Ocean Career: GEOMAR Benthic Organisms Doctoral Researcher

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel is a foundation under public law jointly financed by the Federal Republic of Germany (90%) and the State of Schleswig-Holstein (10%). It is one of the internationally leading institutions in the field of marine research.

Through our research and our commitment to the transfer of knowledge and technology, we contribute significantly to the preservation of the function and protection of the ocean for future generations.

For the implementation of the BMBF-funded third DAM research mission (Marine Extreme Events and Natural Hazards) "Predict marine biohazards for prevention of their socio-economic impacts (PrimePrevention)" the working group of Geomicrobiology of the research division Marine Geosystems is seeking a doctoral researcher for the effects of benthic microorganisms on hypoxic events in the SW Baltic Sea.

Subject of approval, starting on February 1, 2024. The position offers the possibility to attain a doctoral degree in natural sciences.

The overall goal of the PrimePrevention collaborative project is to develop a coordinated strategy among coastal countries to address the societal challenges related to increasing marine natural hazards due to climate change. Hypoxic (oxygen-depleted) and sulfidic upwelling events represent one of these marine natural hazards. They occur regularly in late summer, especially on the east coast of Schleswig-Holstein, and not only affect the general health of the coastal ecosystem, but also the regional economy.

In our project, temporal and spatial extent of hypoxic and hydrogen sulfide bottom water in the Kiel Bight will be investigated. The aim of the project is to gain an improved understanding of the sedimentary microbial processes that influence the sulfide flux into the water column. The work will be conducted in close collaboration with colleagues from geochemistry and modeling. The information will be used to assess the risk for the occurrence of sulfide upwelling events in the Kiel Bight region.

In the Geomicrobiology working group, molecular biological investigations as well as incubation experiments alongside with rate measurements are carried out.

Job Description

You will participate in various ship excursions to the Kiel Bight and study microbial processes that contribute to the development and propagation of hypoxic and sulfidic conditions. For this, you will determine microbial sulfate reduction rates and sulfide oxidation rates and perform microbial community analyses. You will perform cell counts and CARD-FISH analyses and evaluate them using a microscope. You will extract RNA from sediments and prepare it for subsequent sequencing of 16S amplicons and selected transcriptomes. You will perform bioinformatics analyses to evaluate the 16S amplicon data.


Prerequisite for a successful application is a scientific university degree (Master) in the field of natural sciences or a field conducive to the tasks. There should be willingness to participate in various research cruises to the Kiel Bight. Experience with the determination of microbial turnover rates (e.g., by micro-profiling, tracer experiments or enrichment cultures) and in DNA and/or RNA processing is required. Solid knowledge of German and/or English (oral and written) is essential.

Also desirable are

  • Experience with working with radioactive tracers and/or isotopes of S, C or N
  • Experience with sulfate reduction rates and/or sulfide oxidation rates
  • Experience with extraction of DNA and RNA
  • Experience with bioinformatics analyses (Qiime, R)
  • FISH analyses and cell counts
  • Expertise in marine biogeochemical cycles
  • Knowledge of the sulfur cycle
  • Experience with microscopy
  • Ability to work and think in an interdisciplinary way

At a workplace, directly on the Kiel Fjord with many leisure and recreational opportunities, we offer you:

  • Good conditions for work-life balance: We offer, among other things, the possibility of mobile working and individual working time arrangements, vacation courses for the children of our employees, and good support in finding a place in a daycare center at the Kiel site
  • Support services for professional and personal life situations
  • An exciting work environment with the opportunity to provide important impetus for the development of sustainable solutions
  • Exciting topics in an international environment
  • Work in the field of marine and climate research, a forward-looking area with social significance
  • 30 vacation days + additional time off at Christmas and New Year's Eve
  • Company pension plan and capital-forming benefits

The position is available for a funding period of up to 3 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. The position cannot be split.

Closing Date: November 21, 2023

Learn more about this opportunity and how to apply.

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