ESR13 - Spatio-temporal fish migration in an anthropogenically impacted river system

Host Institution: UGENT - Ghent University

Location: Ghent (Belgium)

Doctoral degree: PhD in Biosciences Engineering at the Ghent University, Department of Animal Sciences and Aquatic Ecology (Belgium).

The Doctoral progamme has a duration of 4 years (3 years funded by RIBES project, 1 year by the Ghent University)

Job description: The project aims to generate knowledge for conservation of catadromous fish. The main objectives are: (1) to reveal most important threats for fish and opportunities for restoration; (2) to identify major migration routes and to quantify the efficiency of different migration barriers. The activities will include: research on literature dealing with fish movement, migration and habitat use; familiarization with and application of existing tools and methods to analyze fish habitat use and movement/migration behavior; analysis and interpretation of telemetry data in relation to river habitat rehabilitation measures; formulate and communicate advise for river managers based on your research results; writing of scientific articles in international journals, that serve as a basis to obtain the degree of PhD in Bioscience Engineering; give presentations (platform and posters) at international conferences

Workplace: The PhD is a close collaboration between the Aquatic Ecology research team of Ghent university which is situated at the Bioscience engineering faculty in Ghent and the Aquatic Management research team of INBO in Brussels. The PhD candidate will have the chance to work in and at both teams/sites for office work. The field work is performed with assistance of both teams, most likely focusing on rivers in Flanders (Belgium). Flexibility regarding travelling to the field sites is desired.

Secondment period (to be confirmed): Expected duration: 8 months; Hosting institutions: VLAGEW (Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) - Brussels, Belgium), SOTON (University of Southampton - Southampton, UK)

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Candidate requirements:


  • Master in Sciences (spec. Biology/Ecology) or MSc in Biology
  • Master in Environmental Engineering / Bioscience Engineering or comparable MSc.Degree
  • Applications from candidates not yet graduated by the call deadline (with Diploma foreseen at the latest by the end of July 2020) are accepted

Specific mandatory skills:  

  • Knowledge on aquatic ecology
  • Experience in basic programming related to data analysis (R software) 
  • Experience in fieldwork techniques or highly motivated to learn this 

Specific desirable skills: 

  • Experience in basic programming related to GIS applications
  • Knowledge in fish biology, specifically animal behavior and habitat use and experience with fishing and/or terrestrial or aquatic telemetry 

Specific requirements of the Doctoral School:

A B2 or IELTS of minimum 6.5 level (and for all aspects minimum 6.5) of English is needed

Mobility rule:

Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Belgium for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

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Contact person(s): 

Peter Goethals

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Work package