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.

PostDoc (m/f/d) Organic carbon mineralization in coastal sandy sediments


The research section 'Bentho-Pelagic Processes' in Bremerhaven, Germany, is offering a Postdoctoral position (m/f/d) with focus on organic carbon mineralization in coastal sandy sediments, starting 01.01.2020 or as soon as possible thereafter. You will participate in a project of the Marum Cluster of Excellence "The Ocean Floor - Earth's Uncharted Interface"

The research project investigates the role of coastal sandy sediments in the transformation and mineralization of organic carbon. The aim is to analyze the various pathways of organic matter and to determine the particulate and dissolved fractions that are retained and degraded in sands in order to assess the filtration capacity of sandy seabeds and their potential to buffer the anthropogenic matter input to coastal seas. By combining the fields of sediment dynamics, biogeochemistry and microbiology, the research project aims to understand how sediment properties, hydro- and morphodynamics, and microbial activity determine the transport pathways and the mineralization rates of particulate and dissolved organic matter in coastal sands.

Within the Marum Cluster of Excellence, you will join the project of the Research Unit "Receiver" Theme 2: "The role of continental shelves in nutrient cycling and organic matter transformation". The project is embedded in a multidisciplinary network of cooperation partners from several institutes in Northern Germany. It is planned to approach the research topic by combining ship based field measurements (e.g. with automated benthic observatories), experimental work (e.g. with flow through reactors), organic carbon analytics, and mathematical modeling.


  • Planning and conducting field measurements to determine POC/DOC distribution and oxygen uptake rates in sands and bottom waters
  • Designing and implementing experiments to determine the POC retention in sands of various grain size distribution
  • Designing and implementing experiments to determine the uptake/release of DOC from sands
  • Analyzing organic matter composition and lability
  • Developing a conceptual model for organic matter fluxes between sands and bottom water
  • Merging and analyzing the retrieved data, publishing of results


  • PhD in geoscience, bioscience, environmental sciences or related disciplines
  • Expertise in benthic mineralization processes and carbon cycling
  • Expertise in reaction rate and flux measurements
  • Knowledge in organic carbon analysis
  • Experience in data analysis and programming using e.g. matlab and/or R
  • High interest in self-contained research, presentation and publication of scientific data
  • Very good English language skills, written and spoken
  • Good computer software skills (MS-Office-products)
  • Interest and capacity for teamwork, international, inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration as well as the capability to support and supervise PhD-students, students and interns
  • Willingness and capability to participate in seagoing expeditions.

Further Information

For further information please contact Dr. Moritz Holtappels (, +49(471)4831-2030).

The position is limited to 2 years with possible extensions for further years depending on funding. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des ÷ffentlichen Dienstes (TV÷D Bund), up to salary level 13. The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

This characterizes us

  • our scientific success - excellent research.
  • collaboration and cooperation - intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary.
  • opportunities to develop - on the job, aiming at other positions and beyond AWI.
  • a culture of reconciling work and family - audited, and even more than that.
  • our outstanding research infrastructure - ships, stations, aircraft, laboratories and more.
  • an international environment - everyday contacts with people from all over the world.
  • having an influence - fundamental research with social and political relevance
  • flat hierarchies - freedom and responsibility.
  • exciting topics - also in technology, administration and infrastructure.

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy and we encourage women to apply.

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".

We look forward to your application!

Please forward your application by December 8th , 2019 exclusively online.

Reference number: 19/131/D/Bio-b

posted: 15 November 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.