Associate Professor Biological Feedbacks in the Marine Carbon Cycle

Associate Professor Biological Feedbacks in the Marine Carbon Cycle

Published Deadline Location
6 Dec 3 Feb Amsterdam

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Job description

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam is opening up several new positions to collaboratively further strengthen the research within the institute.

The research is carried out as a collaboration between the four research departments at IBED:

  1. Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics (ELD)
  2. Evolutionary and Population Biology (EPB)
  3. Freshwater and Marine Ecology (FAME)
  4. Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE)

For one of the positions, embedded in the FAME department, we are looking for a new

Associate Professor in Biological Feedbacks in the Marine Carbon Cycle (0.8 – 1.0 FTE) focusing on developing mathematical or computational models at the interface of marine biology, biogeochemistry and the global carbon cycle, and with a keen interest to investigate biological feedbacks in the global carbon cycle.

We wish to appoint a promising candidate developing mathematical or computational models at the interface of marine biology, biogeochemistry and the global carbon cycle, and with a keen interest to investigate biological feedbacks in the global carbon cycle. 

If this matches with your scientific profile and if you are interested in working in an inter-disciplinary institute focused on biology, earth sciences, ecology, physical geography and environmental chemistry that has well-equipped lab and computational facilities, then we would welcome your application!

Profile Associate Professor Biological Feedbacks in the Marine Carbon Cycle

An improved understanding of the global carbon cycle, including its feedback mechanisms and potential controls, is one of the major scientific challenges of the 21st century. Marine organisms play a key role in the global carbon cycle. Large quantities of CO2 are fixed by marine phytoplankton, seagrass beds and kelp forests; marine bacteria and sponges process massive amount of organic carbon; large amounts of calcium carbonate are produced by calcifying algae, molluscs and corals. Many of these biological processes are strongly affected by environmental change. Ocean acidification suppresses calcifying organisms; rising temperatures alter phytoplankton photosynthesis and accelerate microbial growth; seagrass beds and kelp forests are threatened by marine pollution and coastal development. Yet, quantitative understanding of the biological feedbacks in the marine carbon cycle is still in its infancy.

Introduction to the Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology

The research will be embedded in the Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology.

However, it is anticipated that the successful candidate would have the potential to develop linkages to other departments within IBED and elsewhere in the university.

Research in the Department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology (FAME) aims to unravel how aquatic ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. The focus lies on the interactions between aquatic organisms and their abiotic environment, including the roles of different organisms in primary production, biogeochemical cycles and water quality, and the temporal and spatial dynamics that emerge from these interactions.

Research in our department spans five research field:

  1. Aquatic environmental chemistry & ecotoxicology
  2. Benthic ecology
  3. Microbial ecology
  4. Plankton ecology & evolution
  5. Coral reef ecology

Our approach includes detailed molecular studies, advanced laboratory experiments, dedicated field studies, and the development of new mathematical models. We have extensive analytical facilities for chemical analyses, culture facilities for bacteria, phytoplankton and aquatic invertebrates, and a fully equiped research vessel for lake research. Furthermore, we frequently join oceanographic cruises through the Dutch National Marine Facilities and have a long-standing collaboration with the Caribbean research institute CARMABI for coral reef research. The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming.

With an improved scientific understanding, we aim to support the sustainable management of freshwater and marine ecosystems at local and global scales.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


Research profile (~50% of the time)

We are looking for a scientist at the level of Associate Professor (senior scientist) that is capable to develop this research field. Assistant Professors (or similar level) that are ready to make the next step in their career are also invited. The Associate Professor position is a tenured position following a standard probation period.

The candidate is expected to develop their own research line and to contribute to collaborative research within the institute and with (inter)national partners. The ideal candidate works on models that can connect one or more of the current research fields in the department (e.g., microbial ecology, plankton ecology, coral reef ecology) to the global carbon cycle. Examples of potential lines of research of the successful candidate include dynamics of dissolved organic carbon, global models of marine primary production and community structure, feedbacks in the biological carbon pump, impacts of ocean acidification on marine calcifiers, and so on. We highly appreciate data-driven model approaches, and also welcome candidates that would like to combine models with global data analysis or remote sensing of marine ecosystems. Research that can link carbon dynamics across the freshwater-marine continuum would also fit excellently within the department.

Within IBED, close collaboration within and between departments is encouraged. For example, the Department of Theoretical and Computational Ecology (TCE) holds extensive expertise in modelling and computational research, and will open new positions on climate change and land use impacts. The Department of Ecosystem and Landscape Dynamics (ELD) is looking to hire an Assistant Professor ‘Carbon cycle dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems’, which may create interesting opportunities for collaboration.

