Prof. Dr. Bernd Zolitschka

Position: Professor/in
Forschungsbereich: Geomorphologie und Polarforschung
Raum: FVG M2120 (Celsiusstr. 2)
Telefon: 0421-218 67150
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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 as well as first reviewer of dissertations

(year of thesis defence in brackets)

  • Janina Baier (2002)
  • Torsten Haberzettl (2006)
  • Dirk Enters (2006)
  • Britta Lüder (2007)
  • Philipp Bluszcz (2008)
  • Rostislav Neveceral (2008)
  • Stephanie Kastner (2010)
  • Annette Hahn (2012)
  • Pierre Kliem (2019)
  • Hannes Schmidt (2013)
  • Carl Henning
  • Junquiang Xu
  • Henrike Baumgarten (2015)
  • Jörn Profe (2018)
  • An-Sheng Lee
  • Stella Birlo
  • Ines Hogrefe
  • Carolina Franco-Mora



Current research projects

Completed research projects

Recent publications (2019-2020)

  • Hogrefe, I., Zolitschka, B., Frechen, M., Wonik, T., Binot, F., 2020. Der Vergangenheit von Klima und Umwelt auf der Spur: das Sedimentarchiv des Rodderbergs bei Bonn. Gmit – Geowissenschaftliche Mitteilungen 80: 24-25.

  • Irurzun, M., Palermo, P., Gogorza, C., Sinito, A., Aldana, M., Costanzo-Álvarez, V., Ohlendorf, C., Zolitschka, B. (2020). Testing lake-level reconstructions based on rock magnetic proxies for the sediment record of Laguna Cháltel (Patagonia, Argentina). Quaternary Research, 95: 113-128.

  • Jenny, J-P., S. Koirala, I. Gregoy-Eaves, P. Francus, B. Ahrens, V. Brovkin, Antti E. K. Ojala, B. Zolitschka, J. Bader, N. Carvalhais, 2020. Reply to Li et al.: Human societies began to play a significant role in global sediment transfer 4,000 years ago. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117: .

  • Kinder, M., Tylmann, T., Rzeszewski, M., Zolitschka, B., 2020. Varves and mass-movement deposits record distinctly different sedimentation dynamics since the late glacial (Lake Szurpiły, northeastern Poland). Quaternary Research 9: 299-313.

  • Mayr, C., Stojakowits, P., Lempe, B., Blaauw, M., Diersche, V., Grohganz, M., López Correa, M., Ohlendorf, C., Reimer, P., Zolitschka, B., 2020. Geochemistry, grain size and radiocarbon ages of MIS 3 sediment record from Nesseltalgraben, Germany. PANGAEA,

  • Safaierad, R., Mohtadi, M., Zolitschka, B., Yokoyama, Y., Vogt, C., Schefuß, E., 2020. Elevated dust depositions in West Asia linked to ocean-atmosphere shifts during North Atlantic cold events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 117: 18272-18277.

  • Tylmann, W., Zolitschka, B., (eds.) 2020. Annually Laminated Lake Sediments. MDPI Books, 130 pp.

  • Tylmann, W., Zolitschka, B., 2020. Annually Laminated Lake Sediments – Recent Progress. Quaternary 3(1), 5.

  • Zolitschka, B., 2020. Seesedimente als Umwelt- und Klimaarchive. In: H. Gebhardt, R. Glaser, U. Radtke, P. Reuber, A. Vött (Hrsg.), Geographie – Physische Geographie und Humangeographie, 3. Aufl., Springer Nature, Berlin; 307-308.

  • Bulian, F., Enters, D., Zolitschka, B., 2019. Carbon, nitrogen and sulphur content of sediment core VVC17 near Norderney, Wadden Sea (Germany). PANGAEA,

  • Bulian, F., Enters, D., Schlütz, F., Scheder, J., Blume, K., Zolitschka, B., Bittmann, F., 2019. Multi-proxy reconstruction of Holocene paleoenvironments from a sediment core from the Wadden Sea near Norderney, East Frisia, Germany. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 225: 106251.

  • Croudace, I.W., Löwemark, L., Tjallingii, R., Zolitschka, B., 2019. High resolution XRF core scanners: a key tool for the environmental and palaeoclimate sciences. Quaternary International 514: 1-4.

  • Croudace, I.W., Löwemark, L., Tjallingii, R., Zolitschka, B., 2019. Current perspectives on the capabilities of high resolution XRF core scanners. Quaternary International 514: 5-15.

