The high latitudes experience the fastest changing environmental conditions affecting the ecosystems at all levels. In order to assess these changes and to estimate ecosystems’ resiliencies and responses, it requiresreliable environmental information. Seafloor topography and substrate have proven to be key environmental parameter for ecosystem characterisations. Combined with information on faunal distributions, they allow for mapping habitats and developing ecosystem models.
During several expeditions with the RV Polarstern shipborne and deep-towed high-resolution hydroacoustic data and visual seafloor data were collected from several key sites in high latitudes. In the scope of this PhD, based on these data, different habitats should be identified and ecosystems models developed. You should address one or several of the following topics:

  • Changing environmental conditions in high latitudes and consequences for the benthic ecosystems
  • Habitat mapping to assess ecosystem changes, resiliencies, and vulnerabilities
  • Ice sheet history reconstruction from glacigenic landforms and implication for ecosystems

You will be located at the Bathymetry working group of the Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung and the Seabed 2030 Regional Centre – Southern Ocean. You will be associated with the International Bathymetric Chart of the Southern Ocean project and the Nippon Foundation – GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project.


You will have a strong technical component resulting from the integration of different hydroacoustic and imagery data sets. The combined information will build the base for habitat and ecosystem models, ice sheet reconstructions, and all subsequent analyses. You will be interdisciplinary in nature requiring a high willingness to gain experiences in different field of marine sciences.


  • master’s degree or equivalent in the field of hydrography or marine sciences
  • Very good background in GIS
  • Programming skills
  • Willingness to participate in research expeditions
  • Very good English skill – written and spoken
  • Willingness to present at international meetings, workshops, and conferences

Additional skills and knowledge

  • Experience in hydrography
  • Experience in habitat mapping
  • Experience in automated data processing
  • Experience in photogrammetry
  • Experience with databases

Further Information

Please contact Dr. Boris Dorschel (; +49(471)4831-1222) for further information.

This position is limited to 3 years. The salary will be paid in accordance with the Collective Agreement for the Public Service of the Federation (Tarifvertrag des öffentlichen Dienstes, TVöD Bund), up to salary level13 (66%). The place of employment will be Bremerhaven.

All doctoral candidates will be members of AWI’s postgraduate program POLMAR or another graduate school and thus benefit from a comprehensive training program and extensive support measures.

The AWI is characterised by

  • our scientific success – excellent research
  • collaboration and cooperation – intra-institute, national and international, interdisciplinary
  • opportunities to develop – on the job, aiming at other positions and beyond AWI
  • a culture of reconciling work and family – an audited and well-supported aspect of our operation
  • our outstanding research infrastructure – ships, stations, aircraft, laboratories and more
  • an international environment – everyday contacts with people from all over the world
  • having an influence – fundamental research with social and political relevance
  • flat hierarchies – facilitating freedom and responsibility
  • exciting science topics, with opportunities also in technology, administration and infrastructure

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. The AWI aims to increase the number of female employees and therefore strongly encourages qualified women to apply.

Disabled applicants will be given preference when equal qualifications are present.

The AWI fosters the compatibility of work and family in various ways and has received a number of awards as a result of this engagement.

We look forward to your application!

Please submit your application by December 15th2022, exclusively online.

Reference number 22/175/D/Geo-b

Further information can be found here.

via AWI
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