Overview of all Bernd Rendel Prizewinners

2023: Felix Augustin and Jonas Preine

Felix Augustin, Diversity and paleoecology

Felix Augustin deals with the evolution of terrestrial vertebrates in the Mesozoic era: he studies the taxonomy, palaeoecology and phylogeny of turtles, crocodiles, dinosaurs, pterosaurs and mammals. In his dissertation project, he focuses on the Upper Cretaceous vertebrate fauna of the Hateg Basin in Romania. Augustin has already published 14 articles in renowned journals as first author. In addition to his ongoing involvement in theory, he has also gained research experience in the field. He plans to use the prize money to finance trips to Romania to examine as yet undescribed items from the collections in Cluj-Napoca and at the University of Bucharest and present his findings at specialist conferences.

Jonas Preine, Marine Geophysics

Jonas Preine’s research focus is marine geophysics. His research career began when he won the national science award for young people Jugend forscht in 2012. This was followed by numerous voyages on research vessels to the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Atlantic and the Red Sea – in some cases acting as a tutor, shift leader or manager. His doctoral thesis deals with the Christiana-Santorini-Kolumbo volcanic field in the Aegean Sea, an area that is highly relevant in terms of volcanic risk in Europe, too. He draws on a wide range of geophysical methods to look at the spatial and temporal evolution of the volcanic field and extension basin. Jonas Preine would like to use the prize money to undertake further work in the Aegean.

2022: Nicolas Bourgon and Mariel Dirscherl

Nicolas Bourgon, Palaeontology

Nicolas Bourgon is working as a doctoral student on a joint project at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the University of Mainz. As part of his research, he has developed a method to determine the proportion of plant and animal food in tropical ecosystems of the late Pleistocene by determining Zn isotopes in the tooth enamel of mammals and humans. The results of this project are groundbreaking and have been published in high-ranking journals such as PNAS, Journal of Human Evolution and PLOS ONE. Bourgon was first author of two of these articles and co-author of six others. His work establishes a vital link between archaeology and the geosciences. He intends to use the prize money for visits to conferences and research trips.

Mariel Dirscherl, Remote terrestrial observation

Mariel Dirscherl is working on supraglacial lakes – lakes that form below the Antarctic continental ice sheet due to melting processes and have a key role to play in ice dynamics, in particular the progressive loss of ice mass and resulting rise in sea level. To this end, she uses data from remote sensing satellites and machine learning methods, as well as modelling based on ice and rock mechanics and on atmospheric physics. The jury was impressed by Dirscherl’s skilful work at the interface between two fields, namely remote sensing and cryosphere research, as well as her high-ranking publications in both communities. As part of her doctoral project, she has also already published five papers as first author in internationally peer-reviewed journals. Dirscherl aims to use the prize money to take part in a conference and an accompanying excursion lasting several days to glaciated regions in Iceland.

2021: Simon Rosanka and Jan Schönig

Simon Rosanka, Meteorology

Simon Rosanka impressed the jury with his research achievements and the breadth of his work. Since October 2017, he has been working on his doctorate at the University of Cologne in conjunction with Forschungszentrum Jülich on “A Comprehensive Assessment of the Influence of Oxygenated Volatile Organic Compounds on the Atmospheric Composition”. In his doctoral thesis, Rosanka was able to quantify the contribution of clouds as a sink for tropospheric ozone, thereby making a significant contribution to ensuring that organic acids in the troposphere are no longer underestimated. Also noteworthy is his work establishing the link between the reduction of ozone in the lower stratosphere and the aromatic compounds formed during moorland fires in Indonesia. Rosanka has already published nine papers in recognised journals, five of these as first author. He intends to use the prize money to undertake an extended stay at the NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton.

