PhD grant Role of intertidal areas in the suspended matter behaviour in the Schelde estuary

University of Antwerp
August 21 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The University of Antwerpen has a vacancy for a PhD grant in the domain of estuarine ecology and biogeomorphology. The Faculty of Sciences is seeking to fill a full-time vacancy (m/f) in the Department of Biology for a doctoral student in the area of estuarine management:

PhD grant Role of intertidal areas in the suspended matter behaviour in the Schelde estuary


This research project is carried out within the Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE) of the University of Antwerpen. The research of ECOBE concentrates on the ecology of aquatic ecosystems and wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction. The studied systems vary from small streams with riparian margins over larger rivers and floodplains to estuaries. These studies, both descriptive and experimental in nature, are integrated to predict the impact of different management options on the functioning and the biodiversity of the system.

For more than 20 years, special attention is paid to the study of the Schelde estuary and the scientific support of the necessary management actions to meet both human use as the ecological functioning of the system. An estuary is a very complex system with strong interactions between hydrodynamics, morphodynamics, biochemistry and ecology. Especially these interactions are the core research topics of ECOBE.

Over the last years an increase in suspended matter (SPM) concentration in the Schelde estuary is observed. This increase in SPM is decreasing the light availability in the water column, thus threatening the algal primary production and hence influencing the entire food chain.

Deposition of SPM in gullies, on tidal flats and tidal marshes on the one hand, and erosion or resuspension on the other hand, will decrease or increase the SPM concentration in the water column. A lot of research has been done on sedimentation and erosion patterns. However, the link between these patterns and the SPM concentration in the water column is poorly understood.

Aim of this PhD is to investigate the role of sedimentation and erosion on suspended matter concentrations in the water column. This study will focus on the entire Schelde estuary (both Westerschelde and Zeeschelde). It will require regular field work, such as tidal campaigns to monitor simultaneously SPM deposition on intertidal areas and SPM changes in the water column, combined with data analysis, GIS analyses and modelling.

Job description

  • You prepare a PhD dissertation in the field of ecosystem management with a focus on SPM behavior.

  • You will cooperate with scientists of ECOBE within the frame of other doctoral and externally funded projects to form an integrated research strategy. In addition, you will work together with other "Schelde researchers", of both Flanders and the Netherlands, and maintain close contacts with the managers of the Schelde estuary.

  • You will be involved in the research project OMES (Research Environmental Impact of the Sigma Plan) and other ongoing research in the Schelde estuary.

Profile and requirements

  • You preferably have a Master in (Bio)-Engineering, Master in Geography, Geology or Master in Biology. Masters in other scientific disciplines with a strong affinity for this topic are also eligible.

  • You have knowledge of statistics and programming.

  • You have a basic knowledge of hydrodynamic processes. Knowledge of estuaries and/or sediment transport processes and/or biogeochemical processes is a plus.

  • You are willing to participate in fieldwork campaigns (both planning and work in the field).

  • A (basic) knowledge of GIS (ArcGIS , QGIQ , ENVI ... ) is a plus.

  • You are communicative and enterprising. It is a multidisciplinary research that requires gathering of information and knowledge from various disciplines and policy areas.

We offer

  • a fascinating and versatile research and PhD project in a dynamic research group;

  • a contract for a period of one year. When funding is available, this contract is renewable after a positive evaluation for a maximum duration of 4 years;

  • the contract can start immediately. The effective start date will be determined in consultation with the selected candidate;

  • additional training and education possibilities;

  • regular participation in international conferences.

How to apply

  • Applications may only be submitted online, until the closing date 1 September 2017.

  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.

  • For more information on the scientific content, you can contact Prof. P. Meire - University of Antwerpen ( or +32 3265 22 64) or Ir. Tom Maris ( or + 32 3265 2263).

The University of Antwerp is a family friendly organization, with a focus on equal opportunities and diversity. Our HR-policy for researchers was awarded by the European Commission with the quality label HR Excellence in research.

We support the Science4Refugees initiative and encourage asylum-seeking, refugee scientists and researchers to apply for a job at the University of Antwerp.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

Similar jobs

More searches like this

Similar jobs