Welcome to the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research –

Fostered by the Helmholtz Initiative and Networking Fund, the graduate school POLMAR provides a structured qualification programme for PhD students at the Alfred Wegener Institute as supplement to their individual research work. More about POLMAR...

AWI PhD students' Award 2013

Christmas party 2013: Handover of the AWI PhD students' Award to the former POLMAR member Dr. Felizitas Bajerski (AWI Potsdam) by the Director Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte

Annette-Barthelt Prize 2013

Awarding the Annette Barthelt Prize 2013 (from left to right: Dr. Axel Möller (University of Lüneburg/Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht), Dr. Judith Hauck (AWI, POLMAR alumni), Prof. Dr. Wolf-Christian Dullo (GEOMAR, Chairman Annette Barthelt-Stiftung)

Family support by POLMAR

Polona Itkin (Climate Sciences/ Sea Ice Physics) has been able to attend seminars and make business trips thanks to the POLMAR family support programme. She took her young family with her and POLMAR covered the additional expenses. There is no minimum age limit for becoming a marine scientist!


Our former POLMAR members Nina Keul and Sven Kranz are currently holding a Postdoc position in the United States at Lamont Doherty Observatory and Princeton University, respectively. They are happy to answer your questions regarding work and life in the US. (contact via the POLMAR office)

POLMAR students work and travel all over the world

During their PhD time, several POLMAR students take the chance to participate in expeditions to the Arctic or the Antarctic or attend national and international conferences or workshops. Besides the challenge of working under extreme conditions such as low temperature or limited working spaces on research platforms, the learning of new scientific methods and the opportunity to discuss scientific results with colleagues from all over the world make such activities an unforgettable experience. Additionally, the social and intercultural experience broadens the view and may lead to long lasting friendships and networks. International experiences remain indispensible for being successful in the scientific community. POLMAR therefore strongly recommends, encourages and financially supports applications for participating in international conferences, workshops or seminars that are related to the respective PhD project. In the following there will be provided some short reports of POLMAR students on recent activities.

POLMAR-funded research stay in Canada (M. Hoins)

In autumn/winter 2013 POLMAR funded my three months research stay at the ISMER-UQAR in Canada. During this time, the purpose was to do an essential part of the laboratory work for my PhD project, which is about developing a new proxy for atmospheric CO2 based on the stable carbon isotope fractionation of dinoflagellates (unicellular algae). My project is divided into two major parts: one conducted at the AWI, where I am investigating carbon isotope fractionation of motile dinoflagellate cells and the second at the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, where I am working on fossil dinoflagellate cysts found in sediment cores. The experiments at ISMER were designed to quantify the isotopic relation between cells and cysts. To this end I isolated dinoflagellate cysts from sediments to let them develop into monoclonal strains for further experiments under controlled carbonate chemistry conditions. During my stay at ISMER I was able to learn state-of-the-art techniques needed for such experiments. Furthermore working abroad was a great opportunity to learn about different perspectives and social life. I consider this experience as beneficial for both my scientific carreer and my personal development and thank POLMAR for making it possible.