Jan Schönig, Sedimentology and environmental geology

Jan Schönig of the Geoscience Center at Göttingen University already published eight articles in excellent international journals towards the end of his dissertation, six of them as first author. The jury confirmed the particular originality of his research. Schönig developed a new methodological approach to solving a fundamental question of geoscience – regarding the beginning of today’s plate tectonic processes in the Earth’s history. For the first time, he focused on sedimentary archives by detecting tiny mineral inclusions that are only formed under ultra-high pressure conditions when one Earth plate moves underneath another – called subduction. In this way, Schönig has significantly increased the chance of detecting subduction processes in the Earth’s older history, since the indicator minerals in the stable carrier minerals reach the Earth’s surface in a protected state, ensuring that signals are stored in sediments. Schönig was able to demonstrate the potential of this new method based on examples in from Norway, the Ore Mountains and Papua New Guinea. He intends to use the prize money to attend a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

2020: Anja Allabar and Milad Asgarimehr

Anja Allabar, Experimental mineralogy

Geoscience graduate Anja Allabar is currently in the third year of her doctoral project, which is being supervised at the University of Tübingen and conducted together with researchers from Great Britain, Italy, the USA and Germany. The ambitious project aims to redefine the complex processes involved in the release of gases from water-rich rock melts in order to gain a better understanding of the processes that take place during explosive volcanic eruptions and better evaluate the related geohazards. In addressing this important and challenging research question, Anja Allabar has already made a pioneering breakthrough by innovatively combining experimental data and thermodynamic concepts. She has also contributed important impetus and ideas in four other publications. She has been recognised for her outstanding achievements and excellent potential in an academic career.

Milad Asgarimehr, Geodesy

Milad Asgarimehr studied geodesy in Iran and has been working on his doctoral dissertation since early 2017 as part of a joint project by TU Berlin and GFZ Potsdam. He studies signals of global GPS navigation satellite systems in earth and extreme weather monitoring which are reflected on the surface of the sea. Milad Asgarimehr intends to analyse distortions of these signals caused by wind and rainfall in order to optimise the GPS used for measuring wind and rain. During his doctorate, Asgarimehr has written four publications in internationally renowned journals as the first author, as well as two other publications as the co-author. Furthermore, he has already submitted his master’s thesis to two international publications. He is also committed to promoting the topic among the public with popular science publications. He impressed the jury with his clear vision for his future scientific career and for using the prize money for a research visit at the University of Michigan.

2019: Dini Adyasari and Michael Grund

Dini Adyasari, Environmental technology

Dini Adyasari is originally from Indonesia, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in engineering in 2010. She went on to do postgraduate studies at the University of Stavanger in Norway, where she completed her Master of Science in Environmental Technology in 2014. For her master’s dissertation, she examined water purification in wastewater treatment plants using innovative filter techniques. In 2015 she began her doctoral research at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen. For her research, with support from a DAAD fellowship and a research visit to the University of Alabama, she has expanded her scientific know-how in the field of coastal groundwater input. In her dissertation she is investigating “Urban Pollution of Submarine Groundwater Discharge from Jepara Coastal Region and its Implications for Local Water Management”. Adyasari has already published as a first author in the respected journal Science of the Total Environment, with other publication topics covering submarine groundwater discharge, nutrient flows and their reactions, and the microbiology of groundwater discharge.

Michael Grund, Geophysics

Michael Grund earned the top grade for his master’s degree in geophysics and in mid-2015 began his doctoral research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). For his dissertation, he is analysing data from the ScanArray experiment and measurement data from permanent earthquake measuring stations relating to the speed of propagation of seismic waves. He has already achieved high-quality results within a wide spectrum of seismological and geoscientific research. His meticulous and critical approach to working with measurement results and existing models is reflected in publications in respected peer-reviewed journals. His ideas and contributions to scientific discussions demonstrate his exceptional potential for understanding, analysing and solving geoscientific questions on different scales.

2018: Michael Förster and Janina Kleemann

Michael Förster, Geochemistry

Michael Förster is to receive the Bernd Rendel Prize for his outstanding achievements in geochemistry. He studied geology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, graduating with top marks, and in 2016 joined the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He is working on a PhD thesis on ‘Earth’s Deep Nitrogen Cycle’, investigating the geochemical behaviour of nitrogen in deep rocks and magma. Förster has published in the internationally respected journal Chemical Geology, among others. The jury commented: “Even at this relatively early stage, Förster has a number of impressive scientific achievements to his credit, demonstrating an exceptional ability and degree of scientific independence.”

Janina Kleemann, Landscape ecology and nature conservation

Janina Kleemann has been working on her doctoral dissertation at the universities of Bonn and Halle since 2013. In her dissertation, she has drawn up an extensive analysis in the form of an expert-supported evaluation of possible climate and land use scenarios for northern Ghana. The results will help to counteract the negative impacts of land use change and reduce poverty and food insecurity in low-income, densely populated countries and regions such as the area she is studying. Kleemann studied landscape ecology and nature conservation at the University of Greifswald. Afterwards she spent two years as a research assistant for the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adaptive Land Use (WASCAL), for which she continues to work as a doctoral student. She intends to use the prize money to fund communication activities with local communities in northern Ghana.

