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The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS, Belgium) is recruiting a scientific collaborator (M/F/X). The scientific collaborator will be engaged in the projects “Determining the conservation status of the Natura 2000 area Vlakte van de Raan” and “Determining the biologically most valuable zones within the Natura 2000 area Vlaamse Banken” (12/2019-06/2021) financed by the Federal Public Service Environment.

Context

The Belgian marine waters host a rich marine life. Because human activities are impacting this rich marine life, conservation and/or restoration actions are indispensable. Assessing the conservation status of the natural environment is first step towards conservation and restoration. In this respect, multiple studies were undertaken and we already have a good knowledge about the conservation status for the Habitats Directive area “Vlaamse Banken”. This knowledge does not exist for the recently expanded Habitats Directive area “Vlakte van de Raan”.

Once we have a good understanding of the conservation status, this knowledge allows us to identify the eventual need to take conservation and/or restoration measures. This exercise already led to the identification of the need for taking fisheries measures in the Habitats Directive area “Vlaamse Banken”; this to protect biologically valuable habitats and to restore seafloor integrity. To be able to select zones for taking fisheries measures in a scientifically sound manner, we first need to map the distribution of the biologically most valuable zones.

Tasks

The focus of the research will be:

  1. Vlakte van de Raan
    1. Compiling and integrating ecologically relevant data about the Vlakte van de Raan (in collaboration with ILVO)
    2. Describing the conservation status and a proposal for conservation objectives for the Vlakte van de Raan (in collaboration with ILVO)
    3. Listing threats to the natural values of the Vlakte van de Raan
  2. Fisheries measures
    1. Statistical modelling of the habitat suitability of macrobenthic communities in the Belgian part of the North Sea (BPNS)
    2. Integrating the ecological data about different ecosystem components into an updated Biological Valuation Map of the BPNS (http://www.vliz.be/projects/bwzee/)
    3. Contributing to the proposal of fisheries measured for the BPNS (in collaboration with ILVO)
    4. Contributing to the assessment of the sensitivity of benthic habitats to bottom fisheries (in collaboration with ILVO)

Diploma

  • Master in Sciences or Bio-engineering or equivalent

Technical competence

  • Profound expertise and qualities in applying statistical analyses (R)
  • Profound expertise and qualities in data management
  • Knowledge on (marine) conservation is an asset

We offer

  • A full-time SW1 position at RBINS (01/05/2020-30/06/2021)
  • A dynamic, challenging, varied and stimulating research environment
  • Free public commuting and/or bike fee

Duration and working place

  • 1 April 2020 (preferred) till 30 June 2021
  • RBINS Brussels (Vautierstraat 29, 1000 Brussels) with regular visits to ILVO (Oostende)

How to apply

  • If interested, please send your motivation letter, CV and a copy of the Master’s Degree diploma, with reference “Natura 2000” the latest by 15/03/2020 to Yolande Maes (ymaes@naturalsciences.be).
  • Interviews with pre-selected candidates will take place on 20/03/2020.
  • Only applications that meet the profile and that are received in time will be taken into consideration.

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