DFG-funded PhD position

The causes and consequences of inception of glaciation at the Eocene- Oligocene boundary 


The Topic

One of the most important climate transitions in the past ~100 Myr is the establishment of permanent glaciation on Antarctica. This occurred at the Eocene-Oligocene Transition (EOT, 33.9Ma). This project will examine the key CO2 drawdown process, silicate weathering, across the EOT. 

Silicate weathering removes atmospheric CO2, and eventually sequesters it as marine carbonates. It is unknown whether weathering led to the CO2 decline that precipitated Antarctic glaciation, nor how weathering responded to the cooling and glaciation. 

This project will use lithium isotopes as a tracer of silicate weathering, and analyse them in both marine carbonates (an archive of global seawater) and detrital silicates (an archive of local weathering). The data from the EOT will be combined with laboratory weathering experiments to determine the effect of temperature change on weathering. Finally, all core and experimental data will be combined into an Earth System climate box model.

This is an exciting project, at the cutting edge of science, analysis and modelling. 


The University

Johannes Gutenberg Universität (JGU) Mainz is one of Germany’s largest Universities, currently having some 32,000 students. JGU has a strong research focus, regularly achieving solid positions in international research rankings. Annually, about 600 PhD students complete studies at JGU. The Welcome Centre for visiting scholars and students provides support for all contractual, insurance, visa and accommodation issues. 

The Institute for Geosciences https://www.geosciences.uni-mainz.de is one of the top-ranked Earth Science departments in Germany, and also collaborates closely with the Max Plank Institute for Chemistry, which is on the same campus. 

The Project

This is a DFG-funded PhD project, funded for 3 years at the JGU, at the standard DFG salary rates. The project will be in the Sedimentary Geochemistry https://www.geosciences.uni-mainz.de/isotope-geology/ working group of Prof. Philip Pogge von Strandmann, which is part of the wider MIGHTY (Mainz Isotope and Geochemistry) centre. It will make use of new isotope facilities (metal-free clean lab, ICP-MS and MC-ICP-MS). 



Required: A completed Masters degree in Earth Sciences, with a research project either related to isotope geochemistry, or Earth System modelling. 

Fluency in spoken and written English

Useful: Experience with Matlab, or a similar computing language. 


If you are interested in this project then submit your complete application by January 31st, 2024, by sending a single pdf containing i) motivation letter (max. 2 pages), ii) CV, iii) copies of BSc and MSc degree, and iv) names and addresses of two referees to


For questions and further information please contact

Philip Pogge von Strandmann ppoggevo@uni-mainz.de.