2017: Jaayke Lynn Fiege, Sinikka Tina Lennartz and Sebastian Sippel

Jaayke Lynn Fiege, Deposit geochemistry

Jaayke Lynn Fiege is being awarded the 2017 Bernd Rendel Prize for her exceptional achievements in the area of mineral deposit geochemistry. After completing her degree in earth sciences at the University of Hanover, she commenced her doctorate in 2013 and shortly thereafter, with funding from a DAAD scholarship, went to the University of Michigan, where she worked with renowned mineral deposits researcher, Prof. Dr. Adam Simon. During that time Fiege developed a new model for the formation of the globally significant Kiruna-type iron ore deposits. The results of those studies, as well as those of her Master's thesis, were published in internationally recognised journals. In the course of her research work, Fiege cooperated with the American Museum of Natural History, and in 2017 she received confirmation of a doctoral scholarship from the German Academic Scholarship Fund.

Sinikka Tina Lennartz, Ocean research

Since 2013 as part of her doctorate at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Sinikka Tina Lennartz has been researching the release of sulphurous gases, which are believed to play a critical role in the climate but have been investigated only minimally to date. The jury was impressed by Lennartz’ high degree of academic independence, which she has developed since completing her geoecology degree at the universities of Tübingen and Braunschweig. She is the first author of three publications and is also co-author of three additional papers – one of which appeared in the renowned journal “Nature Climate Change”. In addition, she has developed a new method for the quantification of sulphuric gas emissions, and herself obtained the funds required for the measurement device needed. According to the jury, Lennartz possesses a broad range of skills, from method development through data acquisition on board research ships to the application of regional and global model simulations. The award of the Bernd Rendel Prize 2017 recognises these skills.

Sebastian Sippel, Geoecology

Sebastian Sippel completed his degree in geoecology at the University of Bayreuth in parallel with earning a Master of Science in Oxford in the subject area of “Environmental Change and Management” as part of a study visit abroad. Since 2014 he has been undertaking his doctorate in Jena and Zurich on the question of how extreme climate events impact on geoecological processes, in particular the interactions between biosphere and atmosphere. That is to say, he is examining the question whether increasing extreme events may have an effect on the global carbon cycle. Sippel is being awarded the Bernd Rendel Prize 2017 for his outstanding works in the area of geoecology, which are based both on observations and model results. The jury was impressed by the fact that he was not afraid to challenge established approaches. For example, he proved in one of his nine first-author publications in outstanding journals that a series of early studies systematically overestimated the increase in temperature extremes.

2016: Max Frenzel and Andreas Hubert Schweiger

Max Frenzel, Deposit theory

The diversity of Max Frenzel’s scientific work particularly impressed the jury. He has already worked and published in biomineralogy, ore deposit research, structural geology and geochemistry. Added to this is his international experience: before commencing his doctoral thesis in ore deposit research in Freiberg, he was awarded first class honours at Cambridge for both his BA degree and his Master of Geological Sciences. His insights and findings in ore deposit research are not only excellent science, but are also socially relevant. The focus of his investigations includes, for example, how different types of resources and geological factors affect global availability and hence the commercial use of certain elements. These include gallium, germanium and indium, which are needed for modern technological applications.

Andreas Hubert Schweiger, Biogeography

Ecosystems and their complex interconnections are the topic of Andreas H. Schweiger’s research. He is endeavouring to understand how they react to change in order to gauge the effects of historical and contemporary human activity for the future. Before embarking on his dissertation on the topic of water sources at the University of Bayreuth, he first studied environmental engineering at the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, and then completed a Master of Sciences degree in biodiversity and ecology in Bayreuth. The jury singled out both his diploma thesis on the nutritional ecology of the golden eagle in the Werdenfelser Land region of Bavaria and also his master's thesis on plant growth on Mount Kilimanjaro as “excellent”. Schweiger also has a long list of publications in respected professional journals and was also recognised for his involvement with the World Congress of the International Biogeography Society in Bayreuth in 2015.

