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 research group 'Bentho-Pelagic Processes' in Bremerhaven invites applications for a

PhD student
with the focus on Bentho-pelagic fluxes on continental
shelves determined by eddy covariance measurements

Background and Tasks:

Bentho-pelagic fluxes of oxygen, carbon, and nutrients are essential parameters to investigate the response of the benthic habitats in a changing environment, and understand their role in global biogeochemical cycles. On continental shelves, the increased bentho-pelagic exchange of matter shapes many unique habitats and sustains a rich benthic fauna. However, these regions are most prone to global warming and anthropogenic pollution, and thus undergo rapid change.

Our group explores regions in the Antarctic that differ in the degree of global warming and represent sites with contrasting environmental conditions. To quantify benthic fluxes in the field, we develop and establish the eddy covariance technique. With the new approach, fluxes are measured continuously in the turbulent boundary layer above the seafloor, which allows correlating the benthic activity to environmental conditions, such as hydrodynamics, nutrients, and particle concentrations.

As part of this position, eddy covariance measurements will be conducted on a cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula to characterize benthic activity under recently collapsed ice shelves. Further, shore based studies will be conducted to investigate the change of coastal habitats and related biogeochemical fluxes. Eddy covariance is a developing technique so that method improvements can be part of the work as well as numerical modeling of turbulent transport.


We are looking for a motivated candidate with the following qualifications:

  • Academic pre-requisites to be accepted as PhD student at the University of Bremen*, such as a MSc in a relevant marine science discipline (marine geoscience, marine biology, environmental science)
  • Literacy in scientific writing
  • A demonstrated understanding of boundary layer processes with the numerical skills to calculate fluxes. Experience in scientific programming with Matlab or equivalent software is advantageous.
  • A healthy disposition to carry out research at remote locations involving the operation of heavy equipment.

For more information, please contact Dr. Moritz Holtappels (E-Mail:

The position is limited to 3 years. 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 on Bremerhaven.

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 (cover letter with motivation, CV, degree certificates, abstract of the Master thesis, names and addresses of two referees) by March 15th, 2018 referencing code 26/G/Bio 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: 06 February 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.