  •  Jenny, J-P., S. Koirala, I. Gregoy-Eaves, P. Francus, C. Niemann, B. Ahrens, M. Jung, V. Brovkin, A Baud, Antti E. K. Ojala, A. Normandeau, B. Zolitschka, N. Carvalhais, 2019. Human and climate global-scale imprint on sediment transfer during the Holocene. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116: 22972-22976.

  • Kinder, M., Tylmann, W., Bubak, I., Fiłoc, M., Gąsiorowski, M., Kupryjanowicz, M., Mayr, C., Sauer, L., Voellering, U., Zolitschka, B., 2019. Human impact during the past 8,200 years: multi-proxy record of annually laminated sediments from Lake Szurpiły, northeastern Poland. Journal of Paleolimnology 61: 419-435.

  • Mayr, C., Smith, R.E., Massaferro, J., Dubois, N., García, M.L., Lücke, A., Maidana, N.I., Meier, W.J.-H., Wissel, H., Zolitschka, B., 2019. Historic eruptions of Lautaro volcano and their environmental impact as detected in lake sediments from southern Argentina. Journal of Paleolimnology 62: 205-221.

  • Mayr, C., Stojakowits, P., Lempe, B., Blaauw, M., Diersche, V., Grohganz, M., López Correa, M., Ohlendorf, C., Reimer, P., Zolitschka, B., 2019. High-resolution geochemical record of environmental changes during MIS 3 from the northern Alps (Nesseltalgraben, Germany). Quaternary Science Reviews 218: 122-136.

  • 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.

  • Smith, R.E., Smith, V., Fontijn, K., Gebhardt, C., Wastegard, S., Zolitschka, B., Ohlendorf, C., Stern, C., Mayr, C., 2019. Refining the late Quaternary tephrochronology for southern South America using the Laguna Potrok Aike sedimentary record. Quaternary Science Reviews 218: 137-156.

  • 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 29: 403-420.

10 most cited publications (>120 citations)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Haberzettl, T., Fey, M., Lücke, A., Maidana, N., Mayr, C., Ohlendorf, C., Schäbitz, F., Schleser, G.H., Wille, M. & B. Zolitschka, 2005. Climatically induced lake level changes during the last two millennia as reflected in sediments of Laguna Potrok Aike, southern Patagonia (Santa Cruz, Argentina). Journal of Paleolimnology 33: 283-302.
  4. Zolitschka, B., 1998. A 14,000 year sediment yield record from western Germany based on annually-laminated lake sediments. Geomorphology, 22: 1-17.
  5. Zolitschka, B., P. Francus, A.E.K. Ojala, A. Schimmelmann, 2015. Varves in lake sediments – a review. Quaternary Science Reviews 117: 1-41.
  6. 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.
  7. Mayr, C., Lücke, A., Stichler, W., Trimborn, P., Ercolano, B., Oliva, G., Ohlendorf, C., Soto, J., Fey, M., Haberzettl, T., Janssen, S., Schäbitz, F., Schleser, G.H., Wille, M., Zolitschka, B., 2007. Precipitation origin and evaporation of lakes in semi-arid Patagonia (Argentina) inferred from stable isotopes (δ18O, δ2H). Journal of Hydrology 334: 53-63.
  8. Hajdas, I., Zolitschka, B., Ivy, S., Beer, J., Bonani, G., Ramrath, M. & Negendank, J.F.W., 1995. AMS radiocarbon dating of annually laminated sediments from Lake Holzmaar, Germany. Quaternary Science Reviews 14: 137-143.
  9. 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
  10. Haberzettl, T., Corbella, H., M. Fey, S. Janssen, A. Lücke, C. Mayr, C. Ohlendorf, F. Schäbitz, G.-H. Schleser, E. Wessel, M. Wille, S. Wulf, B. Zolitschka, 2007. A continuous 16,000 year sediment record from Laguna Potrok Aike, southern Patagonia (Argentina): Sedimentology, chronology, geochemistry. The Holocene, 17: 297-310.

Organised workshops

  • 3th ELDP-Workshop: Mediterranean lacustrine records, October 1998 in Ptolemais (Greece) together with J. Negendank
  • 4th ELDP-Workshop: Correlation of late Weichselian and Holocene paleoenvironmental proxy data, September 1999 in Lund (Sweden), together with J. Negendank
  • 1st International 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 International ICDP-Workshop PASADO, May 2010 in Vienna, Austria
  • 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
  • 4th International ICDP-Workshop PASADO, Bremen (August 2012), Germany

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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