PhD Position in Modeling particulate organic matter dynamics in the North Sea – Deadline 27 June 2021

The Institute of Coastal Systems Analysis and Modelling at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon hosts a number of highly motivated and experienced researchers in the broad field of coastal research. Our research focus lies on numerical modelling of coastal processes with specific expertise in modelling of atmospheric and marine biogeochemistry and interactions between different environmental compartments on regional and coastal scales. At Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon we develop numerical models with the aim to determine the past and current state of the environment and to identify the major drivers for future changes in the system.

The working group for Sediment Transport and Morphodynamics invites applications for a PhD position in the frame of the project APOC focussing on the organic carbon cycle in the North Sea Ecosystem. APOC is a collaborative project with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from several German Marine Research Institutes, which combines Observations and Modelling activities to understand changes in the marine carbon cycle under increasing anthropogenic pressures. The aim of the PhD project is to apply a coupled hydrodynamics-morphodynamics-biogeochemistry model to investigate the path of particulate organic carbon (POC) from source to sink including flocculation and deflocculation between biogenic and lithogenic particles, deposition and resuspension, and POC degradation during transport and sedimentation. In particular, anthropogenic impacts such as resuspension by bottom trawling, altered fluvial POC inputs by damming, channel dredging, sand mining and dumping need be addressed by numerical modeling. The position is limited to 36 months.

The advancement of equality at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon is matter of course for us; in particular, we are striving to increase the percentage of women in the science sector.

Your tasks:

  • calibration and validation of a coupled hydrodynamics-morphodynamics-biogeochemistry model for the North Sea with regard to the SPM/POC dynamics
  • model application to investigate seasonal and annual variability of POC cycling and sequestration in the North Sea sediments
  • conducting sensitivity experiments and hindcast simulations to quantify the effectiveness of individual management measures
  • analysis and assessment of model results with respect to POC fluxes between the sediment-water interface and carbon sequestration
  • implementation and analysis of relevant climate projection scenarios
  • working as an integrative part of a motivated multidisciplinary team within the institute and external academic partners
  • writing scientific publications in peer reviewed journals
  • presentation of results at meetings and international conferences

Your profile:

  • Master in physical oceanography, geosciences, environmental sciences or related disciplines
  • knowledge on sediment dynamics and marine ecosystem
  • interest in coastal shelf modelling
  • experience in scientific programming with FORTRAN and related analysing programming languages (e. g. MATLAB, R, Python) would be an advantage
  • knowledge of English (written and oral)
  • good communication skills and ability to work in an interdisciplinary team of various fields of geosciences

We offer you:

  • multinational work environment with over 1,100 colleagues from more than 50 nations
  • extensive options of vocational training (i. a. expert seminars, language courses or leadership seminars)
  • flexible working hours and various models to ensure the compatibility of family and career
  • excellent infrastructure, including a scientific in-house library as well as modern work spaces
  • remuneration according to the standards of the collective wage agreement TV-AVH including further social benefits
  • employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Welcome office, guesthouses
  • company canteen

The promotion of equal rights is a matter of course for us. Severely disabled persons and those equaling severely disabled persons who are equally suitable for the position will be considered preferentially within the framework of legal requirements.


Then we are looking forward to receiving your comprehensive application documents indicating the reference number 2021/KS 7 including cover letter (short, concise, max. 1 page), CV, list of publications, letter of recom­mendation, copies/​transcripts of certificates including grades, proof of your English skills (TOEFL, IELTS or equivalent), and (link to) pdf file of your master thesis. The application must not exceed 10 MB.

Please send your application including contact details of 1 referee for this post via email in a single pdf-file mentioning the keyword “AE Baltic Sea – GeoChem” in the subject line. Please send your application not later than June 27th, 2021 to the following email address:

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