Hildegard Westphal

Visiting Professor

Earth Science and Engineering Visiting Professor

Research Interests

Carbonate ecology comprises the study of how calcifying organisms react to environmental change (CO2, nutrients, temperature, but also plastic pollution). The goal is to understand past dynamics and predict future developments of reefs and related sedimentary systems, including coastal dynamics. Thus, we combine experimental studies in aquarium mesocosm setups with field studies back to the Miocene.

Visit the Carbonate Ecology website here.

Selected Publications

  • Westphal H, Murphy GN, Doo SS, Mann T, Petrovic A, Schmidt C, Stuhr M (2022) Ecosystem design as an avenue for improving services provided by carbonate producing marine ecosystems. PeerJ 10:e12785. doi:10.7717/peerj.12785
  • Joppien M, Westphal H, Stuhr M, Doo SS (2022) Microplastics alter feeding strategies of a coral reef organism. Limnology and Oceanography Letters. doi:10.1002/lol2.10237
  • Mann T, Wizemann A, Kappelmann Y, Stuhr M, Janßen A, Jompa J, Westphal H (2022) Shallow-marine carbonate cementation in Holocene segments of the calcifying green alga Halimeda. Sedimentology 69, 282-300. doi: 10.1111/sed.12927
  • Narayan GR, Reymond CE, Stuhr M, Doo S, Schmidt C, Mann T, Westphal H (2022) Response of large benthic foraminifera to climate and local changes: Implications for future carbonate production. Sedimentology 69. 121-161. doi: 10.1111/sed.12858
  • Stuhr M, Cameron LP, Blank-Landeshammer B, Reymond CE, Doo SS, Westphal H, Sickmann A, Ries RB (2021) Divergent proteomic responses offer insights into resistant physiological responses of a reef-foraminifera to climate change scenarios. Oceans 2, 281–314. doi: 10.3390/oceans2020017
  • Hierl F, Wu HC, Westphal H (2021) Scleractinian corals incorporate microplastic particles: Identification from a laboratory study. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. doi: 10.1007/s11356-021-13240-x


  • 2004: Habilitation, University of Tübingen
  • 1997: Dr. rer. nat. (doctoral degree) at GEOMAR Research Center for Marine Geosciences, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany
  • 1994: Diplom (M.Sc. equivalent) in Geology, University of Tübingen, Germany

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • Since 2021: Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen
  • Since 2016: Active Member of Class IV of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts


  • 2005-2010: Member of the German Young Academy
  • 2005-2010: Heisenberg-Grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG) at University of Bremen
  • 2004: Albert-Maucher-Preis of the German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • 2003: Hans-Cloos-Preis of the German Geological Society
  • 2003: Walter-Schall-Preis of the Gesellschaft für Naturkunde in Württemberg
  • 1991-1997: Scholarship holder of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes

Research Interests Keywords

Carbonate Sedimentology Diagenesis Palecology Ecology of Reefs Microplastics Pollution