PhD position: Noise in the Ocean – Deadline 31 December 2022

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 geodynamics of the research division Dynamics of the Ocean Floor is offering a PhD Noise in the Ocean starting on March 1st 2023. The position offers the possibility to attain a doctoral degree in natural sciences.

Job Description / Project Description

The Doctoral Network “Studying the Earth’s surface with seismic methods” (EnvSeis) is funded by the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. Bringing together 10 leading research groups from 7 countries, EnvSeis supports 12 early-stage researchers in the emerging field of environmental seismology, in which seismic methods are used to study processes at or near the Earth’s surface, such as landsliding, river sediment transport, debris flows, and glacial and marine processes. Projects in the network are connected by the common methodology and joined training and networking activities. More information can be found on the project website. GEOMAR will support the emerging field of “noise in the sub-marine environment”.

We invite you to apply for several ESR positions of your interest and in that case, indicate it in your application with the order of preference. Applicability follows the mobility rules of the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Doctoral Networks. Candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date. In addition, an extended secondment (at least 6 months) abroad is required.

The project “Noise in the Ocean: Monitoring anthropogenic pollution and natural noise in the sea” hosted by GEOMAR investigates the level of noise generated by human endeavours and its impact on the environment and marine life. Unfortunately, little is known about the ambient ocean noise, its spatial variability and the impact of anthropogenic noise pollution. Studying recordings of existing ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) deployments or arrays will nurture our understanding of ocean noise. Natural sources are forced by ocean waves, wind, lightning, ice noise, earthquakes, and submarine volcanic activity. Marine seismologists have over the years collected a unique dataset of hydro-acoustic data. Using the availability and the global distribution of data from all oceans, we will investigate records covering the frequency range ~0.01 Hz – 100 Hz, where anthropogenic changes are most prominent. Measurements suggest that since the 1960ies, anthropogenic and hence artificial sound in the ocean has risen by over 40 dB. While most natural sources are generally reasonably short-lived (e.g. earthquakes, submarine landslides), anthropogenic noise such as shipping activities continuously produce sound at low frequencies, reverberating through the oceans. We will compare levels of anthropogenic noise to natural sources, such as submarine volcanism, earthquakes or from submarine landslides. We need to learn more about the ocean-wide noise distribution and how it changes with water depth, season, weather conditions or locations.


  • M.Sc. (or equivalent) in Geophysics, Geosciences, physics or a related field
  • Fluent written and oral English language skills
  • Experience in the interpretation of continuous time series or seismic data
  • Experience in spectral analyses is a plus
  • Good skills in one or more programming languages (e.g., Python, Perl, Matlab)
  • Knowledge of Linux as an operating system
  • Willingness to participate in seagoing expeditions is a plus

The position is available for a funding period of three years. The salary depends on qualification and could be up to the class E13 TVöD-Bund of the German tariff for public employees. This is a part-time position according to 75% of a full-time equivalent (currently 29.25 hours per week). The position cannot be split. Flexible working hour schemes are generally possible.

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.

Please submit your application for this post not later than December 31st 2022 under the following link.

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

For further information regarding the position and research unit please contact Anne Völsch or Julia Schätzel ( /

We will answer all your general questions regarding this job advertisement if you send us an e-mail to bewerbung(at) In doing so, please refer to the keyword “EnvSeis”.

Further information on this position, follow this link.

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