The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

The department of Geoscience, sections Marine Geochemistry and Periglacial Research, located in Bremerhaven and Potsdam, invites applications for the position as

PhD student

to work on: "Characteristics and seasonality of particulate and dissolved organic matter discharged by two large Siberian rivers draining permafrost areas."

Background and tasks:

This PhD project is part of the international research project "Changing Arctic Carbon cycle in the cOastal Ocean Near-shore (CACOON)", which aims to quantify the effect of changing freshwater export and terrestrial permafrost thaw on the type and fate of river-borne organic matter delivered to arctic coastal waters. In CACOON, we focus on the Lena and Kolyma river deltas and their surrounding shelf areas in Siberia. The research project is jointly funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in the framework of the "Changing Arctic Ocean" initiative.

You will address the key question of 'How does permafrost thaw influence coastal biogeochemistry and permafrost-carbon feedbacks in fluvial-deltaic systems?'. You will take part in spring and summer field work in the Siberian Arctic and will seek to decipher the molecular composition and changes of the particulate and dissolved terrestrial organic carbon over seasons and geographic gradients. Through laboratory analyses (e.g. GC-MS, GC-irm-MS, HPLC-MS, FT-ICR-MS, EA-IRMS, AMS, ICP-OES), molecular, hydrochemical, sedimentological and isotopic characterisations of samples from the water column and the terrestrial and shelf endmember sediments will be generated.

You will have access to the cutting-edge laboratory facilities of the AWI in Bremerhaven and Potsdam, Germany, for this thesis project. The PhD thesis is expected to be a cumulative thesis of peer-reviewed manuscripts. You will participate in meetings and other activities of the international project group.


  • Master of Science (Diploma) degree in the field of (marine or terrestrial) geosciences, geochemistry or related disciplines
  • Ability and willingness to participate in multi-week long expeditions into the Arctic
  • Ability and willingness to work in a team and with international groups, excellent communication skills and outstanding knowledge of English
  • Interest in independent research, the presentation and publication of scientific data at conferences and workshops

Beneficial qualifications:

  • first publication and presentation experiences
  • prior experience in analytical methods is an advantage(e.g. lipid biomarker analysis, hydrochemical methods, GC-MS, 14C dating)
  • Russian language skills are an advantage

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Jens Strauss (, phone: +49(331)288-2185) and Prof. Dr. Gesine Mollenhauer (, phone: +49(471)4831-2456).

The position is limited to 3 years and advertised subject to availability of funding. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Bremerhaven for the first project phase (1.5 years) and Potsdam for the second project phase (1.5 years).

We offer you a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure.

Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate "Career and Family". As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research 'POLMAR' ( or another graduate school.

Please forward your applications with the standard documentation (a detailed curriculum vitae including previous publications and conference papers, as well as a resume, which sets out your scientific motivation, previous analytical experiences and future scientific interests, contact details for two referees) by May 10th, 2018 referencing code 61/D/Geo to: Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Personalabteilung (human resources), Postfach 12 01 61, 27515 Bremerhaven/Germany or by e-mail (all documents merged into one PDF file) to:

posted: 18 April 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.