niozlogoThe department of Estuarine and Delta Systems (EDS) at NIOZ in Yerseke, in collaboration with Utrecht University, are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate holding a master’s degree in Biology, Environmental Sciences, or Earth Sciences with a strong interest in the modelling of coastal ecology and bio-geomorphology.


Coastal ecosystems accumulate sediment and organic matter, ensuring swift and persistent burial of carbon. Salt marshes may even outgrow the marine environment if accumulation of sediment and organic is fast enough, stimulating the buildup of estuarine peat. An important determinant of the accumulation of sediment and organic matter in salt marsh ecosystems is the efficiency of its drainage creeks. In this project, we aim to build a model of the self-organized dynamics of water drainage systems in coastal wetlands ecosystems to 1) gain understanding of and 2) develop an indicator system for rate- induced critical transitions between tidal flats, salt marshes, and coastal peatlands. We will consider critical transitions between peatlands, salt marshes and tidal flats in response to sea level rise, as well as “emergence” transitions, when coastal wetlands develop amplifying carbon accumulation. Our indicator system will be based on vegetation and drainage patterns in salt/peat marshes and on tidal flats, to help predict transitions before they occur in current-day coastal wetlands. Building on the most recent development in computing sciences, we will develop a novel high-resolution numerical model that is able for the first time to upscale small-scale bio-geomorphological processes (<1 m) to the extent of entire coastal ecosystems (>10 km).

CLOSING DATE: October 31st, 2021

For more information on this vacancy and how to apply, visit

  TU Delft logo transp

nioz logo transp

UT Logo 2400 Sta Black EN

Deltares logo D blauw RGB footer

RWS EN transparant

uu logoengels rgb

ihe delft logo new transparant

TNO text transparant 

WUR RGB standard