Open position:

How about doing a PhD on salt marsh bio-geomorphology in Hamburg?

This is very exciting news for me! Pending final approval of external funding we are going to start a project this autumn to study bio-geomorphology of Wadden Sea salt marshes. The idea is to setup morphodynamic models of a salt marsh which include the effect of vegetation. This has been previously done for other marsh systems, but there are no models available for Wadden Sea mainland salt marshes. Additionally, effects of heterogeneous vegetation patterns on sediment deposition and accretion are poorly understood. For example, models thus far mostly focused on homogeneous low marshes, but vegetation structure strongly differs between marsh zones and forms heterogeneous patterns. Most importantly, models also generally assumed that vegetation is static, while morphological marsh development is indeed also a main driver of vegetation succession, leading to changes in vegetation properties which in turn might also affect sediment dynamics.

In this project, we want to improve morphodynamic marsh models by integrating feedback loops between sediment and vegetation dynamics for salt marshes in the Wadden Sea. These models will be better able to predict marsh response to different climate change scenarios provided by other projects within the DFG priority program ‘Regional Sea Level Change and Society (SeaLevel)’.

Within this project there is one open position for a PhD-student who will be mainly working in Hamburg. The study site will be situated in the Wadden Sea National Park Schleswig Holstein. Furthermore, a one year stay at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) in the research group of Prof. Stijn Temmerman is planned for data analysis.

So, if you have an MSc-degree in ecology, geomorphology or another relevant field and would like to do your PhD with us in Hamburg, check the official job posting and send your letter, curriculum vitae, and copies of degree certificate(s) until 31.05.2016 to:


New paper online by Christian Butzeck:

Vegetation succession of low estuarine marshes is affected by distance to navigation channel and changes in water level

When I started to work at the University of Hamburg about two years ago, I also had the opportunity to discuss a lot of things with Christian Butzeck, the only other member of the group (then) interested in sediment dynamics. Christian worked on the marshes along the salinity gradient of the Elbe estuary and also investigated which factors determine the succession of the marsh vegetation. He found that in the salt and brackish zones, the area covered by high marshes increased substantially but decreased in the tidal freshwater zone, while that covered by low marshes decreased in all the salinity zones. The distance to the navigation channel was the main factor determining whether succession of low marshes would be progressive or regressive.

His findings were now published and can be found here:

Congratulations Christian!!

Elbe marsh