2015: Eleanor Berryman and Benedikt Soja

Eleanor Berryman, Geochemistry

Geochemist Eleanor Berryman studies the formation of the mineral tourmaline using a combination of laboratory and field experiments. By using this mineral as an indicator of the formation of certain types of rock, she can look back into the Earth's history. Tourmaline occurs in many different types of rock, but its complex chemical crystal structure and actual behaviour remain a challenge to scientists. Berryman is studying this topic as part of her doctoral research at TU Berlin and GFZ Potsdam. As well as studying the formation of potassium- or ammonium-rich tourmaline in the laboratory, for example, she investigates rock flows at the Pfitscher Joch pass in Austria and how the mineral may have formed there.

Benedikt Soja, Geodesy and geophysics

Geodesist and geophysicist Benedikt Soja studies the sun's corona with the help of radio telescopes. For his master's degree at the Technical University of Vienna he developed a method for continually observing the structure and state of the sun's atmosphere. Working with researchers at NASA and TU Vienna, he prepared observation schedules for global radio telescope networks which were used successfully in 2011 and 2012. His research brings together astronomy, solar physics and geodesy. For his doctorate in Potsdam he is refining his expertise in the measurement method known as Very-Long-Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) in relation to Kalman filtering.

2014: Haytham El Atfy and Mandy Freund

Haytham El Atfy, Palynology

Haytham El Atfy's research work focuses on palynology, the scientific analysis of pollen, which gives us clues about past climate developments. El Atfy began his scientific training at Mansoura University in Egypt, where he graduated with an excellent master's thesis in 2008. In 2011 he began his doctorate with a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Frankfurt, where he is currently finishing his dissertation on "Palynology and Organic Geochemistry of the Miocene Deposits: Source Rock Evaluation and Paleoenvironmental / Paleoclimatic Interpretation, Gulf of Suez, Egypt".

Mandy Freund, Climatology

Meterologist Mandy Freund, who obtained her MSc from the Free University of Berlin in 2013, is also interested in the study and modelling of climate history, but her research focuses on periods of flood and drought. Her diploma thesis at FU Berlin and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), a Helmholtz Centre, was entitled "European Drought Reconstruction of the Past 400 Years: An Isotope-Climate Network Approach". Freund is still at the outset of her scientific career, having begun her doctorate at the University of Melbourne in 2014.

2013: Matthias Alberti, Mathis Bloßfeld, Yannick Bussweiler and Laura Klüpfel

Matthias Alberti, Geology/palaeontology

Matthias Alberti's special research focus is on sedimentary rocks from the Kachchh Basin in western India. In his work, Alberti explores the region's geological and climatic development by reference to strata in the Middle and Upper Jurassic boundary. He also establishes seasonal fluctuations in water temperatures in the Kachchh Basin. In particular, the marine temperature profiles he has reconstructed have a significance that extends far beyond their regional relevance: they suggest that there was no cooling in the studied period. Until now there has been heated debate among researchers as to whether there had been continental ice cover at that time. Alberti is currently involved in a research project to study the deeper shelf deposits at the northern margin of the Indian craton.

Mathis Bloßfeld, Geodesy/geoinformation

Satellite geodesy, that is the measurement and mapping of the Earth's surface with the aid of satellites, is Mathis Bloßfeld's area of research. One of his main topics is the Earth's oscillations, a subject that the young geoscientist studied between 2009 and 2012 as a member of the DFG Research Unit "Earth Rotation and Global Dynamic Processes". Another major area of interest is Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR), which, due to its sensitivity, is already instrumental for both the geometric and physical parameters of geodetic reference systems and which is likely to gain further importance in the context of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS).

Yannick Bussweiler, Geology/palaeontology

Using geochemical methods, Yannick Bussweiler analyses how diamonds are formed. His particular interest lies in the carrier rock kimberlite. By means of a laser application which he optimised, the early career researcher analyses the geochemistry of the melt compositions of kimberlites and the minerals that occur there, known as olivines. The most important result: a far greater proportion of the olivines derives from the primary melt than was previously assumed. With more than 50 percent carbonate minerals, the melt composition tends towards carbonatite. Bussweiler's discovery makes an important contribution to a highly topical area of research within petrology.

