Prof. Dr. Bernd Zolitschka

Field of research: Geomorphology and Polar Research

Room: FVG M2120 (Celsiusstr. 2)

Phone: 0049-(0)421-218 67150

E-mail: zoliprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Consultation hours: anytime, after appointment via e-mail



  • Quaternary palaeoclimatology
  • Investigation of terrestrial environmental archives
  • Natural and human control on geomorphological and sedimentological processes
  • Annually laminated lake sediments as a tool for dating and high-resolution environmental reconstruction


Profiles with international research portals


Research projects

  • The Wadden Sea Archive of landscape evolution, climate change and settlement history: exploration – analysis – predictive modelling (WASA): funded 2016-2020 by the Volkswagen foundation - project link. Currently, funding for a dissertation is still active for a dissertation at the National Taiwan University (NTU)
  • Suborbital-scale climate variability of the last three glacial/interglacial cycles – high-resolution environmental reconstructions from sediments of the Rodderberg crater (Germany): funded by DFG - project link 
  • High-resolution multiproxy investigation of varved lake sediments from Holzmaar, Westeifel Volcanic Field: funded by internal budgets of the University of Bremen
  • Untangling the diatom record at the Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition: a paleolimnological study of the varved sediment record of Holzmaar, Germany: funded by Georg Forster-Research scholarship for postdoctoral scientists of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • Environmental and climate reconstruction for Chilean Patagonia - Investigations of lacustrine sediment records from the Chile Chico Plateau and its surrounding area: funded by a doctoral scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Regional reconstruction of water availability to extend instrumental hydroclimatic records into the Late Holocene – a high-resolution investigation of natural archives dated in calendar-years from maar-lake sediments in the Newer Volcanic Province, south-eastern Australia (NVP): funded by DFG - project link


Publications with >200 citations

  • 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., P. Francus, A.E.K. Ojala, A. Schimmelmann, 2015. Varves in lake sediments – a review. Quaternary Science Reviews 117: 1-41.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Most recent publications (2022-2019)

  • García, M.L., Birlo, S., Zolitschka, B., 2022. Paleoenvironmental changes of the last 16,000 years based on diatom and geochemical stratigraphies from the varved sediment of Holzmaar (West-Eifel Volcanic Field, Germany). Quaternary Science Reviews, 293.
  • Lee, A.-S., Chao, W.-S., Liou, S.Y.H., Tiedemann, R., Zolitschka, B., Lembke-Jene, L., 2022. Quantifying calcium carbonate and organic carbon content in marine sediments from XRF-scanning spectra with a machine learning approach. Scientific Reports, 12: 20860.
  • Lee, A.-S., Enters, D., Huang, J.-J.S., Ya Hsuan Liou, S., Zolitschka, B., 2022. An automatic sediment-facies classification approach using machine learning and feature engineering. Communications Earth & Environment, 3: 294.
  • Reiss, L., Stüwe, C., Einwögerer, T., Händel, M., Maier, A., Meng, S., Pasda, K., Simon, U., Zolitschka, B., Mayr, C., 2022. Evaluation of geochemical proxies and radiocarbon data from a loess record of the Upper Palaeolithic site Kammern-Grubgraben, Lower Austria. E&G Quaternary Science Journal 71: 23-43.
  • Zolitschka, B., Polgar, I.S., Behling, H., 2022. Created by the Monte Peron rock avalanche: Lago di Vedana (Dolomites, Italy) and its sediment record of landscape evolution after a mass wasting event. Landslides. 19: 297-311.
  • Charqueño-Celis, F., Sigala, I., Zolitschka, B., Pérez, L., Mayr, C., Massaferro, J., 2021. Response of testate amoebae assemblages (Amoebozoa: Arcellinida) to recent volcanic events in Laguna Verde (southern Patagonia, Argentina). Journal of Paleolimnology 67: 115-129.
  • Lee, A.-S., Enters, D., Titschack, J., Zolitschka, B., 2021. Facies characterisation of sediments from the East Frisian Wadden Sea (Germany): new insights from down-core scanning techniques. The Netherlands Journal of Geosciences 100: e8.
  • Maier, A., Stojakowits, P., Mayr, C., Pfeifer, S., Preusser, F., Zolitschka, B., Anghelinu, M., Bobak, D., Duprat-Oualid, F., Einwögerer, T., Hambach, U., Händel, M., Kaminská, L., Kämpf, L., Łanczont, M., Lehmkuhl, F., Ludwig, P., Magyari, E., Mroczek, P., Nemergut, A., Nerudová, Z., Niţă, L., Polanská, M., Połtowicz-Bobak, M., Rius, D., Römer, W., Simon, U., Škrdla, P., Újvári, G., Veres, D., 2021. Cultural evolution and environmental change in Central Europe between 40 and 15 ka. Quaternary International 581-582: 225-240.
  • Zolitschka, B., Lee, A.-S., Piraquive Bermúdez, D., Giesecke, T., 2021. Environmental variability at the margin of the South American Monsoon System recorded by a high-resolution sediment record from Lagoa Dourada (South Brazil). Quaternary Science Reviews 272: 107204.
  • 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: 5571-5572.
  • 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.
  • Zolitschka, B., 2020. Eisstauseen und Warven. In: Ehlers, J., Das Eiszeitalter (2. Aufl.), 137-141.
  • 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.




(year of graduation provided in brackets)

  • Baier, Janina (2002)
  • Baumgarten, Henrike (2015)
  • Birlo, Stella (ongoing)
  • Bluszcz, Philipp (2008)
  • Enters, Dirk (2006)
  • Franco-Mora, Carolina (ongoing)
  • Haberzettl, Torsten (2006)
  • Hahn, Annette (2012)
  • Kastner, Stephanie (2010)
  • Kliem, Pierre (2019)
  • Lee, An-Sheng (2022)
  • Lüder, Britta (2007)
  • Neveceral, Rostislav (2008)
  • Profe, Jörn (2018)
  • Schmidt, Hannes (2013)


Academic self-government

  • Chair of the Academic Planning Committee in Geography (since 2021)
  • Coordinator of the international M.Sc. program "Physical Geography: Environmental History" (2015-2021)
  • Dean of Faculty 08 (2013-2017)
  • Vice-Dean of Faculty 08 (2009-2013)
  • Chair of the Doctoral Committee Dr. rer. nat. at Faculty 8 (2003-2022)
  • Director of the Institute of Geography (2001-2009)
  • Member of the Department Executive Committee of Faculty 08 (2001-2003)
  • Chair of the Academic Planning Committee in Geography (2001-2009)




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 Potsdam
  • 1991–1992: Visiting Professor at the Climate Systems Research Center, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, USA
  • 1990–1994: 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: Diploma in Applied Physical Geography with minors in geology, soil sciences and geobotany at the University of Trier