Dr. Dirk Sachse

Group Leader
Dr. Dirk Sachse
Building F, Room 455
14473 Potsdam

Function and Responsibilities:

Senior Scientist  
Director Topic 5 Future Landscapes at GFZ
Link to my publication record at   Google Scholar and my   Researcher ID

Research Interests:

My research is aimed at understanding the variability of biogeochemical cycles over different timescales (101 to 106  years), as the basis of life, human societies and ecosystems.

In particluar I am interested in the mechansims and consequences of short-term changes to the hydrological cycle, and the influence of surface processes (erosion, riverine transport, mass wasting) and tectonics (mountain range uplfit, earthquakes) on the short-term and long-term development of the carbon cycle.I apply and develop organic geochemical methods and use molecular and isotopic information to detect changes in these cycles and quantify fluxes.


2021 - today: Director Topic 5, Future Landscapes at GFZ
2014 - today: Senior Scientist at GFZ Section 4.6 Geomorphology [tenured], Head of Organic Surface Geochemistry Lab  

2009 - 2014:  Emmy-Noether Research Group Leader at University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany, Institute for Earth Sciences and Leibniz Center for Surface Process and Climate Studies  

2007 - 2009:  Postdoc, Leibniz Center for Surface Process and Climate Studies at University of Potsdam, Germany 

2006 - 2007:  Postdoc, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA 

2005:             Postdoc Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA  

2005              Feodor-Lynen Research Fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation to work with: Prof. Julian P. Sachs (MIT/ University of           Washington) and Prof. Stjepko Golubic (Boston University)    


2005            PhD in Biogeochemistry, University of Jena 

2002 - 2005 PhD student, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany 

2002            Diploma in Geology, University of Jena, Germany 

1997 - 1998 Studies in Geology and spanish language, Universidad de Granada, Spain 

1995 - 2002 Studies in Geology, University of Jena, Germany


SECCO Chile - The coupled vegetation, weathering, erosion, and sediment-export response to climate change unravelled from novel proxies in Chilean marine sediment (funding through a DFG grant within the EarthShape SPP) - collaboration with H. Wittmann (GFZ) and A. Bernhardt (FU Berlin). I am responsible for reconstructing vegetation and hydrology from marine and on-shore sediments using lipid biomarker C and H isotope ratios. With jointly supervised PhD student Néstor Eduardo Gaviria Lugo at GFZ.

AIRWAVES - Building an Automated high resolution water sampler (AIRWAVES) for environmental monitoring (funding through ERC Proof-of-concept grant) 

STEEPclim - Spatiotemporal evolution of the hydrological cycle throughout the European continent during past abrupt climate changes (funding through ERC consolidator grant STEEPclim)

ROCcyle - The role of organic carbon in the global carbon cycle (funding includes Helmholtz association funding and through 2 PhD projects from the DFG-funded STRATEGY International Research Training Group

Research Boards and Committees:

Chair of the  INTIMATE (INtegrating Ice core, MArine and TErrestrial records) network (2019 - today)


2018 - ERC Proof-of-concept grant (European Research Council)
2015 - ERC Consolidator grant (European Research Council) 
2014 -   Isotope Prize of the Karleugen-Habfast-Foundation 
2009 - Emmy-Noether Excellence Grant of the DFG 
2005 - Alexander von Humboldt Posdoc fellowship 

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