Laura Klüpfel, Environmental chemistry

Laura Klüpfel conducts research in the area of biogeochemistry and environmental chemistry. She is currently analysing the redox properties of various environmental phases and their importance in biogeochemical cycles. The young researcher concentrates on observing organic solid phases, which have previously received inadequate attention due to their complexity and the lack of suitable analytical methods. Klüpfel's research shows that under anoxic, i.e. oxygen-free, conditions, natural organic substances from soils, sediments and bogs absorb electrons from anaerobic microbial respiration and give off oxygen when subsequently re-aerated. Moreover, Klüpfel has been able to show for the first time that this electron transfer process is reversible. This has far-reaching implications for carbon dynamics and greenhouse gas emissions from temporarily anoxic bogs and lakes.

2012: Madgalena Hofmann, Marian Horstmann, Kerstin Perner and Alexander Rohrmann

Magdalena Hofmann, Geosciences

As part of her diploma dissertation at the Georg-August University in Göttingen, Magdalena Hofmann developed a method for precisely determining the ratio between oxygen isotopes in carbon dioxide. The isotopes show which atmospheric layers the molecules originate from, and can therefore be used as tracers for atmospheric processes. For example, carbon dioxide from the troposphere contains the stable oxygen isotope 17O. In her doctoral thesis, Hofmann is using the method to determine the origin and source of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The geoscientist has also conducted research at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. In an upcoming project in Europe, she now wants to analyse the interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere.

Marian Horstmann, Geosciences

Marian Horstmann specialises in research into meteorites. He applied geochemical, petrological and mineralogical methods to the famous Almahata Sitta meteorites to specifically assign meteorite material to a parent body, or asteroid, from space. This helps us to better understand processes in our solar system's asteroid belt, such as collisions or combinations of different meteorite types. Horstmann is also studying the oldest material in our solar system: calcium/aluminium-rich inclusions in primitive meteorites which formed at high temperatures in the solar nebula. Horstmann uses mass spectrometry to analyse their constituent trace elements in order to ascertain how they were formed, i.e. to study the processes of condensation, evaporation and magmatic origin. The DFG's selection commission was particularly impressed by his discovery of oxygen embedded in metallic sulphide intergrowth in meteorites. This discovery will be of immense importance for cosmochemistry and planetology and will help us understand how elements were distributed during the development of early Earth.

Kerstin Perner, Geography

While studying at the University of Greifswald Kerstin Perner specialised in marine geology and was a guest at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde. Her research concentrates on the link between ocean currents off western Greenland and climate fluctuations during the Holocene. Her work involves geochemical and micropalaeontological analysis of fossil material from cores of sediment and benthic and planktic foraminifera. The results indicate water temperature, salt content, mineral nutrient content and growth of sea ice over past millennia, reflecting previous fluctuations in the Earth's climate. Perner has for example proven that the influence of the cold and low-salt masses of water flowing from the polar Arctic region off West Greenland has increased over the last 2500 years. This can probably be explained by a large-scale successive change in atmospheric circulation in the North Atlantic during the Holocene. It is known that ocean currents, atmospheric fluctuations and the cryosphere constantly affect one another.

Alexander Rohrmann, Geosciences

Alexander Rohrmann impressed the commission with his vast knowledge of topics, regions and methods. He is researching the interaction of tectonics, climate and erosion, with a focus on the timing and rates at which mountain ranges rise and fall and how this impacts on rates of erosion and the climate. Rohrmann uses methods of structural geology, geochronology, sedimentology and tectonic geomorphology. He also combines geological detailed field mapping and structural and basin analysis with geochemistry, thermochronology and cosmogenic nuclide dating to investigate spatiotemporal samples of surface processes and their tectonic and climatic influences. In his master's dissertation, he reconstructed part of the story of how the Tibetan Plateau was raised. For his doctorate he is now turning his attention to the Puna Plateau in the southern Andes of Argentina. He will also be characterising palaeohydrological data such as recent rainfall distribution and isotopy over strong topographical gradients.

2011: Juliane Brust, Max Engel, Daniel Herwartz and Katrin Kieling

Juliane Brust, Geology

Juliane Brust studies Sahara sand in the depths of the ocean. In her research, she examines the ways in which wave-borne sand particles from the continents affect the bio-productivity of the deep ocean. She reconstructs, for example, changes concerning the regional locations of the deposit zones and the volume of sand deposited there. Scientific projects like these contribute much to our understanding of the complex interplay between climate change, advancing desertification and life in the oceans.

