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 Geosystems within the research area Marine Biogeochemistry offers a position as of February 1, 2023

Doctoral student (m/f/d) on the topic

Climatically controlled sedimentation dynamics and export productivity in the Scotia Sea (Southern Ocean) during the last four glacial cycles

Job Description

The Scotia Sea north-east of the Antarctic Peninsula is a highly interesting working area in which several oceanographically and climatically important phenomena can be studied in one place. There, newly formed Antarctic Bottom Water from the Weddell Sea is intensively admixed into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. In addition, the Scotia Sea is an ocean basin through which incoming armadas of icebergs from the Weddell Sea drift north within the so-called "Iceberg Alley". During past ice ages, the location, dimensions and volume transport of the prevailing water masses differed, sometimes substantially. While today the regional surface water productivity is very high, during past glacial periods this area was mostly ice-covered. In the framework of this doctoral thesis, the origin of the sediments and the depositional conditions during the last four glacial cycles at IODP core U1537 are to be explored using isotope geochemical methods.

With the help of the sedimentary neodymium and lead isotope signatures, the main supply areas during the last 450 thousand years will be identified in this study. For key climatic time intervals, these data are verified by additional argon isotope data from the same sediments that the candidate will be measuring during a short stay at Columbia University (USA) under supervision of project partner Prof. Dr. Sidney Hemming. Furthermore, uranium/thorium isotopic analyses on these sediments will enable the candidate to determine the local sedimentation dynamics and temporary oxygen depletion of local bottom water as a result of a greatly increased bioproductivity. This part of the PhD will be carried out under supervision of project partner Dr. Jörg Lippold during several research stays at the University of Heidelberg.

The main focus of this doctoral thesis is in the field of isotope geochemistry, answering dominantly paleoceanographic research questions, and will be carried out at in Kiel, Heidelberg and Lamont (USA). The main supervision of this project will be carried out by Dr. Marcus Gutjahr and Prof. Dr. Anton Eisenhauer in Kiel.


  • MSc or equivalent degree in Earth or Environmental Sciences or a related field.
  • Previous working experience in chemical or biological laboratories.
  • Fluent spoken and written English communication skills.

Desirable skills:

  • Experience with isotope geochemical analytical methods is desirable but not essential.
  • Pronounced interest in (bio)geochemical research questions.
  • Experience in the presentation of scientific results at international conferences and scientific publications.

The position is available for a funding period of 3 years. The salary will depend on qualification and can be up to the class 13 TVöD-Bund of the German tariff for public employees. This is a part-time position according to 75 % of a full-time equivalent. Flexible working time models are possible in principle.

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, transcripts and publication list (if applicable) should be sent not later than Friday December 9th 2022 within one single pdf file to the following e-mail address using the subject line "Iceberg Alley PhD":

Applications can also be submitted via the following link:

As soon as the selection procedure has finished, all application papers will be destroyed according to data protection regulation.

For further information on the research project please contact Dr. Marcus Gutjahr (e-mail:; phone: ++49 (0)431 6002232).

For further information on the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research or on the Helmholtz Association, see or GEOMAR is committed to an objective and non-discriminatory selection. Our advertisements are therefore aimed at everyone. We expressly refrain from submitting application photos.

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

published: 22 November 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.