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 "Marine Chemistry" of the research division "Marine Biogeochemistry" is offering a

Postdoctoral position in trace metal biogeochemistry 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 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. The supply pathways of TEIs to the SIO from the ocean boundaries including the atmosphere (Australian dust), continents (mainly South Africa via the Zambezi River), sediments (on continental slopes) and hydrothermal inputs will be investigated and their distribution will be compared to hydrographic properties. 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 on the cruise programme. The candidate will undertake sampling of trace elements at sea in the South Indian Ocean during cruise SO276. The candidate will analyse samples in the GEOMAR home laboratory, and establish the distribution of trace elements in the South Indian Ocean in relation to sources and water masses, and assess their supply rates to the euphotic zone. The candidate will perform the fieldwork with subsequent sample and data analysis, data interpretation, and scientific manuscript publication.


  • A PhD in chemical oceanography or similar field is required or is to be achieved by autumn 2020
  • Experience is required in ultra-clean sampling of trace metals in open ocean waters
  • Experience is required in analytical measurements for dissolved trace metals in oceanic waters using ICP-MS, with sample pre-concentration using an automated system
  • We expect excellent English language skills and experience with working on research vessels
  • The candidate should be willing and able 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 "Achterberg - GEOTRACES".

Please send your application not later than 06.02.2020.

As soon as the selection procedure has 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. Eric Achterberg ( Please also email the application to Prof. Dr. Eric Achterberg.

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 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.