MP Research Group Hallmann successfully extendedLife on Earth probably originated around 4 billion years ago during the Precambrian, at a time of significant environmental upheaval and climatic extremes. How life evolved and diversified against this backdrop is studied by the research group of Christian Hallmann. Using fossil molecules in ancient rocks that are retrieved through drilling campaigns, the researchers can identify some molecules as biomarkers, attribute these to past life forms, and reconstruct past organismic diversity and evolution.
The successful independent research group (Max Planck Research Group) was recently extended for two more years. While a strong emphasis will remain on the evolution of early algae, the researchers are planning to increase their focus on the evolutionary role of nutrient accessibility, in particular nitrogen, and on reconstructing the evolution of the steroid biosynthetic pathway.