About the VeWA consortium:

Goethe University Frankfurt and the Senckenberg Society for Nature Research invite applications for twelve research positions within the LOEWE consortium project VeWA (Past Warm Periods as Natural Analogues of our future 'high CO2' Climate); this includes eight PhD and four post-doctoral positions.

Via the LOEWE excellence initiative, the State of Hessen funds internationally visible research consortia with the aim of establishing thematic priorities.

What does VeWA focus on? We are investigating what conditions on Earth might be like under atmospheric CO2 concentrations more than double relative to pre-industrial times. The Paleogene (>35 million years ago) was the most recent geological period with similar atmospheric CO2 as predicted for the end of the 21st century. In VeWA, scientists from geology, geography, biology and climate modelling join forces to quantitatively investigate and model palaeoclimate and palaeoenvironment of the Eocene and late Cretaceous Periods. In 12 subprojects we will study marine and terrestrial proxy archives (e.g. calcifying organisms and sediments), including those of the Hessen World Heritage Site Messel, and compare these results to new state of the art climate model simulations. Our results will be shared through a public outreach initiative, including an exhibition at the Senckenberg Museum.

VeWA includes 12 positions focusing on the following subprojects and institutions:

Subproject Short title Lead institution

A Marine
palaeoclimate &

A1 Sea surface temperatures (SST) to determine the polar amplification under contrasting CO2-conditions GU, PhD
A2 Long-term variability of ocean chemistry: 'Deep-Time' temperatures and carbon cycle GU, PhD
A3 Chemical weathering as a sink for atmospheric CO2 GU, PhD
A4 Diversity and abundance of calcifying phytoplankton under different CO2 concentrations GU, PhD
A5 Development of a new paleo-pH/CO2-proxy and its application to the Late Cretaceous and Palaeogene GU, PhD
A6 Seasonal and multi-year variations of atmospheric circulation patterns GU, PhD

B Terrestrial
palaeoclimate &

B1 Seasonally resolved, continental temperature and precipitation changes SGN,
B2 Evolution of continental palaeoclimate and biodiversity SGN, PhD
B3 Reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 using triple oxygen isotope analysis of fossil mammalian teeth SGN/JGU/GU,

C Climate
modelling &
Public outreach

C1 Processes of latitude-dependent temperature variability in a hyperthermal world GU Postdoc
C2 Vegetation dynamics during the Palaeogene and Late Cretaceous: climate feedbacks and mammal habitats SGN Postdoc
C3 Public outreach initiative SGN Postdoc

More details can be found at www.vewa-project.de

About this position:

The Institute of Geosciences at Goethe University Frankfurt invites applications for a fixed-term position - available on 1st May 2020 or soon thereafter - for a

Postdoc in Terrestrial Palaeoclimate (VeWA Project B3) (m/w/d)
(E13 TV-G-U, 75% part-time)

(36 months tenure)

The salary follows the Goethe University pay structure (TV-G-U).

The successful candidate will be part of the LOEWE consortium VeWA (subproject B3) and participate in the career programs at Goethe University Frankfurt. In close collaboration between Goethe University, Senckenberg Society for Nature Research and the Universities in Mainz and Göttingen, subproject B3 will reconstruct atmospheric CO2 concentrations and air temperatures during the Paleocene /Eocene. For this purpose triple oxygen isotope analysis of tooth enamel of fossil mammals will be used as a terrestrial palaeoclimate archive. The Δ17O anomaly of oxygen inhaled from the air, which is partially recorded in bioapatite, will be used as pCO2 proxy whereas the drinking water-related δ18O value is used as a temperature proxy. Using empirical transfer functions, pCO2 and air temperature will be reconstructed by analysis of mammal fossils from Paleogene fossil sites such as Messel, Bighorn Basin, Hampshire Basin. This research will largely be conducted at the Geoscience Institutes of the Universities in Mainz and Göttingen.

Assistance with academic teaching, e.g. in student field courses, and contributions to the public outreach initiative of VeWA are part of our overall goals and are hence expected from all VeWA members.


Candidates with a PhD degree in geosciences (preferred), environmental sciences, or chemistry are invited to apply. We seek a highly motivated student with excellent communication skills, both written and oral, in English. Practical experience with stable isotope analysis and gas source mass spectrometry is essential. Interest in palaeontology and the biology of mammals is desired. Willingness and skills for intensive laboratory work is required. In addition, general analytical (problem) solving skills a willingness to occasionally work flexible hours, independence and organizational skills are expected.

Key to the success of VeWA will be cooperation and interaction amongst the VeWA researchers, co-PIs and PIs, as well as VeWA partners, such that teamwork and interpersonal skills are very highly desirable. Goethe University and Senckenberg support the participation in graduate programs at GRADE (Goethe Research Academy for Early Career Researchers) and YoungScientists@SGN. As a team member of VeWA, we offer excellent working conditions, an international multi-disciplinary working environment and state-of-the art research infrastructure.

Goethe University is committed to equal rights and therefore we particularly encourage applications from female candidates and those from under-represented backgrounds. Equally qualified people with disabilities will be given priority.

Applications including a motivation letter, detailed CV, detailed description of research experience and interests (2 p.), names and addresses of three scientific referees, should be sent as a single PDF document by e-mail to vewa@em.uni-frankfurt.de to Prof. Wolfgang Müller, Institute of Geosciences, J.W. Goethe University, Altenhöferallee 1, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany, by 16th March 2020.

For scientific enquiries please contact Prof. Thomas Tütken (tuetken@uni-mainz.de) or Dr. Thomas Lehmann (thomas.lehmann@senckenberg.de) or Prof. Wolfgang Müller (w.muller@em.uni-frankfurt.de).

posted: 14 February 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.