PhD project offered by the IMPRS-gBGC in July 2022


Synthesizing spatio-temporal variations to assess surface/subsurface links in the Critical Zone

Kai U. Totsche , Susan Trumbore , Robert Lehmann , Simon Schroeter

Project description

The AquaDiva project is a large collaboration to understand connections between the surface and subsurface - how weather, vegetation, and land use at the surface influence the biota and biogeochemical cycling in the subsurface and shallow groundwater. As part of this project, we have collected more than 10 years of data from a network of groundwater wells from the Hainich Critical Zone observatory in central Germany, including time series of properties ranging from continuous measures of groundwater level, temperature, pressure, dissolved oxygen, and chemistry, to monthly/bimonthly measures of water stable isotopes, microbial community, dissolved organic matter properties, and other parameters. The goal of this project is to analyze these time series for patterns that can be used to understand the processes and mechanisms governing the temporal and spatial evolution of aquifer-features and groundwater properties. The synthesized data originating from this project will provide benchmarks to test and challenge our different modeling endeavors and will help to infer biogeochemical fluxes and subsurface water dynamics by combining long-term measurements with advanced modeling.


We seek a student with a Master's degree in hydrology, biogeochemistry, geosciences, computer sciences or other related disciplines. We are particularly looking for students interested in Critical Zone science with skills that can be applied to the analysis of large data sets and who are attracted in working with the rich data collected in AquaDiva and joining in this large project. Some knowledge of hydrology and groundwater modeling is an asset. 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. 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.

© K. Totsche
© K. Totsche

>> more information about the IMPRS-gBGC + application