Geomorphology and Polar Research


The Geomorphology and Polar Research Group (GEOPOLAR) at the Institute of Geography investigates past climate and environmental changes. For this purpose, natural archives, such as lake sediments, are analyzed.

For thousands of years, people have been interacting with their environment. However, anthropogenic influences had only minor effects in the past. During the last few decades, i.e. since 1950, there has been significant intensification of human impact with major environmental consequences. These impacts not only changed our environment but also caused socio-economic consequences on Earth. In order to better assess these developments, instrumental environmental data are collected worldwide. However,  such data reach back in time only for a few decades. In order to collect environmental information from the last centuries or even millennia, GEOPOLAR has specialized on investigating natural archives as this is the only data source providing records of natural climatic and environmental variability. This improves our understanding of environmental systems and, in turn, makes assessments of currently ongoing and future environmental developments more realistically.

The focus of the GEOPOLAR working group is on precisely dated sediment sequences, which are examined by using high-resolution scanning techniques and a wide range of sedimentological and geochemical methods. Integrated into interdisciplinary and international research programs, we examine natural archives in the Eifel region (Germany), in Patagonia (Argentina), in the Masurian Lakeland (Poland), in Labrador (Canada) and in the state of Victoria (Australia).





Your way to us:

The GEOPOLAR facilities are located on campus of the University of Bremen in the building called “Forschungsverfügungsgebäude-Mitte” (FVG-M). You can reach this building via the “Universitäts-Boulevard” (university boulevard), the central pedestrian area on campus. At its western end, exit downwards via stairs. The brick building (now in front of you to the right) is the FVG building located in direct extension of the university boulevard. The GEOPOLAR lab is located on the ground floor and offices on the second floor of the central part of this building (FVG-M).


AG Geopolar, University of Bremen
Celsiusstr. FVG-Mitte, 28359 Bremen

Secretary: Britta Schülzke

Phone: 0421 218 67152

E-Mail: britta.schuelzkeprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de




The geomorphological-sedimentological laboratory (GEOPOLAR lab) is equipped for field work to recover short and >20 m-long sediment cores from lakes and to monitor the particle flux in the water column of lakes. Furthermore, the laboratory is designed for non-destructive and continuous investigation of sediment cores with physical and geochemical techniques with high sample throughput, as it is necessary for the study of high-resolution sediment sequences from natural environmental archives. The following devices with high operational capacity are available:


Field equipment

  • Coring platform motorised with a long-shaft outboard engine and two different-sized rubber boats either with combustion or electric outboard engines
  • Field generator (220 V)
  • Surveying instruments including a differential Global Positioning System (dGPS)
  • Sediment echograph
  • Several gravity coring systems (diameter: 60 mm) to recover the sediment/water interface and surface sediments of up to 2.5 m in length
  • Niederreiter piston coring system to recover long sediment cores (diameters: 60/90 mm)
  • Hand-operated winch with a Ruttner water sampler
  • Multiparameter sonde to measure temperature, pH, electrical conductivity, oxygen content and redox potential
  • CTD (conductivity, temperature, depth) sonde with turbidity sensor
  • Computer-controlled sediment trap (Technicap PPS 4/3) for sequential collection of particle samples in the water column


Laboratory equipment

  • Lake core repository, i.e. a walk-in cold room (+4°C) for the storage of sediment cores
  • Mechanic core splitter for precise core splitting of PVC-liners with up to 90 mm diameter
  • XRF core scanner (ITRAX, Cox Analytics) for major and trace element analysis including digital line-scanning and radiographic image capturing systems with a resolution of 200 µm
  • Scanning system for magnetic susceptibility using Bartington MS2E and MS2F point sensors; this scanning device can be equipped with a loop sensor (Bartington MS2C) for whole core measurements
  • Bartington MS2B sensor for frequency dependent determination of magnetic susceptibility
  • Equipment to shock freeze, freeze dry (LYOVAC GT2) and impregnate soft sediments
  • Petrographic (polarizing) microscopes and binoculars with conventional and digital image capturing systems
  • CNS elemental analyser (EURO-EA, HEKAtech with TOC-kit) for the determination of total carbon (TC) - after removal of carbonates also of total organic carbon (TOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC), total nitrogen (TN) and total sulphur (TS)
  • Muffle furnace (NABERTHERM) to determine loss on ignition at various temperatures
  • Continuous flow system with UV-VIS spectrometry (SKALAR) for the determination of biogenic silica
  • Laser-granulometry (LS 200, BECKMAN-COULTER) for grain-size analyses ranging from 0.4-2000 µm
  • Sieving machine (RETSCH) for grain-size measurements ranging from 0.063-20 mm



click here for Geopolar team