PhD position at Alfred Wegener Institute

29 November 2022
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PhD position in "ecosystem studies and habitat mapping based on hydroacoustic and seabed imagery"


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 requires reliable 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 Seabed 2030's Southern Ocean Regional Center. 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 fields 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 level 13 (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. 

Please submit your application by December 15th 2022

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