Doctoral student, Estuarine ecology and biogeomorphology University of Antwerp, Department of Biology Belgium

Doctoral student, Estuarine ecology and biogeomorphology


The Faculty of Science is seeking to fill a full-time (100%) vacancy in the Department of Biology for a doctoral student in the area of estuarine ecology and biogeomorphology


PhD grant Role of intertidal areas in the suspended matter behaviour in the Schelde estuary



The Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE) is one of the research groups of the University of Antwerpen. The research of ECOBE is focused on fundamental and applied ecological research of aquatic ecosystems, wetlands and the processes in the land-water interaction along the whole river continuum and the river-coastal sea interaction. The studied systems vary from small streams with riparian margins over larger rivers and floodplains to estuaries. These studies, both descriptive and experimental in nature, are integrated to predict the impact of different management options on the functioning and the biodiversity of the system.


For more than 20 years, special attention is paid to the study of the Schelde estuary and the scientific support of the necessary management actions to meet both human use as the ecological functioning of the system. An estuary is a very complex system with strong interactions between hydrodynamics, morphodynamics, biochemistry and ecology. Especially these interactions are the core research topics of ECOBE.


Over the last years an increase in suspended matter (SPM) concentration in the Schelde estuary is observed. This increase in SPM is decreasing the light availability in the water column, thus threatening the algal primary production and hence influencing the entire food chain.


Deposition of SPM in gullies, on tidal flats and tidal marshes on the one hand, and erosion or resuspension on the other hand, will decrease or increase the SPM concentration in the water column. A lot of research has been done on sedimentation and erosion patterns. However, the link between these patterns and the SPM concentration in the water column is poorly understood.


Aim of this PhD is to investigate the role of sedimentation and erosion on suspended matter concentrations in the water column. This study will focus on the entire Schelde estuary (both Westerschelde and Zeeschelde). It will require regular field work, such as tidal campaigns to monitor simultaneously SPM deposition on intertidal areas and SPM changes in the water column, combined with data analysis, GIS analyses and modelling.


Job description

  • You contribute to research in the Ecosystem Management Research Group (ECOBE).

  • You prepare a PhD dissertation in the field of ecosystem management with a focus on

    SPM behavior.

  • You will be involved in the research project OMES (Research environmental impact of the Sigma Plan) and other ongoing research in the Scheldt Estuary.

  • You will cooperate with scientists of ECOBE within the frame of other doctoral and externally funded projects to form an integrated research strategy. In addition, you will work together with other 'Schelde researchers', of both Flanders and the Netherlands, and maintain close contacts with the managers of the Schelde estuary.


Profile and requirements

  • You preferably have a Master in (Bio)-Engineering, Master in Geography, Geology or Master in Biology. Masters in other scientific disciplines with a strong affinity for this topic are also eligible.

  • You have knowledge of statistics and programming.

  • You have a basic knowledge of hydrodynamic processes. Knowledge of estuaries and/or sediment transport processes and/or biogeochemical processes is a plus.

  • You are willing to participate in fieldwork campaigns (both planning and work in the field).

  • A (basic) knowledge of GIS (ArcGIS , QGIQ , ENVI ... ) is a plus.

  • You are communicative and enterprising. It is a multidisciplinary research that requires gathering of information and knowledge from various disciplines and policy areas.


We offer

  • The contract can start immediately. The effective start date will be determined in consultation with the selected candidate.

  • A gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.373,36 - € 2.516,73.

  • A fascinating and versatile research and PhD project in a dynamic research group.

  • A contract for a period of one year. When funding is available, this contract is renewable after a positive evaluation for a maximum duration of 4 years.

  • Additional training and education possibilities.

  • Regular participation in international conferences.


How to apply?

  • Applications may only be submitted online, until the closing date 25th of March 2019.

  • Define briefly (max. 250 words) your motivation and relevant knowledge.

  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications. The remainder of the selection procedure is specific to the position and will be determined by the selection panel.

  • More information about the application form can be obtained from

  • For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. dr. P. Meire (03 265 22 64) ( or Ir. Tom Maris (03 265 22 63) (

The University of Antwerp is a family friendly organization, with a focus on equal opportunities and diversity. Our HR-policy for researchers was awarded by the European Commission with the quality label HR Excellence in research.


We support the Science4Refugees initiative and encourage asylum-seeking, refugee scientists and researchers to apply for a job at the University of Antwerp.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


All Jobs


zhejiang uni china

nottingham university


uni anu

uni birm

uni cop

uni gen

uni gothenburg

uni kuw

uni laus

uni laval

uni melb

uni nus

Uni Simon Fraser