equally important as research;

  • has a clear vision on education and is willing to design courses (specifically in constructive alignments);

  • has the willingness to contribute to the organization of the research department and of IBED;

  • has experience in acquiring research funding from external sources (e.g. Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, EU, or other (inter)national research councils) and to manage research projects;

  • has a diving certificate.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess