Research Unit 4: Dynamics of the Ocean Floor

FE Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Marine Mineral Resources (MMR)

Room: 8/A-114
Fon: +49 431 600-1420
E-Mail: ssander(at)

Wischhofstrasse 1-3
D-24148 Kiel

Education and Career

  • since September 2021 Helmholtz Distinguished Professor for Marine Mineral Resources GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • August 2017-2021 Section Head/Laboratory Head Marine Environmental Studies Laboratory IAEA/Monaco
  • since February 2018 Honorary Research Associate Professor University Otago/New Zealand
  • 2014-2017 Research Associate Professor University Otago/New Zealand
  • 2013-2017 Director of the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA)/University of Otago Research Centre for Oceanography
  • 2001-2014 Research Fellow University Otago/New Zealand
  • 1999-2001 Metrohm Autolab formerly EcoChemie BV, Netherlands (Management team, R&D, project management, global marketing)
  • 1997-1999 Research Fellow Technical University Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany
  • 1995-1997 Research Fellow University Trier, Germany
  • 1995 PhD Technical University Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • 1992 Diploma Chemistry Technical University Kaiserslautern, Germany

Interest/Research Expertise

Hydrothermal biogeochemistry, Trace metal speciation, Marine biogeochemical cycle of iron, Anthropogenic contamination of coastal and estuarine areas.

Professional distinctions and memberships

  • 2023 - present Chair European Marine Board Working Group Deep Sea and Ocean Health
  • 2023 - present Member Joint Committee on the Properties of Seawater (JCS) Taskgroup on Chemical Speciation of Seawater
  • 2023 - present Topic 8 Deputy-Speaker POF IV
  • 2022 - present Chair Marine Science Section Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU)
  • 2022 - present Chair Integrative Research Focus on Metals in the Ocean
  • 2021 - present Member GESAMP WG 45 Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Related Impacts on Contaminants in the Ocean
  • 2021 Joint appointment as Helmholtz Distinguished Professor by GEOMAR and CAU Kiel
  • 2019 Appointed member of GEOTRACES review panel
  • 2018 Co-chair: 2018 Gordon Research Conference on Ocean Biogeochemistry in Hong-Kong
  • 2017 Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (FNZIC)
  • 2016 Fellow Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute for Advanced Study, Germany
  • 2016 Keynote Goldschmidt conference 2016, Yokohama, Japan
  • 2016 Co-vice chair: 2016 Gordon Research Conference on Ocean Biogeochemistry in Hong-Kong
  • 2015 Appointment  as guest editor of Frontiers in Marine Science Research Topic
  • 2014-2020 Vice-chair SCOR WG 145 ‘MARCHEMSPEC : Chemical Speciation Modelling in Seawater to Meet 21st Century Needs’
  • 2013 Keynote ASLO conference New Orleans, USA
  • 2012 Joint recipient of the inaugural University of Otago Research Team Award
  • 2012-2015 Co-chair SCOR working group 139 ‘Organic Ligands – A Key control on Trace Metal Biogeochemistry in the Ocean’
  • 2011 Member SCOR WG 135 ‘Hydrothermal Energy Transfer and its Impact on the Ocean Carbon Cycles’
  • 2011 Joint recipient of The New Zealand Prime Minister’s Science Prize
  • 1996 Award of the “Fond der Chemische Industrie” for excellence during study
  • 1992-1995 PhD Scholarship E. Merck Foundation

Associate Editor Elsevier Journal: Marine Chemistry (2015-2018)

Guest Editor:

  • Marine Chemistry Special Issue on 'Organic Ligands’ (2014-2015).
  • Frontiers Marine Biogeochemistry Special Issue on 'Organic Ligands' (2015-2017)

Reviewer for journals including Nature Geoscience, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Environmental Science & Technology, Limnology & Oceanography, Marine Chemistry, Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, Analytica Chimica Acta, Environmental Chemistry, usw.

Reviewer for funding agencies incl. German Research Foundation, The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, European Research Council, American National Science Funding,  Australian Research Council, New Zealand MBIE, Marsden, and the Czech Science Foundation.

Reviewer for IPCC reports.

Teaching Expertise

2001-2016 University of Otago

  • CHEM461 Chemistry in Extreme Environments - incl. marine hydrothermal systems
  • CHEM364 Marine Biogeochemistry   
  • CHEM304 Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM191 1st year Chemistry Laboratory

1997-1999 Technical University Clausthal-Zellerfeld

  • Analytical Chemistry Lectures and Laboratory

1995-1997 University Trier

  • Course Environmental Chemistry
  • Laboratory Analytical Chemistry

Primary/co-supervision of >20 PhD and MSc students to completion


  • HYDROTHERMADEC (2016/2017) – RV Sonne Kermadec Arc, NZ
  • FE-CYCLE III (2012), RV Tangaroa, NZ
  • GEOTRACES GP13 (2011), RV Tangaroa, NZ
  • FE-CYCLE II (2008), RV Tangaroa, NZ
  • MAR-SUD III (2006), RV Sonne, Mid-Atlantic-Ridge
  • FE-CYCLE I (2003), RV Tangaroa, NZ
  • CARIBFLUX (2001), RV Meteor,  Lesser Antilles and
  • HIFIFLUX II (1999), RV Sonne, North Fiji Basin


In September 2023 >100 publications with an h-index of 38 und >4200 citations (Sylvia Sander on Google Scholar)

For a full list of list of publications click here.