Dr. Karel Castro Morales


Phone: +49 (0)3641 9-494 74





  (Foto: Jan-Peter Kasper/FSU) 


I am interested in the exchange of O2, CO2 and CH4 and their stable isotopes between land, sea ice, atmosphere and water and their role in the carbon cycle of high latitudes. As numerical modeler, I make use of past and current observations to evaluate and improve the performance of models across different spatial and temporal scales. But I also enjoy going out in the field and do measurements. In my current project PROPERAQUA, I will be estimating the aquatic primary productivity in streams and a portion of Kolyma River in Northeast Siberia, through measurements of the stable isotopes of dissolved oxygen. My main focus is in the interface between the terrestrial and aquatic domains, through the influence of organic material transported from degrading permafrost into this Arctic river. Finally, the field measurements will be integrated in a two dimensional hydrology-biogeochemical model.

University training and degree

1998-2001, BSc. Oceanology, Autonomous University of Baja California, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Ensenada, Mexico.


Advanced academic qualifications

2002-2005, MSc. Coastal Oceanography, Autonomous University of Baja California, Institute of Oceanologic Research, Ensenada, Mexico.

2007-2011, PhD in Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, School of Environmental Sciences, Norwich, United Kingdom.


Postgraduate professional career

2011-2014, Postdoctoral researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Climate Sciences division, Bremerhaven, Germany.

2015-2018, Postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Department of Biogeochemical Integration, Jena, Germany.

2018-present, Postdoctoral researcher as project leader of PROPERAQUA (DFG funded), Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Institute of Biodiversity, Aquatic Geomicrobiology, Jena, Germany.


Other (awards, grants)

2018          Elected participant in the program “Sign Up! Career building for Postdocs of the Max Planck Society” to promote the career development of 18 outstanding women post-doctoral researchers of the Max Planck Society, Germany.

2010          Research Council of Norway and International Polar Year Award stipend to attend the “International Polar Year, Oslo Science Conference”, Oslo, Norway.

2008          SOPRAN / SOLAS / DFG / ISOS / IFM-GEOMAR Award stipend for the summer school “Biogeochemical Interactions between the ocean and the Atmosphere (BIOCAT)”, Kiel, Germany.

2007-2010 National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) Mexico, 4 years scholarship for PhD studies in the United Kingdom

2006          SCOR / FONDAP / COPAS Award stipend for the workshop on “Oxygen Minimum Systems in the Ocean: Distribution, diversity and dynamics”, Chile.

2006          Academic honour, higher general grade obtained for the MSc. in Coastal Oceanography academic year 2005, Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico.

2002-2004 National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) Mexico, 2 years scholarship for MSc studies

2001          Mexican Academy of Science (AMC), national research summer fellow.

2000          1st prize award, VIII Oceanography student congress, Faculty of Marine Sciences – Autonomous University of Baja California.



Since 2001, Member of the Mexican Association of Oceanographers (ASOCEAN)

Since 2010, Member of the Challenger Society for Marine Sciences, UK

Since 2010, Member of the European Geophysical Union (EGU)

Since 2007, Member of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientist (APECS)


Fieldwork experience (research ocanographic cruises)

2012            ARK-XXVIII/1, (RV Polarstern), Fram Strait, Arctic Ocean.

2008            Drake Passage (JC31), (RRS James Cook), Drake Passage, Southern Ocean.

2008/2009 Antarctic Deep Water Rates of Export, Phase 1 (ANDREX I – JC30), (RRS James Cook), Northern boundary of Weddell Gyre, Southern Ocean.

2008            Synoptic Antarctic Shelf Slope Interactions study, Spanish contribution (ESASSI), (R/V Hespérides), Weddell Sea, Southern Ocean.

2007            Forcings from the Oceans, clouds, atmosphere and sea-ice (ACES-FOCAS – JR165), (RRS James Clark Ross), Drake Passage and Bellingshausen Sea, Southern Ocean.

2007            Antarctic Drifter Experiment: Links to isobaths and ecosystems (ADELIE – JR158), (RRS James Clark Ross), Weddell Sea, Southern Ocean.

