The Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology is a research institute of the Max Planck Society. It was founded in 1992 in the State of Bremen and employs around 200 staff members. In close collaboration with numerous university and non-university research institutions, we explore the diversity and function of microorganisms in the ocean and their interactions with their environment. Scientists from all over the world, engineers, technicians and administrative staff together make an important contribution to global marine and environmental research.

In the Department of Biogeochemistry we are searching for a

PhD Student

The student will focus on the understudied role that benthic primary producers (BPP) have in continental shelf sands. The initial aim of the project is to quantify the abundance and distribution of BPP on various continental shelves. Further to this, the student will investigate the impact of BPP on sediment stability, porewater flow and nutrient cycling. In an integrated approach, sea-going expeditions will be combined with laboratory work, which allows field observations to be complemented by measurements of microbially catalyzed carbon and nitrogen transformations. Measurements in the field will be carried out with the unique benthic observatory ‘LanceALot’, which allows for concurrent measurements of bottom water currents, surface topographies, benthic primary production and oxygen penetration depths, as well as their temporal variability. In the laboratory, experiments will be carried out in flow-through reactors using a combination of stable isotope labeling and molecular techniques, which allow for detailed insights into the pathways by which carbon and nitrogen are transformed.

The student will acquire a set of transferable skills to carry out the project. The student will be offered a dynamic research environment embedded within two multidisciplinary institutes (Biogeochemistry department, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology,; MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences). Furthermore the student will be enrolled in the International Max Planck Research School of Marine Microbiology graduate programme (MarMic). Informal enquiries about the project and applications can be made by email to Dr Hannah Marchant ( and Dr Soeren Ahmerkamp (

Applicants must prove good to excellent grades at MSc level, and a keen interest in marine sciences, preferable having studied a field such as Geoscience, Biological Sciences, Environmental Science, Oceanography or Microbiology. Experience or willingness to work with Matlab, R or Python is required, as is a willingness to work at sea and with sea-going equipment. Basic laboratory experience would also be beneficial. Students are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in English language skills.

We offer a 3 year full-time appointment. The salary is according to the German system for public employees (E 13 TVöD 65 % ).

Applications must be submitted online: The deadline is 30 November 2018.

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more disabled individuals and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society aims to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and urges them to apply.

We are looking forward to your application!

posted: 30 October 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.