Cooperation Professorship Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)

Geology of the Tropics

Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal

1994 Diploma University of Tübingen
1997 Doctorate University of Kiel
2004 Habilitation University of Tübingen

1992-1993 University of Queens-land, Brisbane, Australia
1998-1999 University of Miami, USA 1999-2003 University of Hannover, Germany
2003-2004 University of Erlangen
2005-2010 University of Bremen
2010 University of Heidelberg
2021-2023 Visiting Faculty, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia

Professor in Bremen and at the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) since 2010

Research areas:
Carbonate sedimentology, palecology, coastal biogeology

We study biologically formed sediments in tropical shallow seas. In particular, we investigate the influence of changed environmental conditions – such as ocean acidification, sea level rise, increases in water temperature as well as eutrophication – on these biogenic systems. As an example: Increased nutrient content leads to a shift from tropical coral reefs to deposition systems characterised by filter organisms such as for example mussels and bryozoans. This effect has consequences for the services of tropical coastal ecosystems. At the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) we conduct interdisciplinary research and combine natural and social sciences. We closely cooperate with our partners in the tropics and support the development of local capacities, expertise and structures for sustainable coastal zone management.

Working Area

Tropical shallow-water seas: Ghana, Mauritania, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Galapagos, Bahamas and other regions along the tropical belt


Petrography, light and scanning electron microscopy, experimental ecology, geochemistry, sediment analyses, field work