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PhD student, Marine Biogeosciences

Code: 75/D/Bio
Faculty: Science
Job type: Full time
Location: Bremerhaven

The Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) is a member of the Helmholtz Association (HGF) and funded by federal and state government. AWI focuses on polar and marine research in a variety of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, geology, geochemistry and geophysics thus allowing multidisciplinary approaches to scientific goals.

Our section Marine Biogeosciences invites applications for a position funded by DFG (German Research Foundation) as

PhD student

studying the contribution of different iron sources to the ocean using a global model of the stable isotopic composition of iron.

Background and tasks:
Iron is an essential micronutrient for ocean biota. There is still no consensus on the mechanisms behind its distribution and especially on the relative role of different external iron sources to the ocean (e.g. aeolian dust, marine sediments, hydrothermal and riverine inputs).

A new tool to constrain the role of the different iron sources is the study of the stable isotopic composition of oceanic dissolved iron. Different external sources of iron have different isotopic compositions. Biogeochemical processes can fractionate between iron isotopes and physical processes (transport, mixing, and diffusion) also affect the isotopic composition of iron. Therefore, it is necessary to combine the interpretation of iron isotope data with a model of iron cycling in the ocean.

The PhD candidate will extend a global biogeochemical model of iron with an explicit representation of isotopic effects to disentangle the role of different processes affecting the isotopic composition of dissolved iron in the ocean. The global biogeochemical model of iron has been already developed at the AWI and coupled to the global circulation model MITgcm. Furthermore, data from water-column iron isotope measurements will be compiled into a database for comparing with and tuning the model of iron isotopic composition. A further task is the publication of the research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals and the presentation of results at international conferences.

The candidate should hold a master in physics, chemistry, environmental sciences, applied mathematics or a related discipline. This project is in collaboration with the institute of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Cologne and the section Marine Geochemistry at AWI. The candidate should be willing to work in a multidisciplinary team. Knowledge and experience in programming with Fortran and in using Unix/Linux computers is advantageous. Very good knowledge of English is expected.
For further information please contact Dr. Ying Ye (+49 471-4831-2093,, Dr. Christoph Völker (+49 471-4831-1848, or Prof. Dr. Dieter Wolf-Gladrow (+49 471-4831-1824,
The position is limited to 3 years and is advertised subject to availability of funding. The earliest starting date will be July 1st, 2017. The salary will be paid in accordance with the German Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes (TVöD Bund), salary level 13 (66%). The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

We offer you a multi-disciplinary, international, and fascinating professional environment with flexible working hours, state-of-the-art research equipment, and a first-rate infrastructure.
Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present. The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family through various means. Because of our engagement in the area of work-life compatibility we have been awarded the certificate “Career and Family”.
As Ph.D. student at AWI you will be member of the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research ‘POLMAR’ ( or another graduate school.

Please forward your applications with the standard documentation (letter of motivation, CV, publication list if applicable and contact information of two referees) by May 31st, 2017 referencing code 75/D/Bio to: Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Personalabteilung (human resources), Postfach 12 01 61, 27515 Bremerhaven/Germany or by e-mail (all documents merged into one PDF file) to:

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General Informationen

The Alfred Wegener Institute pursues research in the polar regions and the oceans of mid and high latitudes. As of the 18 Centres of the Hemlholtz Association it coordinates polar research in Germany and provides ships like the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations for the international scientific community.

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