2004            UMBRALES III, (B/O Francisco de Ulloa), Gulf of California, Mexico.

2002            UMBRALES I, (B/O Francisco de Ulloa), Gulf of California, Mexico.



Castro-Morales, K., G.J. Schürmann, C. Köstler, C. Rödenbeck, M. Heimann and S. Zaehle, 2019, Three decades of simulated global terrestrial carbon fluxes from a data assimilation system confronted to different periods of observations. Biogeosciences, 16, 3009-3032. doi: 10.5194/bg-16-3009-2019.



Castro-Morales, K., Kleinen, T., Kaiser, S., Zaehle, S., Kittler, F., Kwon, M. J., Beer, C., Göckede, M. 2018. Year-round simulated methane emissions from a permafrost ecosystem in Northeast Siberia. Biogeosciences, 15(9), 2691-2722. doi:10.5194/bg-15-2691-2018.



Castro-Morales, K., R. Ricker, R. Gerdes, 2017. Regional distribution and variability of model-simulated Arctic snow on sea ice, Polar Science, Vol. 13, 33-49; doi:10.1016/j.polar.2017.05.003.

Kaiser, S., M. Göckede, K. Castro-Morales, C. Knoblauch, A. Ekici, T. Kleinen, S. Zubrzycki, T. Sachs, C. Wille and C. Beer. Process-based modelling of methane balance in periglacial landscapes (JSBACH-methane), 2017. Geoscientific Model Development, Vol. 10, 333-358; doi:10.5194/gmd-10-333-2017.



Castro-Morales, K., F. Kauker, M. Losch, S. Hendricks, K. Riemann-Campe and R. Gerdes. Sensitivity of simulated Arctic sea ice to realistic ice thickness distributions and snow parameterizations, 2014. Journal of Geophysical Research: oceans, Vol. 119, 1-13; doi:10.1002/2013JC009342.

Castro-Morales, K., J.V. Macias-Zamora, S.R. Canino-Herrera and R.A. Burke. Dissolved methane concentration and flux in the coastal zone of the Southern California Bight-Mexican sector: possible influence of wastewater, 2014. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 144, 65-74; doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2014.04.017.



Macias-Zamora, J.V., K. Castro-Morales, R.A. Burke and M.Lopez-Mariscal, 2013. Dissolved methane in the sills region of the Gulf of California, 2013. Ciencias Marinas, Vol. 39, No.2, 119-135; doi:10.7773/cm.v39i2.2232.

Castro-Morales, K., N. Cassar, D.R. Shoosmith and J. Kaiser. Biological production in the Bellingshausen Sea from oxygen-to-argon ratios and oxygen triple isotopes, 2013. Biogeosciences, Vol. 10, 2273-2291; doi:10.5194/bg-10-2273-2013.



Castro-Morales, K. and J. Kaiser. Using dissolved oxygen concentrations to determine mixed layer depths in the Bellingshausen Sea, 2011. Ocean Science, Vol.8, 1-10; doi:10.5194/os-8-1-2012.



Thompson, A., Castro-Morales, K., Chapman, G., Grant, H., Heywood, K., Jullion, L., Kaiser, J., Luijting, H., Matthews, A., Mountifield, D., Naveira-Garabato, A., Nunes, N., Renner, A., Screen, J., Singhruck, P., Trasviña Castro, A., Trevett, D., ADELIE - Antarctic Drifter Experiment: Links to Isobaths and Ecosystems, 2007, Cruise report.



Castro-Morales, K.. Marine productivity estimates from dissolved gas measurements in the Southern Ocean, 2010. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

Castro-Morales, K., Dissolved Methane in the Southern California Bight: from the Mexico-USA border to Todos Santos Bay, 2005. MSc. Thesis, Autonomous University of Baja California, Mexico, 180 pag.

Dr. Mathias Göckede, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena, Germany.

Prof. Jan Kaiser, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Dr. Jorien Vonk, Vrije University Amsterdam, Faculty of Science, Earth and Climate, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Prof. Arne Körtzinger, GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

Dr. Thomas Wichard, Friedrich Schiller University, Institute for Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Jena, Germany.

Dr. Jens Strauss, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, Potsdam, Germany.