Max Engel, Geography

Max Engel’s work runs the gamut from geoarchaeology to paleo-tsunami research. In his diploma thesis, he reconstructed the dynamics of the coastline around the Poseidon sanctuary in Akovitika (Greece). He was then able to use his observations to explain the functions of the sanctuary in around 350 B.C. For his dissertation, he is now focusing on reconstructing paleo-tsunamis on the Caribbean island of Bonaire. This work not only proves the existence of prehistoric tsunamis, but also contributes to regional risk assessment information.

Daniel Herwartz, Geology

Daniel Herwartz’ work spans the intersection of geochemistry and palaeontology. As a doctoral researcher, he was the first to demonstrate that certain radiometric dating methods are unreliable for dinosaur bones. In his doctoral project, he is also concerned with radiometric dating methods. In this case, he is using a technique known as Lu-Hf dating in order to distinguish different phases in the formation of the Alps. One of his discoveries has already led to the creation of a new model of the tectonic development of the western Alps.

Katrin Kieling, Geophysics

For her doctorate, Katrin Kieling is focusing on developing a method aimed at helping scientists calculate the expansion of seismic waves more accurately. This will enable earthquakes to be predicted as realistically and quickly as possible, as the strength and variability of tremors is highly relevant in estimating a region’s seismic risk level. Improved and more flexible computer stimulations of earthquake scenarios could also be used in early response systems or in risk prevention.

2010: Juliane Hinz, Olga V. Narygina, Rebekka Steffen and Claudia Wrozyna

Juliane Hinz, Geology

Juliane Hinz’ research focuses on the reconstruction of fossil forests. For her diploma thesis, she used the latest 3-D technology to model an Upper Jurassic araucaria forest based on finds from China’s Dzungarian Basin. She modelled each individual plant in accurate detail, and used terrain data to link them together. This resulted in a highly realistic model of the forest. Her working methods, which involved combining the latest modelling methods with palaeontology, enable a more comprehensive understanding of palaeo-ecosystems. Hinz also performs research into the biomechanics of dinosaur and mammal hip joints. In mammals, the pelvis provides a stable, interconnected frame, whereas the pelvic bones of most dinosaurs are not fused. A detailed analysis is planned to clarify what this difference means for dinosaur and mammal movement.

Olga V. Narygina, Physics

Olga Narygina is a “commuter” between physics and mineralogy. In her doctoral thesis, the research for which was performed at the Bavarian Research Institute of Experimental Geochemistry and Geophysics, she demonstrated extraordinary skill in her investigation of the makeup of the Earth’s core through experiments involving extreme pressure and temperatures. Among other findings, her work has contributed to the discovery that the overwhelming majority of minerals in the Earth’s core remain heat- and light-transparent, despite high pressure. This means that the heat transfer of the Earth’s core to the mantle could be up to 50 percent higher than had previously been assumed. These findings form an important contribution to our understanding of the formation of what are known as thermal “super plumes” in the Earth’s mantle. Ms Narygina also uses synchrotron radiation to perform research into silicate perovskite, the main component of the lower mantle, in experiments replicating the pressure and temperature conditions found there.

Rebekka Steffen, Geophysics

Rebekka Steffen’s diploma thesis focused on the boundary between the Earth’s mantle and its crust. It combines measurements taken on the ground in the Tian Shan region of Central Asia and the Almaty earthquake zone in Kazakstan with satellite calculations. This enabled her to model even this inaccessible region in 3-D and to make statements about the makeup of the Earth’s crust. For her doctoral thesis, Steffen is researching the Hudson Bay, one of Canada’s most seismically active regions. There, she is investigating the interaction between the melting glaciers and the Earth’s crust. Her aim is to develop a better understanding of earthquakes. One potential use for her findings is in identifying earthquake-proof areas for the permanent storage of radioactive waste.

Claudia Wrozyna, Geoecology

Claudia Wrozyna is using ostracods from the Tibetan Plateau to investigate long-term environmental change, as well as more recent events from the last 8,000 years. Information about these events can be derived from the sediments found in the Nam Co Lake at the Earth’s “third pole”. The detailed examination of individual ostracods, as well as of larger groups of these life forms, enables both the reconstruction of the palaeoclimate and the makeup of ecosystems. One of Wrozyna’s aims is to determine the influence humans have had on the ecological changes in that region and the consequences of this influence for the Asian monsoon system.

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