Bernd Zolitschka

Position: Professor
Research Area: Geomorphology and Polar Research
Location: FVG M2120 (Celsiusstr. 2)
Phone: 0421-218 67150
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Office hours

I offer consultation and information to all students - please make an appointment via E-Mail.


  • Coordinator of the M.Sc. program "Physical Geography: Environmental History" (since 2015)
  • Dean of Faculty 8 (2013-2017)
  • Vice-Dean of Faculty 8 (2009-2013)
  • Chair of the doctoral committee Dr. rer. nat. at Faculty 8 (since 2003)
  • Director of the Institute of Geography (2001-2009)
  • Chair of the academic planning committee in geography (2001-2009)
  • Member of the Department Executive Committee of Faculty 8 (XI: 2001-2003)

Curriculum vitae

  • since 2000: Professor of Physical Geography with a focus on geomorphology and polar research at the University of Bremen
  • 1997: Habilitation (Dr. rer. nat. habil.) at the University of Potsdam on „Paleoclimatic significance of laminated lake sediments“
  • 1994–2000: Senior scientist at the German GeoForschungsZentrum in Potsdam
  • 1992–1994: Postdoctoral scientist at the University of Trier
  • 1991–1992: Visiting Professor at the Climate Systems Research Center, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, USA
  • 1990–1991: Postdoctoral scientist at the University of Trier
  • 1990: Dissertation (Dr. rer. nat.) at the University of Trier on "Late-Quaternary annually laminated sediments from selected Eifel maar lakes"
  • 1986-1990: Doctoral scholarship at the University of Trier
  • 1986: Diploma in Applied Physical Geography with additional focus on geology, soil science and geobotanics at the University of Trier

Research foci

  • Natural and human control on geomorphological and sedimentological processes
  • Quaternary paleoclimatology
  • Annually laminated lake sediments - a tool for dating and high-resolution environmental reconstruction

Current and past Ph.D. students

  • Torsten Haberzettl
  • Dirk Enters
  • Britta Lüder
  • Philipp Bluszcz
  • Stephanie Kastner
  • Annette Hahn
  • Pierre Kliem
  • Henrike Baumgarten
  • Jörn Profe
  • An-Sheng Lee


Research projects

Current research projects

Recent publications (2016-2018)

The entire list of references is available here.
  • Zolitschka, B., Fey, M., Janssen, S., Maidana, N.I., Mayr, C., Wulf, S., Haberzettl, T., Corbella, H., Lücke, A., Ohlendorf, C., Schäbitz, F., 2019. Southern Hemispheric Westerlies control sedimentary processes of Laguna Azul (south-eastern Patagonia, Argentina). The Holocene (accepted).
  • Palermo, P., Irurzun, M.A., Gogorza, C., Sinito, A.M., Ohlendorf, C., Zolitschka, B., 2019. Rock-magnetic and paleomagnetic studies on late-Holocene sediments from Laguna Cháltel (Patagonia, Argentina). Journal of South American Earth Sciences 90: 204-215.
  • Profe, J., Neumann, L., Novothny, A., Barta, G., Rolf, C., Frechen, M., Ohlendorf, C., Zolitschka, B., 2018. Persistent arid climatic conditions during the last glacial-/interglacial cycle deduced from geochemical data of the loess-paleosol sequence at Süttő (Hungary). Quaternary Science Reviews 196: 21-37.
  • Profe, J., Wacha, L., Frechen, M., Ohlendorf, C., Zolitschka, B., 2018. XRF scanning of discrete samples – a chemostratigraphic approach exemplified for loess-paleosol sequences from the Island of Susak, Croatia. Quaternary International 494: 52-65.
  • Eichhorn, L., Pirrung, M., Büchel, G., Zolitschka, B., 2017. Pleniglacial sedimentation process reconstruction on laminated lacustrine sediments from lava-dammed Paleolake Alf, West Eifel Volcanic Field (Germany). Quaternary Science Reviews 172: 83-95.
  • Kliem, P., Baumgarten, H., C. Gebhardt, A. Hahn, C. Ohlendorf, B. Zolitschka, 2017. Periodic 1.5 ka climate variations during MIS 2 in the belt of Southern Hemispheric Westerlies. Quaternary Research 88: 110-120.
  • Mayr, C., Matzke-Karasz, R., Stojakowits, P., Lowick, S.E., Zolitschka, B., Heigl, T., Mollath, R., Theuerkauf, M., Weckend, M.-O., Bäumler, R., Gregor, H.-J., 2017. Palaeoenvironments during MIS 3 and MIS 2 inferred from lacustrine intercalations in the loess-palaeosol sequence at Bobingen (southern Germany). E&G Quaternary Science Journal 66: 73-89.
  • Smidt, C., Wolters, S., Zolitschka, B., 2017. Pingo-Ruinen: Nachweis und flächenhafte Verbreitung periglazialer Relikte südlich von Friedeburg (Ostfriesland). Nachrichten des Marschenrates zur Förderung der Forschung im Küstengebiet der Nordsee 54: 39-50.
  • Hockun, K., G. Mollenhauer, S.L. Ho, J. Hefter, C. Ohlendorf, B. Zolitschka, C. Mayr, A. Lücke, E. Schefuß, 2016. Using distributions and compound-specific isotopes of n-alkanes to disentangle organic matter contributions to sediments of Laguna Potrok Aike, Argentina. Organic Geochemistry 102: 110-119.
  • Jenny, J.-P., A. Normandeau, P. Francus, Z.E. Taranu, I. Gregory-Eaves, F. Lapointe, J. Jautzy, A.E.K. Ojala, J.-M. Dorioz, A. Schimmelmann, B. Zolitschka, 2016. Urban point sources of nutrients were the leading cause for the historical spread of hypoxia across European lakes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 113: 12655-12660.
  • Jenny, J.-P., P. Francus, A. Normandeau, F. Lapointe, M.-E. Perga, A.E.K. Ojala, A. Schimmelmann, B. Zolitschka, 2016. Global spread of hypoxia in freshwater ecosystems during the last three centuries is caused by rising local human pressure. Global Change Biology 22: 1481-1489.
  • Profe, J., Zolitschka, B., Schirmer, W., Frechen, M., Ohlendorf, C., 2016. Geochemistry unravels MIS 3/2 paleoenvironmental dynamics at the loess–paleosol sequence Schwalbenberg II, Germany. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 459: 537-551. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.07.022
  • Schimmelmann, A., Lange, C.B., Schieber, J., Francus, P., Ojala, A.E.K., Zolitschka, B., 2016. Varves in marine sediments: A review. Earth-Science Reviews 159: 215-246.

