PhD position in environmental fluid dynamics

Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei

Berlin, , DE

In the frame of the DFG-project “PycnoTrap” on hydrodynamical drivers of carbon cycling in aquatic ecosystems we are inviting applications for a PhD position in close collaboration with a second PhD position in microbiology. The successful candidate will be part of an interdisciplinary international team with German and Siberian lakes as primary research objects. The PhD study will be focused on physical mechanisms driving the sinking and degradation of small organic particles in thermally stratified inland waters. The approaches encompass development and application of 3d particle imaging and Lagrangian modelling of particle sinking. The study will be in close collaboration with the biogeochemical and microbiological teams of the project and allowing for intense knowledge exchange between different scientific disciplines and researchers. The workplace is in Berlin-Friedrichshagen with frequent visits of the IGB at Lake Stechlin (80 km north of Berlin), where the main field site is located. Several medium-term visits to remote sites in Siberia are envisaged as part of the field work.

Inland waters such as lakes and reservoirs play a substantial role in the transport and transformation of both terrestrial and autochthonous organic carbon. The key internal pathway for aquatic carbon dynamics, i.e. sinking of particulate organic matter (POM), strongly depends on vertical density stratification of the water column, which due to atmospheric warming has increased globally during the recent past. Yet, the integral effect of water column stratification on POM transformation remains non-quantified to date. This project aims to shed light on the changing role of water column density gradients for sinking behavior of POM and hence its impact on microbial carbon cycling in inland waters.

Your tasks:

  • Establishing of in situ particle tracking methods based on existing preliminary developments in the IGB.
  • Development of image processing algorithms for particle characterization and determining particle trajectories and velocities.
  • Development of model of particle fate in a turbulent stratified water column including sinking and microbial degradation.
  • Analysis and interpretation of observational data and modelling results in the general context of seasonal and climatic changes in the thermal stratification.
  • Preparation of manuscripts and publication of project results.

Your profile

  • MSc degree in physical limnology, physical oceanography, fluid mechanics or a related field of environmental sciences
  • Competencies in evaluation and interpretation of large datasets
  • Demonstrated skills in development and extension of data analysis methods
  • Knowledge in turbulent dynamics of natural waters
  • Ability to perform intense fieldwork
  • Experience in aquatic biogeochemistry and ecology is a benefit
  • High proficiency of oral and written English including scientific terminology
  • Collaborative teamworker and good communication skills are essential

Our offer

Salary is paid according to the German salary scheme for the public sector (TVöD Bund) on a 65% level. The task is a fulltime position. Funding for this position is available for 3 years with tentative starting date on 01 May 2021.

We foster your career development by providing qualification and training opportunities. We actively support the reconciliation of work and family life. Applicants are treated equally regardless of gender. Severely disabled applicants with equal qualification and aptitude will be given preferential consideration.

Are you interested?

We look forward to receiving your application with the usual documents (letter of motivation indicating research interests and experience, CV, certificates/references, publication list) by
15. Mar. 2021. Please state the job reference number 10/2021 and apply exclusively via our recruitment platform at

Questions regarding the position can be directed to Georgiy Kirillin by e-mail ([email protected]).

“Research for the future of our freshwaters” is the mission of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). The IGB is Germany’s largest and one of the leading international research centres for freshwaters. We seek to understand the fundamental processes governing freshwaters and their communities. Our research findings help to tackle global environmental changes and to develop measures for sustainable water management. The IGB is a diverse and inspiring place to work and conduct research. We promote individual development at every career level and stand for lively exchange and cooperation. With more than 350 employees and guests from all over the world, we conduct research at five locations in Berlin and at Lake Stechlin (Brandenburg). IGB closely collaborates with numerous national and international universities and other partners in science and society and is a member of the Leibniz Association, which connects 96 independent public research institutes in Germany.





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development