Key research responsibilities include:

  • Conduct and develop high-quality research within the area of academic specialisation resulting in publications in leading academic journals.
  • Supervise research of PhD candidates and postdocs.
  • Acquire funding through national and international research grants, governmental or private sectors.
  • Collaborate with colleagues in the department of Freshwater and Marine Ecology and in other departments of IBED (e.g. on links between aquatic and terrestrial carbon dynamics, computational techniques, eco-evolutionary dynamics)
  • Engage in and foster collaboration within the UvA, elsewhere in the Netherlands, and abroad, to build a broader national and international network.
  • Contribute to scientific outreach through diverse media channels, public events or engagement with stakeholders outside academia.
  • Contribute to organisational tasks at the university and/or the national level (e.g. research and educational committees).


On average, IBED staff contribute ~40% of their time to education, including lecturing and supervising of BSc and MSc students in one or more of the core programs we are involved in: BSc Future Planet studies, BSc Biological Sciences, MSc Earth Sciences, MSc Biological Sciences.  We are searching for educational expertise in climate change, aquatic biogeochemistry and/or ecosystem models. Examples of courses to contribute to include: Dynamische systemen in de Biologie, Toekomstperspectief voor de Aarde, Biological Oceanography and Digital Earth. There will also be the opportunity to develop new courses in the field of aquatic biogeochemistry and/or earth system models.

Staff members are also expected to contribute approximately 10% of the time to organisational tasks at the institute or faculty level, such as contributing to the organization of the research management or in educational programs (e.g. serve as committee member or in examination boards).


  • PhD in a relevant research field (e.g., oceanography, biogeochemistry, marine biology, climate change research)
  • Excellent modeling skills, with extensive experience with biogeochemical models, ecosystem models and/or earth system models
  • Proven knowledge of biological processes in the global carbon cycle
  • Experienced team player, with interest in collaborative (inter-disciplinary) research across the fields of marine biology, biogeochemistry and computational modeling
  • Demonstrated capacity to lead academic research, as shown through peer-reviewed publications
  • Proven ability to acquire research funding
  • Experience in teaching, preferably in the field of marine biogeochemistry and/or ocean-climate models
  • Experience supervising MSc students, PhD students and postdocs
  • Fluency in English and in Dutch; or ability to learn Dutch to a level appropriate for communication within the institute and education program.


  • Extensive network in marine biology, biogeochemistry and/or ocean climate sciences
  • Experience with public outreach and societal engagement
  • Scientific creativity and innovative analysis, i.e., the extra spark that is needed to work at the forefront of scientific research

Conditions of employment

A temporary contract for 30-38 hours a week, preferably starting early in 2023 for the duration of 18 months. The position will be permanent, subject to a positive evaluation of your performance during this initial 18-month temporary appointment.

The position will be at the Associate Professor (Universitair Hoofddocent) level.

Your salary, depending on your relevant experience on commencement of the employment contract, ranges between €5.506 to €6.702 gross per month on the basis of a full working week of 38 hours. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8.3% year-end allowance. The Collective Labour Agreement of Universities of the Netherlands is applicable.

Career perspectives & support

IBED offers opportunities for further career development, from Assistant to Associate Professor and from Associate Professor to Full Professor. The position is accompanied by a start-up package that includes financial support for research facilities and the appointment of a PhD student or postdoc


Faculty of Science

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 8,000, as well as 1,800 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Together, we create a vibrant, challenging and well-equipped research environment at Amsterdam Science Park. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the systems underlying biological processes. 

The Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics is one of eight research institutes of the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam. The research at IBED aims to unravel how ecosystems function in all their complexity, and how they change due to natural processes and human activities. At its core lies an integrated systems approach to study biodiversity, ecosystems and the environment. IBED adopts this systems approach to ecosystems, addressing abiotic and biotic factors, and the interplay between those. The IBED vision includes research encompassing experimental and theoretical approaches at a wide variety of temporal and spatial scales, i.e. from molecules and microorganisms to patterns and processes occurring at the global scale. The University of Amsterdam has excellent high performance computing facilities. Furthermore, IBED has a dedicated computational support team with specialized knowledge of bioinformatics, (geo)database management and scientific programming. IBED also works with non-academic partners to deliver transdisciplinary science for society.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


  • Assistant professor
  • Natural sciences
  • 30—38 hours per week
  • €5506—€6702 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 10915


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX, Amsterdam

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