University of Southern California

Meet Our Professors

Wiebke Ziebis
Contact Info

Office Phone: 213-821-1198
Office Location: AHF 334

Education: 1990 B.S. Zoology, Christian-Albrecht-University of Kiel, Germany
1992 M.S. Marine Biology / Benthic Ecology, Christian-Albrecht-University of Kiel, Germany
1997 Ph.D. Marine Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, University of Bremen, Germany

Wiebke Ziebis

Department, School

Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences - Marine Environmental Biology, College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
Affiliated Faculty, Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
Affiliated Faculty, Geobiology and Astrobiology Program

Research Field

Marine Biogeochemistry & Benthic Ecology

Research Specialties

Biogeochemistry of benthic environments, sediment microbiology, transport processes, benthic-pelagic coupling, bioturbation, sediment-animal-microbe interactions, extreme environments: methane seeps and hydrothermal vents.


Professional History

Post-Doctoral Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany, 1996-1998
Research Scientist, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany, 1999-2000
Research Fellow, German Research Foundation / Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2001-2002
Research Fellow, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2001-2003
Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Southern California


           Wiebke Ziebis is a marine biogeochemist / benthic ecologist with a broad background and training in Biological Oceanography, Marine Geology, Benthic Ecology and Marine Microbiology. Her research work focuses on the sea floor and she enjoys interdisciplinary marine research as well as the application of innovative instrumentation for in-situ measurements. She is also an enthusiastic and certified research diver and performed a lot of her research underwater. Her main interests are transport processes (benthic-pelagic coupling, advective transport, bioturbation) at the sea floor as well as biogeochemical processes and microbial communities in marine sediments in the deep-sea as well as in shallow water, with a focus on extreme environments (hydrothermal vents, methane seeps). She has participated in more than 25 sea-going expeditions on 13 different research vessels and studied the sea floor with the use of submersibles (Alvin) and remote operated vehicles ROVs. She is also an enthusiastic and active certified research diver who has performed a number of investigations by SCUBA diving in different areas (Biogeochemical and transport processes in a shallow lagoon in the Mediterrean Sea, hydrothermal venting in the Aegean Sea, Hydrocarbon Seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel).
                     Wiebke Ziebis completed a B.S. (Vordiplom) in Biology (Major: Marine Biology) in 1990 at the University of Kiel, Germany. She then studied Marine Biology and Benthic Ecology at the Institute for Marine Research in Kiel and received her M.S.(Diplom)in Marine Sciences in 1992.For her Master Thesis she investigated the impact of biogenic structures on the particle transport at the sea floor, and performed detailed studies in laboratory flow channels. After completion of her Master Thesis she went to Bremen and performed the research for her Ph.D.thesis at the new Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, in the Department of Biogeochemistry under the supervison of Bo Barker Jørgensen. The focus of her work were transport processes at the sea floor in a shallow-water environment and their impact on the biogeochemsitry of the sediment. She performed in-situ measurements directly at and beneath the sea floor, as well as detailed studies under controlled condition in laboratory flow channels to investigate the effect of bioturbation of a deep burrowing shrimp, as well as the impact of advective transport on the biogeochemistry of a permeable, coastal sea bed. She completed her thesis in 1997 and received her doctorate (DR. rer. nat) from the University in Bremen (Department of Geosciences) with the evaluation: 'summa cum laude'.
                     She is currently (October 2003 - present) an Assistant Professor for Marine Environmental Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Other appointments include: Research Fellow (DFG - German Research Foundation)(01/01/2001 – 12/31/2002)at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in Jolla, in the Marine Life Research Group and Marine Research Division for a collaboration with Drs. Lisa Levin and Joris Gieskes to work on biological and geochemical processes at deep-sea methane seeps. These deep-sea studies and collaborations are still continuing within NSF project awarded in 2004. She was employed as a Research Scientist (01/01/1999 – 12/31/2000) at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen as a member of the 'Flux' Group in the Department of Biogeochemistry. After comppletion of her Ph.D. work (or actually one year before that) she was awarded a 3-year post-doctoral fellowship by the European Union (01/01/1996 – 12/31/1998) within an international project funded through the MAST III Program (Marine Science and Technology) working at shallow-water hydrothermal vents in the Aegean Sea.
Back to top