PhD Student for the MEIODYSSEA project

PhD Student for the MEIODYSSEA project

Published Deadline Location
23 Feb 15 Mar Leiden

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Naturalis is looking for a PhD student on functional and taxonomic diversity of meiofauna in shallow marine communities.

Job description

This project investigates the relationship between taxonomic and functional diversity in diverse meiofaunal communities across the shallow marine ecosystems of the Pacific, with a focus on areas in Indonesia, Japan, and New Caledonia. The aim of the project is to determine whether functional redundancy increases with taxonomic diversity and how these aspects of meiofaunal communities change across both small-scale (shallow to deep water) and large-scale (subtropical to tropical) environmental gradients. The project will broaden the understanding of marine meiofauna diversity and the resilience of marine communities in the face of environmental changes.

This project includes extended fieldwork in Japan, Indonesia, and New Caledonia. The successful candidate will be an integral part of the Meiodyssea consortium, with strong collaborative links with partner institutes IFREMER in France, Senckenberg in Germany, and JAMSTEC in Japan.

The successful candidate will use a combination of morphological methods (including measurements and micro-CT scanning) and molecular techniques (such as DNA (meta)barcoding, transcriptome, and genome sequencing) to identify meiofaunal species and understand their functional profiles. Communities will be examined to determine if and how their taxonomic and functional composition and redundancy shift in response to environmental gradients.

The PhD candidate will become a member of the Marine Biodiversity group at Naturalis, and will be supervised by Prof. Dr. Willem Renema and Dr. Jan-N. Macher. The candidate will receive the PhD degree at the University of Amsterdam. 




The candidate must have an MSc degree in Biology with a strong interest in marine biodiversity. Preferably, the candidate has experience in basic molecular methods, such as DNA (meta)barcoding and community ecology, and an affinity with taxonomic work. Excellent knowledge of the English language (written and verbal) is essential, 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 Marine Biodiversity. The candidate should have good communication skills and be enthusiastic to contribute to knowledge dissemination and outreach activities within the project.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

A contract (36 hours per week) for a period of one year, to be extended with three more years after a successful first year evaluation, and a monthly starting salary of € 3,187.- gross. Additionally, the PhD candidate gets an allowance for travel expenses, holiday allowance (8%) and year-end bonus (3.4%). The starting date is preferably May 2024. The successful candidate will be employed by Naturalis in Leiden. Naturalis Biodiversity Center offers an inspiring working atmosphere with effective and efficient supervision of our PhD 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.


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!


Marine Biodiversity

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 Marine Biodiversity. Naturalis has a completely new lab building, including state-of-the-art molecular facilities, microCT scanners and electron microscopy (SEM and TEM).


  • PhD; Research, development, innovation
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 36 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • AT NAT 20240223


Darwinweg 2, 2333 CR, Leiden

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