Doctoral candidate (f/m/d)

Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung GmbH (ZMT), Bremen

The Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (www.leibniz-zmt.de) in Bremen is a member of the Leibniz Association, which is supported by the German Federal and State Governments. Through its research, ZMT contributes to developing science-based strategies for sustainable use of tropical coastal systems.

In the workgroup Geoecology and Carbonate Sedimentology, a position as

Doctoral candidate (f/m/d)

(Reference number: 181-HAnsea)

to start as soon as possible is available. The position is funded through the DFG project “Holocene and Anthropocene sea-level records from Indonesia (HAnsea)”, within the Priority Program “Regional Sea Level Change and Society”, and ZMT.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal (ZMT and University of Bremen) and Dr. Thomas Mann (BGR)

The doctoral thesis project focuses on the reconstruction of recent sedimentary facies in the Spermonde Archipelago, SW Sulawesi, Indonesia. In order to ensure a successful completion of the project despite the current travel restrictions, the doctoral candidate will start off with analysing existing sediment samples from the shelf, slopes, islands and platforms. Analytical methods comprise determination of grain-size distribution and compositional analysis with optical methods. Results will be analyzed with statistical tools (such as R or MATLAB) in order to determine differences in the spatial distribution of the sedimentary facies. In case travel restrictions are withdrawn, it is foreseen that the doctoral candidate will also conduct fieldwork. This expedition would comprise sampling of shell accumulations, microatolls and coral reefs as Holocene and Anthropocene sea-level indicators.

Objectives of the project: (1) Reconstruction of the sedimentary facies from shelf sediment samples. (2) Reconstruction of the sedimentary facies of lee- and windward reef slopes and platforms (barrier reef and patch reefs) along several transects across the Archipelago. (3) Reconstruction of the sedimentary facies and evolution of reef islands.

Expected results: The project aims at providing the first comprehensive data of carbonate sedimentary facies in the Spermonde Archipelago and will serve as modern analogue to better understand process regimes in comparable carbonate platforms in the geological record. It will provide insights into spatial differences in carbonate facies of localised patch reefs and barrier reefs with respect to water depths and distance to the mainland, and in terms of oceanographic and potential anthropogenic impacts. Results from island sediment analysis, in conjunction with radiometric dating techniques will provide the first chronological framework of island formation in the study area as basis to assess future morphological response under higher sea levels.


Applicants must hold a Master degree in Geosciences, preferentially in the field of carbonate sedimentology. Furthermore, candidates must have excellent skills in the application of sedimentological and petrographic methods, ideally with experience in processing tropical carbonates. We are looking for a highly motivated student who is familiar with recent carbonate environments, particularly in terms of the physical and biological processes that lead to sediment generation, related transport mechanisms and facies distributions. Good communication and scientific writing skills in English are required as well as great engagement for the project. The candidate is expected to represent the project on workshops and conferences. Willingness to conduct fieldwork in the tropics is mandatory. Experience in scientific drilling campaigns is an advantage. Please include a letter of motivation summarizing your background and expertise, explaining your interest in the topic of the project, briefly stating your research experience and interests and career goals (max 1000 words).

Details of the position:

The candidate will be on a part-time position (66%) on a 36-month contract; starting in December 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter. Salary will be paid according to the German TV-L EG 13.

We offer:

  • An exciting working environment in an interdisciplinary and internationally oriented institute
  • Possibilities to build and extend an international professional network and participate in a research field of high public and scientific interest
  • A family-friendly working environment

ZMT is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants with a migration background are welcome. Disabled persons with comparable qualification receive preferential status.

For additional information please contact Hildegard Westphal (hildegard.westphal(at)leibniz-zmt.de) or Thomas Mann (thomas.mann(at)leibniz-zmt.de).

Submission of application: Please send your application by October 27, 2020 as a single pdf file with the reference number “181- HAnsea to Ms. Lena Oehlmann, bewerbung(at)leibniz-zmt.de.

Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research, Fahrenheitstraße 6, D-28359 Bremen