Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)222 369 566
Senior Scientist
  • Physics
  • Oceanography
  • Hydrodynamics, sediment transport, morphodynamics
  • Biogeochemistry and planktonic ecosystem dynamics
  • Numerical Modelling

Dr. Johan van der Molen

Senior Scientist


Developing models to understand and simulate human influence on the marine ecosystem


Research interests

I started at NIOZ as Senior Scientist in Coastal and Biophysical Oceanography in September 2017 after working at Cefas, a governmental research laboratory in Lowestoft, UK for 13 years. At Cefas, I created hydrodynamical model setups for GETM, restructured and extended the particle tracking model for GETM, developed a suspended sediment model for the coupled physical-biogeochemical model GETM-ERSEM, and contributed to the development of ERSEM. I applied these models to address scientific and managerial questions. I also gave scientific guidance to a team of numerical modellers. Before that, I worked as a post-doc at IMAU, Utrecht University on sediment transport and morphodynamics, and as visiting research fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University on wave-induced sediment resuspension.

My research interests are in modelling physical and biological material transport, biogeochemistry and ecosystem dynamics in shelf seas, in response to natural and anthropogenic influences.



2011-2017: Principal Ecosystem Modeller (Cefas). Scientific project development and coordination, model development and application

2008–2011: Senior Ecosystem Modeller (Cefas). Managing Cefas parallel computing cluster, model development and application

2004–2008: Modeller/Oceanographer (Cefas). Development and application of hydrodynamics, sediment transport, Individual Behaviour, and ecosystem models

2003–2004: Research Fellow (Manchester Metropolitan University, The Leverhulme Trust). Development of a morphodynamical model of cross-shore coastal profile evolution

2003–2001: Postdoc (Insitutute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, The Netherlands). Modelling basin-scale morphodynamics of the North Sea

1996–2001: Postdoc (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, based at IMAU, Utrecht University, The Netherlands). Modelling Holocene hydro-dynamics and sand transport in the North Sea, and relating to the evolution of the Dutch and Belgian coasts



Predicting the consequences of nutrient reduction on the eutrophication status of the North Sea HJ Lenhart, DK Mills, H Baretta-Bekker, SM Van Leeuwen, J der Molen, ... Journal of Marine Systems 81 (1), 148-170.

The influence of tides, wind and waves on the net sand transport in the North Sea J Van der Molen Continental Shelf Research 22 (18), 2739-2762.

Holocene tidal conditions and tide-induced sand transport in the southern North Sea J Van der Molen, HE De Swart Journal of Geophysical Research, Oceans 106, 9339-9362.

Dispersal patterns of the eggs and larvae of spring-spawning fish in the Irish Sea, UK J van der Molen, SI Rogers, JR Ellis, CJ Fox, P McCloghrie Journal of Sea Research 58 (4), 313-330.

Modelling marine ecosystem response to climate change and trawling in the North Sea J van der Molen, JN Aldridge, C Coughlan, ER Parker, D Stephens, ... Biogeochemistry 113 (1-3), 213-236.

Please find my list of publications at the bottom of this webpage or on Google Scholar


Professional education

1992-1995: Ph.D., Earth Sciences, 04/1997. Thesis: Tides in a salt-marsh. Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

1986-1991: M.Sc, Applied Physics. Thesis: Automatische optimalisatie van de veldhomogeniteit van een NMR spectrometer. Delft University of Tecnology, Delft, The Netherlands

1980-1986: VWO, Han Fortmann College, Heerhugowaard


Awards and prizes

2016: CASE partner, NERC CASE PhD studentship, Increasing understanding of changes in dissolved oxygen concentrations in UK waters (Lead insitute: Plymouth Marine Laboratory)

2014: CASE partner, NERC CASE PhD studentship. Shelf-sea variability: using annually resolved records and bioegeochemical models to identify 'good environmental status' (Lead institute: University of Exeter)

2014: Cefas Principal Investigator, NERC Marine Ecosystems Research Programme, Module 6, Biogeochemical modelling

2013: Cefas Principal Investigator, NERC Shelf Seas Biogeochemistry Programme, Work Package 4: Integrative Modelling for Shelf Seas Biogeochemistry

2003: Visiting Researcher Fellowship grant, The Leverhulme Trust, Dalton Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

2001: Large-scale morphodynamics of shelf seas, NWO, 93 kEuro, IMAU, Utrecht



2015-2017: Member of the Executive Committee of the National Partnership for Ocean Prediction

From 2014: Deputy President, Ocean Science Division, European Geosciences Union

From 2009: Secretary for Coastal and Shelf Seas, Ocean Science Division, European Geosciences Union

From 2008: Convener Open Session on Coastal and Shelf Seas, EGU annual assemblies

From 2006: Member organising group OSPAR International Correspondence Group for Ecosystem Modelling (ICG-EMO)


Linked news

Wednesday 20 May 2020
Four NWO grants boost NIOZ North Sea and fishery research
The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded grants to NIOZ scientists Johan van der Molen and Karline Soetaert for research into the effects of future offshore wind farms on marine life, sediment, and underwater sand waves in the North Sea. The…

NIOZ publications

Linked projects

VBK_Pilot Study Shellfish Aquaculture
Katja Philippart
Project duration
1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2019