PhD in Anthropogenic carbon dioxide uptake and accumulation in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans: a blind spot in recent global monitoring

PhD in Anthropogenic carbon dioxide uptake and accumulation in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans: a blind spot in recent global monitoring

Published Deadline Location
24 Oct 2 Dec Den Burg

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The Department of Ocean System Research (OCS) is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate with a background in oceanography, environmental chemistry or Earth sciences to investigate how ocean chemistry is responding to human CO2 emissions and climate change (principal investigator dr. Matthew Humphreys).

Job description

In this project, you will learn to measure the carbonate chemistry of seawater using state-of-the-art equipment in the laboratory at NIOZ. You will apply these techniques to samples collected during a research cruise across the Indian Ocean, and subsequent expeditions to the Pacific and/or tropical Atlantic Oceans. These cruises will take place during your project, and you will have the opportunity to participate at sea. As part of the GEOTRACES programme (, your results will contribute towards international research into a variety of marine biogeochemical cycles, as well as forming the basis for your own studies. You will use your new measurements in combination with existing datasets to investigate the drivers and consequences of CO2 exchange between the sea and air, anthropogenic CO2 storage, and ocean acidification in these chronically under-sampled regions.


Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a Masters-level degree in a natural science such as – but not limited to – (environmental) chemistry, oceanography, geology or physics. Practical experience of laboratory work and scientific programming are desirable, and the willingness and aptitude to learn and develop these skills is essential. Participation in oceanographic research expedition(s) of several weeks’ duration will be an important component of this project.

Candidates should be capable of independently planning and organising their work, and should be interested in taking a leading role in directing the course of their own research within the overall framework of the project. Proficiency in spoken and written English is essential, as the candidate will present their results at international conferences, and write manuscripts to submit to peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Your position will be hosted by the Department of Ocean Systems (OCS) at the Royal NIOZ on the isle of Texel.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a position for 4 years with an excellent salary, a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus, and flexible work arrangements. You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.


NIOZ has holds researchers in the Department of Ocean System Research (OCS) study open-ocean processes from a variety of disciplines including physical and chemical oceanography, marine geology, palaeoceanography and deep-sea ecology. We investigate the past and present ocean in order to assess its future role in the Earth system. We collect data during oceanographic research cruises and conduct experiments both at sea and in the laboratory at our home base on Texel. The department carries out work in diverse environments all around the globe, from the Antarctic to the Arctic, and from the Caribbean to the North Sea.

The global ocean absorbs about a quarter of each year’s anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Once transferred out of the atmosphere this CO2 can no longer influence the climate. However, it shifts the balance of chemical equilibria in seawater, driving a decrease in pH known as ocean acidification, which may affect the viability of many marine organisms. Monitoring the contemporary oceanic CO2 sink, and understanding what drives the patterns of CO2 uptake through time and space, are therefore essential if we are to project the fate of ongoing CO2 emissions, their impacts on marine biogeochemistry and ecosystems, and the Earth’s future climate.

Systematic observations of the global marine CO2 system are spatially biased. In particular, there has been relatively little sampling in the Indian and South Pacific Oceans in the past two decades. This has led to large uncertainties in regional calculations of properties such as the anthropogenic CO2 inventory, air-sea CO2 fluxes, and the rate of pH decline. These properties are critical for balancing the global carbon budget and for identifying where and how chemical changes may interact with the marine biota. New measurements across these ocean basins are therefore of great importance and are likely to provide new insights into how human activities are transforming the Earth system. Comparisons with better-sampled regions such as the tropical North Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, which experience a similar climate to the Indian and South Pacific Ocean ‘blind spots’, may help to decipher the processes driving the observed chemical changes, and to project their biogeochemical and ecological consequences.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences; Economics
  • max. 40 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • AT 2019-82


Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)

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