Postdoctoral Fellow to study trajectories of coral reefs

Postdoctoral Fellow to study trajectories of coral reefs

Published Deadline Location
25 Apr 20 May Leiden

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Job description

Our research group Plankton Diversity & Evolution is looking for a Postdoc for the Time Machine project.

With this Postdoc project we wish to provide insights into how coastal tropical marine communities might change when susceptible organisms are removed owing to temperature and nutrient increase. The aim is to develop and inform dynamic models to simulate trajectories of change in coral reef communities under different scenarios of increased sea surface temperatures. We wish to identify when and where feedbacks occur and which combinations of abiotic and biotic processes will result in an ecological threshold being exceeded leading to a possible shift from a coral- or algal-dominated state to a state dominated by other taxa. We will explore how the change in intensity or combination of drivers can change the competitive balance between the different benthic groups of organisms. The Postdoc will be part of the Marine Time Machine project, led by Lisa Becking. This will allow access to data from field-observations of natural patterns as well as in situ experiments across coral reefs at different levels of eutrophication and in marine lakes. Data from genomics (eDNA, popgen, phylogenies), images (species communities, cover, interactions, growth rates), stable isotopes (foodwebs), water-quality, carbon fluxes, as well as multivariate time series data from sediment cores will be available to inform and validate the models.

The Postdoc project will be carried out at Naturalis in the Plankton Diversity & Evolution group, which is led by Katja Peijnenburg. The Marine Time Machine project of Lisa Becking is in collaboration with Papua University, Bogor University, Indonesia Science and Innovation Agency (BRIN), and local NGOs in Indonesia. In the Netherlands there will be collaboration with Wageningen University & Research. 




The candidate must have a PhD degree in marine sciences with expertise in modelling, theoretical ecology, bioinformatics and a strong interest in coral reef ecology. The candidate should have experience with foodweb analyses. Knowledge of analysis of metabarcoding data or DOM analyses is a pre, but not required. 

The postdoc candidate will lead two manuscripts, more is possible based on currently available unpublished data. We are looking for someone who enjoys data analysis and likes to write. We expect the postdoc to join in the supervision of the PhDs in the group, with ample opportunities for co-authorships. Experience with supervising student projects is an advantage. Excellent knowledge of the English language (written and verbal) is required, as well as a scientific and critical attitude, outstanding time management and organisational skills, and the ability to work independently as well as collaboratively within the project consortium and the Naturalis research group. The candidate should have good communication skills. 

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 1 year, with the possibility of extension after review.

A contract (36 hours per week) for a period of one year, to be possibly extended with two years after a successful evaluation, and a monthly starting gross salary between € 3.468.-  and € 4.506.-, depending on relevant experience. You also get an allowance for travel expenses, holiday allowance (8%) and year-end bonus (3.4%). The starting date is in October - November 2024. Naturalis Biodiversity Center offers an inspiring working atmosphere with effective and efficient supervision of our PhD candidates and Postdocs candidates. Our Research Coordination Office also provides ample support to our scientific staff. Our institute promotes gender equality and wants to enhance the diversity of staff members. Feel free to contact with questions about the position. For procedural questions related to the application please contact HR:


Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden is the Dutch national research institute for biodiversity and systematics. With our collection of 42 million specimens, one of the world's largest natural history collections, and our state-of-the-art research facilities we offer the (inter)national research infrastructure for species, identification and monitoring (for example in the ARISE and DiSSCo projects). We closely collaborate with many Dutch universities, research institutes, industry, and government. We host over 120 researchers including 15 academia embedded professors and 40 PhD students. We present the history of our planet, and the diversity of life on Earth, through permanent and temporary museum exhibitions, educational programmes, and online presence, with more than 400,000 visitors per year. All in all, a unique combination of science and culture in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the world!

The research department is organised in 8 research groups comprising researchers and their postdocs and PhD-students. The current position will be in the research group Plankton Diversity & Evolution. Naturalis has a completely new lab building, including state-of-the-art molecular facilities, microCT scanners and electron microscopy (SEM and TEM).


  • Research, development, innovation; Postdoc; Education
  • Engineering; Natural sciences
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • €3468—€4506 per month
  • Doctorate
  • PA NATURALIS 20242504


Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR, Leiden

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