Environmental History and Archives

Photo core drilling on tidal land, Pellworm

As well as being a part of nature, man stands in a relationship of exchanges with nature. Environmental history concerns itself with this relationship and its role throughout the course of human history. An extension of this definition would include man's perception and interpretations of nature that have varied according to epoch. Man finds himself in a state of tension between Nature, of which he is a product, and Culture, which is the product of his own thinking and behavior. Environmental history probes this tension, impelling itself by means of investigative questions arising between the natural sciences and the humanities.

Photo fieldwork, Pellworm

In order to reconstruct environmental histories of the highly varied regions of the earth, the reference point for the junior research groups lies quite clearly in the natural sciences. A prominent role is played by radiometric C14 dating, especially for age-depth-models of sediment bodies and for chronology modeling of cultural phases. High resolution C14-dating is a basic principle for correlating environmental data (lake sediment cores or alluvial terraces, for example) with historical sources (written records, maps, or paintings) that often provide very precise dating. Another methodical focus lies in high resolution, geochemical methods of analysis, in XRF-scans of sediment cores, for example.

Geographically, the group is concentrating on the eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, and on South America.


Members of the Department

The research group together with colleagues of the Peloponnese-Project
The research group together with colleagues of the Peloponnese-Project


Master Thesis (open positions)

  • Investigating the quaternary palaeoenvironment of the northern Peloponnesus (Greece) more
  • The Enviornmental History of Alpine micro bogs

Master Thesis (running/completed)

  • Sebastian Block Munguia: Where are the fossils? Modelling the distribution of the Late Pleistocene Sahul fauna. (completed: 2015)
  • David Brandes: Kalibration von Blattwachslipiden auf der Peloponnes (Griechenland) als Werkzeug zur Paläoumweltrekonstruktion (completed 2017)
  • Inken Buth: GIS-gestützte Biotopverbundmodellierung der Feuchtlebensräume an der Grenze von Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein im Bereich des Wittmoores (completed 2020)
  • Sina Danehl: Anthropogenic interference in the marine ecosystem of the Galápagos – Conflicts and apporaches with focus on fisheries (completed: 2014)
  • Thomas Dünwald: The influence of the fungicide use in soils and aquatic sediments. Case study the Aetoliko Lagoon, Western Greece (completed 2016)
  • Scott Fick: A Field Guide to the Quaternary Environment of the Northern Peloponnese (completed 2016)
  • Michael Follath: Climate experience – Experience climate: A holistic approach within the framework of the 'Sylter Klimatage 2015' to contribute to the continuation of the UN-decade education for sustainable development (completed: 2015)
  • Jennifer Hinz: Analysen zur Landnutzung und Evapotranspiration in der Peloponnes (completed 2020)
  • Joshua Kiesel: Comparing total and diffusive oxygen uptake rates of shelf and deep sea sediments from the Arctic Ocean. (completed 2016)
  • Joachim Mischke: Investigation of monsoon variability through lake sediment analysis of Ea Tyn Lake (Vietnam) a paleoenvironmental study (completed 2021)
  • Theresa Warnk: Microbogs as palaeo-environmental archives of the central Alps (completed 2015)
  • Tim Zapletan: The Holocene develpoment of Lake Winderatter See and the Kielstau Catchment (completed 2016)

Bachelor Thesis

  • Lisa Barchfeld: Berge aus Sand – Auswirkungen der Entwicklung des Kniepsandes und der Dünen auf die Landschaftsnutzung der Insel Amrum (completed 2020)
  • Sophie Heins: Entwicklung eines Hochmoores – Das Tister Bauernmoor im Wandel der Zeit (completed 2020)
  • Lea Holtmann: Waldumbau - eine vergleichende Untersuchung zu modernen Waldmanagement-Strategien in den schottischen Highlands und im Schwarzwald (completed 2021)
  • Lina Kühlcke: Herausforderung Küstenschutz in Deutschland – Erörterung der Implementierung eines naturbasierten Ansatzes auf regionaler und lokaler Ebene (completed 2020)
  • Lukas Lorig: Die Auswirkungen von Wiederaufforstung am Beispiel des Nigers in der Sahelzone Lösungsansätze durch die Anwendung der FMNR-Methode (completed 2020)
  • Daniel Radeck: Inwieweit kann die Nutzung von Geographischen Informationssystemen im Schulunterricht durch eine Mobile Applikation im Rahmen einer Kurzexkursion vereinfacht werden? (completed 2021)
  • Marlene Reichert: An Approach to Assess the fit for the Future of Mobile Water Barriers (completed 2021)
  • Marcel Schlüter: Akteure der deutschen Fischereiwirtschaft und nachhaltige Entwicklung am Beispiel des Fischereidruckes auf den westlichen Ostseedorsch (completed 2020)
  • Jana Waldschmidt: Ein Vergleich der Marinen-Isotopenstufen 11 und 1 unter Einbezug des holozänen Klimawandels (completed 2019)
  • Jesper Weishaupt: Artificial snow production under future climate conditions – possibilities and limitations (completed 2021)


  • Peloponnese
    Transformations in Early Greek Societies and Landscapes (SFB1266-TP-E1). more
  • Alps
    Climate, Environment and Human impact in the Central Alps during the Holocene. more
  • Paddysoil
    14C AMS as a tracer to study carbon dynamics resulting from paddy management. more