Laurenz Thomsen


Department of Marine
Visiting address
Medicinaregatan 7B
413 90 Göteborg
Room number

About Laurenz Thomsen


Understanding global change and its societal impacts also requires advancing and applying process oriented research in sedimentology in an interdisciplinary approach. For more than 20 years I study the hydrodynamic behavior of fine organo-mineral aggregates: mud. Mud is the dominant surface cover in the ocean and is very complex as a substance. It comprises many small inorganic particles that freely bind with organic matter. I use field studies to explore small-scale, basic processes of erosion, deposition and transport, use remote sensing to investigate larger scale patterns of sediment distribution, and models to predict the fate of mud in the ocean. I quantified organo-mineral aggregates at continental margins and investigated their transport behavior and scavenging rate [1, 2, 3], their capability to transfer organic carbon and pollutants into ecosystems [4, 6, 7]. I investigated their importance to prevent an efflux of dissolved substances [5]. I collaborated with modelers to improve particle transport models using real data from field studies [6, 8, 9] and joined an international team of experts to develop monitoring and a conservation strategy for policy makers [10]. I am convinced that novel monitoring technologies will drastically increase our understanding of particle transport processes in the Anthropocene [5, 7]. These studies can only be successfully accomplished with interdisciplinary research. Therefore I joined or coordinated research groups from different disciplines of ocean sciences.

[1-10]: marked in the list of my publications in my Résumé (CV)


Teaching since 1992 as Postdoc, since 1998 as lecturer, since 2001 as professor at Jacobs University, at the Max Planck Institute in Bremen, at the University of Washington, Seattle. Main teaching activities are related to Marine Geology, Continental Margin Processes, Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Marine Environments.


Member of the Senate Commission on Oceanography of DFG (1) (2012 to 2017 which evaluated project proposals and coordinated the activities of the DFG in the field of marine research, discussed the relevant Priority Programs and Collaborative Research Centers and decided on shiptime and new instrumentation for the large German research vessels “Meteor” and “Maria Merian”. Associate editor of “Elementa” (2) (since 2013). Workpackage leader of three international projects, Coordinator of seven (inter)national projects with science and industry. Member of the Annette Barthelt Foundation for the promotion of young scientists in oceanography; Member of the student admission group at Jacobs University (2002 – 2006); Program coordinator for Earth&Space Sciences study program at Jacobs University (2008-2011). PI in > 20 research cruises to the North Sea, Baltic Sea, North Atlantic, Arctic and NE Pacific. Chief scientist on RV Alkor and co-chief scientist on RV Meteor and Polarstern.