GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation of public law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90 %) and the state of Schleswig-Holstein (10 %) and is one of the internationally leading institutions in the field of marine sciences. Currently GEOMAR disposes over an annual budget of approx. 80 million Euro and has approx. 1000 employees.

The research unit "Paleo-Oceanography" of research division "Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics" is offering a

Postdoctoral position in radiogenic isotope geochemistry in the South Indian Ocean as part of the International GEOTRACES Programme

starting on July 1st 2020.

Project Description

A research cruise with FS Sonne (SO276) is scheduled for July-August 2020 in the South Indian Ocean (SIO) from Durban (South Africa) to Fremantle (Australia), with a focus on trace metal biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography but also including physical and biological oceanographic components. The research topic of the cruise is to determine in detail the distributions, sources and sinks of trace elements and their isotopes (TEIs) in the water column along a zonal section in one of the least studied ocean regions on earth. We aim to investigate the factors controlling the distribution of Nd isotopes and REEs. The supply pathways of these elements and isotopes to the SIO from the ocean boundaries including the atmosphere (Australian dust), continents (mainly South Africa via the Zambezi River), sediments (on continental slopes) will be investigated and their distribution will be compared to hydrographic properties in order to better constrain their suitability as water mass tracers in the present and past ocean. For selected samples and water column profiles we will also determine the distribution of dissolved Si isotopes to trace silicate utilisation in the surface waters (to be compared to N isotope data) and deep water mass mixing. The cruise will officially be part of the internationally coordinated program GEOTRACES.

Job Description / Duties

The candidate will be part of an international GEOTRACES team that will investigate trace metal biogeochemistry in the South Indian Ocean and links to ocean productivity. The candidate will be working closely with physical and biological oceanographers during the cruise program and will undertake sampling, filtration and coprecipitation of Nd and Si isotope and REE samples at sea in the South Indian Ocean during cruise SO276. The candidate will analyse the samples in the home laboratory at GEOMAR and establish the distribution of these elements and isotopes in the South Indian Ocean in relation to water mass mixing and their sources, and will (in the case of Si isotopes) assess the silicate utilisation by diatoms in the euphotic zone. The tasks of the candidate will also comprise the scientific interpretation of the data, their presentation on national and international scientific meeting and the publication of the results in established peer-reviewed scientific journals.


  • A PhD in chemical oceanography or similar field is required or is to be achieved by June, 30th 2020
  • Experience in clean sampling of trace metals in ocean waters.
  • Experience in the determination of trace metal concentrations and isotopic compositions in oceanic waters using high resolution ICP-MS and MC-ICPMS, respectively.
  • We expect excellent English language skills and willingness to participate in sea-going expeditions
  • The candidate will need to communicate routinely with other members of the International GEOTRACES programme
  • The candidate will contribute to the project management of the GEOTRACES SIO project

The position is subject to a final funding approval by the BMBF. This is a full-time position according to 100% of a full-time equivalent. The position cannot be split.

The position is available for a funding period of 26 months. The salary depends on qualification and could be up to the class 13 TVöD-Bund of the German tariff for public employees.

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel seeks to increase the proportion of female scientists and explicitly encourages qualified female academics to apply.

GEOMAR is an equal opportunity employer and encourages scientists with disabilities to apply. Qualified disabled applicants will receive preference in the application process.

Applications including a letter of motivation, CV and contact details of 3 referees should be sent to the following e-mail ( ) in a single pdf file, using the keyword "Frank - GEOTRACES SIO".

Please send your application not later than 06.02.2020.

As soon as the selection procedure will be finished, all your application data will be removed according to data protection regulation.

For further information regarding the position and research unit please contact Prof. Dr. Martin Frank (

Please do not contact us by phone about the present state of procedures. However, we will answer all your questions if you send us an e-mail to In doing so, please refer to the above keyword.

GEOMAR is a member of the Helmholtz Association and the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM). For further information please visit or

GEOMAR is committed to a non-discriminatory personnel selection. Our job advertisements address all people.

The TOTAL E-QUALITY award is presented to GEOMAR for efforts in terms of human resource management aimed at providing equal opportunity.

published: 16 January 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.