Most cited publications

  • Zolitschka, B., P. Francus, A.E.K. Ojala, A. Schimmelmann, 2015. Varves in lake sediments – a review. Quaternary Science Reviews 117: 1-41.
  • Zolitschka, B., C. Rolf, Bittmann, F., F. Binot, M. Frechen, T. Wonik, N. Froitzheim, C. Ohlendorf, 2014. Pleistocene climatic and environmental variations inferred from a terrestrial sediment record – the Rodderberg Volcanic Complex near Bonn, Germany. Zeitschrift der Deutschen Geowissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft - German Journal of Geosciences, 165: 407-427.
  • Zolitschka, B., F. Anselmetti, D. Ariztegui, H. Corbella, P. Francus, A. Lücke, N. Maidana, C. Ohlendorf, F. Schäbitz, S. Wastegard, 2013. Environment and climate of the last 51,000 years – new insights from the Potrok Aike maar lake sediment archive drilling project (PASADO). Quaternary Science Reviews, 71: 1-12.
  • Ojala, A.E.K., Francus, P., Zolitschka, B., Besonen, M. and Lamoureux, S.F. (2012).The chronological characteristics of sedimentary varves – a review. Quaternary Science Reviews 43: 45-60.
  • Mayr, C., M. Wille, T. Haberzettl, M. Fey, S. Janssen, A. Lücke, C. Ohlendorf, G. Oliva, F. Schäbitz, G.-H. Schleser, B. Zolitschka (2007). Holocene variability of the Southern Hemisphere Westerlies in Argentinean Patagonia (52°S). Quaternary Science Reviews, 26: 579-584.
  • Zolitschka, B., Schäbitz, F., Lücke, A., Clifton, G., Corbella, H., Ercolano, B., Haberzettl, T., Maidana, N., Mayr, C., Ohlendorf, C., Oliva, G., Paez, M.M., Schleser, G.H., Soto, J., Tiberi, P., Wille, M. (2006). Crater lakes of the Pali Aike Volcanic Field as key sites of paleoclimatic and paleoecological reconstructions in southern Patagonia, Argentina. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 21: 294-309.
  • Zolitschka, B., K.-E. Behre & J. Schneider (2003). Human and climatic impact on the environment as derived from colluvial, fluvial and lacustrine archives – Examples from the Bronze Age to the Migration period, Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews 22: 81-100.
  • Zolitschka, B., Mingram, J., van der Gaast, S., Jansen, J.H.F. & R. Naumann, 2001. Sediment logging techniques. In: Last, W.M., J.P. Smol (eds.), Tracking environmental change using lake sediments. Vol. 1: Basin analysis, coring and chronological techniques, Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research 17: 137-153.
  • Zolitschka, B., A. Brauer, H. Stockhausen, A. Lang, J.F.W. Negendank, 2000. Annually dated late Weichselian continental palaeoclimate record from the Eifel, Germany. Geology, 28: 783-786.<783:ADLWCP>2.0.CO;2
  • Allen, J.R.M., U. Brandt, A. Brauer, H. Hubberten, B. Huntley, J. Keller, M. Kraml, J. Mingram, J.F.W. Negendank, N.R. Nowaczyk, H. Oberhänsli, W.A. Watts, S. Wulf, B. Zolitschka, 1999. Rapid last glacial environmental fluctuations: new evidence from southern Europe. Nature, 400: 740-743.
  • Zolitschka, B. (1998): A 14,000 year sediment yield record from western Germany based on annually-laminated lake sediments. Geomorphology, 22: 1-17.
  • Hardy, D.R., Bradley, R.S. & Zolitschka, B. (1996): The climatic signal in varved sediments from Lake C2, northern Ellesmere Island. Journal of Paleolimnology, 16: 227-238.
  • Zolitschka, B. & Negendank, J.F.W. (1996): Sedimentology, dating and palaeoclimatic interpretation of a 76.3 kyr record from Lago Grande di Monticchio, southern Italy. Quaternary Sience Reviews, 15: 101-112.

