PhD Position in Dynamics of Dissolved Organic Matter in the Sea-Surface Microlayer Traced with Bio-Optical Properties
University Oldenburg Institute of Chemistry and Biology

At the Institute of Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM, Wilhelmshaven) of the University Oldenburg, the following position is available in the working group "Marine Sensor Systems" as soon as possible for a period of 42 months:

PhD student (m/f/d)

Dynamics of dissolved organic matter in the sea-surface microlayer traced with bio-optical properties

(E 13 TV-L, 65 %)

The ICBM is an internationally renowned research institute for fundamental and applied marine sciences. The Institute has more than 20 research groups to strive to better understand the function of marine environmental systems through interdisciplinary studies (chemistry, biology, physics, mathematical modelling).

The position is part of the research group "Biogeochemical processes and Air–sea exchange in the Sea-Surface microlayer (BASS)" funded by the German Research Foundation. The overall goal is to investigate the importance of the sea-surface microlayer (SML) as a biogeo- and photochemical reactor and how its reactivity affects ocean-atmosphere interactions. The SML is a thin, still poorly understood boundary layer separating the hydrosphere and atmosphere, moderating important exchange processes and constituting a unique habitat in the marine environment. Often, concentrations of specific compounds (e.g. dissolved organic matter) are higher in the SML, either by physical concentration from the underlying water, production in the SML, or atmospheric deposition. Bio-optical approaches like measurements of the absorption, scattering, and fluorescing properties of water and its constituents can be used to characterize the components of the SML and hence to trace short-term transformation processes with respect to biological and chemical drivers in high temporal resolution. BASS will also investigate the coupling between the SML and bulk water, as this coupling determines the distribution of the unique products of biogeo- and photochemical processes in the SML to the upper ocean. Eight subprojects will collaborate in joint field campaigns in the open North Sea, a joint mesocosm study at the Sea-Surface Facility at ICBM, and a joint experiment at the University of Hamburg Wind Wave tank. BASS will combine interdisciplinary expertise, advanced technologies for millimeter-scale observations, core infrastructures for controlled experiments, and state-of-the-art analytical facilities.

Your tasks:

  • Investigation of dissolved organic matter distribution in the sea-surface microlayer using bio-optical methods
  • Use and maintenance of oceanographic sensors and sampling equipment
  • Refinement of applied methods for the specific requirements of the SML
  • Preparation of research cruises
  • Data analysis and statistics of collected data
  • Writing of publications


  • Academic university degree (master or diploma (not of a University of Applied Sciences)) in marine physics, marine chemistry, marine biology, or a similar discipline
  • Experience in bio-optical methods, preferrably fluorometry
  • Experience in laboratory work
  • Basic programming skills (e.g. Matlab, R, Python) to write algorithms for data analysis
  • Ability and willingness to prepare and participate on multi-day ship expeditions
  • Very good command of spoken and written English

You ideally bring with you:

  • Expertise in the field of sensor technologies
  • Expertise in excitation-emission spectroscopy

We offer:

  • Possibility to do a doctorate
  • Collaboration in an interdisciplinary, international and committed research team
  • Scientific support and further education, e.g. in the graduate school OLTECH
  • Support of work-life balance
  • Modern workplaces and laboratories in the Center for Marine Sensors at ICBM Wilhelmshaven

The University of Oldenburg aims to increase the proportion of women in science. Therefore, women are strongly encouraged to apply. In accordance with Lower Saxony regulations (§ 21 Section 3 NHG) female candidates with equal qualifications will be preferentially considered.

Severely disabled persons will be given preference in the case of equal suitability.

If you have any questions regarding this job offer, please contact Prof. Dr. Oliver Zielinski ( ).

Please send your application with cover letter, CV, copies of certificates and references in a single document as pdf-file (total size max. 10 MB) preferably by e-mailto Ursel Gerken ( ) with the subject "BASS"by 14.10.2022

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Physicaloxy


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