Max Planck | PhD project offer in Micropaleontology

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Offer full description:

PhD project offered by the IMPRS-gBGC in Jan 2017

Micropalaeontological and shell chemistry investigations on Late Quaternary water balance changes in South Africa
Peter Frenzl , Gerd Gleixner

Project description

Indisputably the climate of southern Africa and thus the distribution and intensity of precipitation is mainly controlled by variations in the ocean currents around the Cape Agulhas as well as by the interplay between competing atmospheric circulations. Despite many already existing studies the relationships between the complex and mutual influences of these two factors are not yet sufficiently understood. Just at this point, the investigations in RAiN seek to expand the current knowledge. The RAiN project (Regional Archives for Integrated iNvestigations, deals with interdisciplinary investigations of climate evolution and it’s dynamic in southern Africa during the Late Quaternary. For this purpose, existing data sets from marine and continental geo-archives are completed by and compared with a wide range of new information.
The position offered here is closely associated with subproject 2 in RAiN. Sediment cores already taken from coastal systems of southern South Africa as well as cores from the coast and shelf in the North-East taken before and during Meteor cruise M123 will be investigated for their microfauna (Foraminifera and Ostracoda) and its shell chemistry. Palaeoecological approaches as well as stable isotope and trace element signatures from calcareous shells are used to reconstruct and compare water balance and coastal evolution as well as palaeooceanographic changes based on records from all three rainfall zones of South Africa integrating continental and marine records. The successful applicant will work closely together with colleagues from the Institute of Physical Geography of the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, the University of Bremen and South African partners who conduct complimentary analyses.


The applicant is expected to have basic expertise in the field of micropalaeontology, shell chemistry and/or palaeolimnology/palaeooceanography. Experiences with analyses on Ostracoda and/or Foraminifera and multivariate statistics would be of special value. A Master’s degree in geo- or biosciences is required. The usual language in our working group is German or English, but very good skills in English are encouraged because of international cooperation. The working place will be located at the Institute of Geosciences in Jena. Supervision is given by PD Dr. Peter Frenzel and Prof. Dr. Gerd Gleixner. For further information please contact

The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

>> more information about the IMPRS-gBGC + application

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Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)