PhD student position in Baltic Sea hypoxia

The Institute of Geosciences (Paleontology group) at the University of Mainz invites applications for a PhD student position (temporary appointment) to reconstruct the history of hypoxia in the Baltic Sea with shells of bivalve mollusks.

Bottom hypoxia (less than 2 mg/L dissolved oxygen) is a growing environmental problem in coastal and offshore waters. Severe and prolonged low-oxygen conditions can be lethal for bottom dwellers, destroy benthic communities, cause ecosystem disturbances and eventually form dead zones. The spatial distribution, intensity and duration of hypoxia in the Baltic Sea, home of the largest oxygen-deficient zone, has increased strikingly during the last century, both in shallow nearshore and deeper offshore settings. Due to lacking data, the occurrence of coastal hypoxia in time and space is much less well characterized than in deeper waters. Yet, the main unresolved question concerns the causes for the drastic expansion of hypoxia in the Baltic Sea: How important are physical forcings (stratification) and nutrient-driven eutrophication? The main objective of the study is to establish a virtually untapped archive for hypoxia and eutrophic state, namely shells of long-lived bivalves. The successful candidate will develop a multiproxy approach for the reconstruction of dissolved oxygen and apply this technique to infer the Late Holocene history of hypoxia in selected regions of the Baltic Sea with unprecedented temporal resolution.

Applicants must hold a master degree (above average grade) in geosciences, biology or marine sciences. Key qualifications include (1) knowledge of marine ecology, (2) analytical skills (e.g., wet and in-situ chemical analyses via CF-IRMS, ICP-OES, LA-ICP-MS), (3) experience with data analysis and statistical methods, and (4) computer literacy (in particular skillful use of MS office package, statistical software etc.). Experience with the analysis of growth patterns in hard tissues of invertebrates can be advantageous. In addition to scientific independence and expertise in topics outlined above, the ability to organize and prioritize own work and organize research within the project schedule, as well as a positive attitude toward and experience with field and laboratory work are required. The ideal candidate demonstrates originality within the overall research focus and has excellent communication skills. Proficiency in written and spoken English is essential, and a basic understanding of German desirable. Besides team working capabilities, previous international experience is highly desirable. The appointment will be for a maximum of three years. Salary according to E13 TV-L (50-75% position) includes fringe benefits. The University of Mainz is an equal opportunity employer. Disabled persons with comparable qualification receive preferential status.

Interested individuals are invited to submit an application package including a motivation letter, CV, copies of certificates (high school, BSc and MSc [or equivalent]), degree transcripts (plus English or German translation) and addresses of at least two referees as a single pdf to schoeneb (at) to Prof. Dr. Bernd R. Schöne, Institute for Geosciences, University of Mainz, Joh.-J.-Becher-Weg 21, 55128 Mainz, Germany. Application Deadline: 18 February 2019. Further information about the research focus of the Applied and Analytical Paleontology research team can be obtained at

posted: 17 January 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.