Organised workshops

  • ICDP-Workshop PASADO, March 2006 in Rio Gallegos, Argentina
  • 1st PAGES Varve Working Group workshop “Advances in Varved Sediment Studies since the last 10 years”, Palmse Manor House (ca 80 km east of Tallinn), Estonia (March 2010), together with Pierre Francus, Antti Ojala, Rick Behl and Martin Grosjean
  • 2nd PAGES Varve Working Group workshop “Learning from Other Communities—Towards More Robust Varve Chronologies”, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA (March 2011), together with Mark Besonen, Pierre Francus, Antti Ojala and Rick Behl
  • 3rd PAGES Varve Working Group workshop “Proxy calibration and validation”, Manderscheid, Germany (March 2012), together with Pierre Francus and Antti Ojala

Convener at scientific conferences

  • “Varves as high-resolution archives of past climate and environmental change”, Joint Meeting of IPA and IAL “Unravelling the Past and Future of Lakes” in Stockholm (June 2018), together with Antti E.K. Ojala, Arndt Schimmelmann, Pierre Francus and Achim Brauer
  • “Varved sediments and the Anthropocene”, International Sedimentological Congress in Québec City (August 2018), together with Jean-Philippe Jenny, Blas Valero Garcés, Achim Brauer, Irene Gregory-Eaves, Antti E. K. Ojala, Arndt Schimmelmann and Małgorzata Kinder
  • “Sediment Flux: Past Peaks and Troughs”, PAGES Open Science Meeting in Zaragoza (May 2017) together with Peter Gell and Fabien Arnaud
  • Member of the Scientific Committee and chair of the session “Sedimentary sequences and paleoclimate records of maars”, 6th International Maar Conference (IMC) in Changchun (July/August 2016) together with Mordechai Stein, Guoqiang Chu and Patrick Rioual
  • “Natural and man-made environmental perturbations recorded in sediment archives with high resolution”, XIX INQUA Congress, Nagoya, Japan (July-Aug. 2015), together with A. Ojala, H. Kitagawa, P. Francus, M. Okuno, A. Schimmelmann, K. Yamada and Y. Yasuda
  • “What’s up with varves?”, 19th International Sedimentological Congress Geneva, Switzerland (August 2014), together with P. Francus, A. Ojala, and A. Schimmelmann
  • “Environmental and climatic changes on a human time scale – Varves and other high-resolution sedimentary records with up to decadal resolution”, AGU Fall Meeting 2013 in San Francisco, USA (December 2013), together with Pierre Francus and Antti Ojala
  • Global Lake Drilling in the 21st Century: The Emergence of Long Continental Paleoenvironmental Records”, AGU Fall Meeting 2009 in San Francisco, USA (December 2009), together with Daniel Ariztegui and Julie Brigham-Grette
  • „New directions in maar palaeoclimate research“, INQUA 2007 in Cairns, Australia (July/August 2007), together with Paul Augustinus and Phil Shane
  • "Lacustrine records across Latin-America: High-Resolution Archives of Environmental Variability", AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco (December 2004), together with Daniel Ariztegui and Mark Abbott
  • "Quaternary climate evolution", GEO Leipzig (September/October 2004), together with Michael Pirrung
  • "The Late-Quaternary of South-America - biological and sedimentological archives for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions", DEUQUA 2004 in Nijmegen (August/September 2004), together with Daniel Ariztegui

Schimmelmann, A., Lange, C.B., Schieber, J., Francus, P., Ojala, A.E.K., Zolitschka, B., 2016. Varves in marine sediments: A review. Earth-Science Reviews 159: 215-246.

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