Prof. Dr. Dirk Sachse
Function and Responsibilities:Senior Scientist
My research is aimed at understanding the variability of biogeochemical cycles - in particular the carbon cycle - 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 abrupt 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 investigate, how natural and anthropogenic landscapes act as sinks, reactors and sources of carbon. I aim to understand and quantify how human activities alter the Earth’s surface and in particular the carbon cycle. I develop concepts for a sustainable (carbon neutral or carbon negative) use of future landscapes.
I apply and develop organic geochemical methods and use molecular and isotopic information to detect changes in these cycles and quantify fluxes.
- 2023 - today: Professor for Organic Geochemistry of the Earth's Surface System at Humboldt University Berlin
- 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 - 2006: 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.
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)