Valérie Schwab-Lavri

room: B2.019
phone: +49 3641 576105
fax: +49 3641 577863

MPI for Biogeochemistry
Postbox 10 01 64 - 07701 Jena

My Research

During my time at the University of Lausanne, I used molecular and isotopic composition of organic matter to study paleoenvironment and determine the transformations of organic compounds during thermal maturation.

During my postdocs, I have been developing new compound purification techniques using HPLC-DAD/MS-MS for improving the carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses of molecular compounds. I used these techniques to test the fidelity with which the hydrogen isotopic composition of the alkenones and dinosterol, derived from haptophyte algae and dinoflagellates, reflects the hydrogen isotope composition of the in situ water and their potential use as paleoenvironmental indicators of salinity.

Current Research Interests

Purification of source/function specific organic compounds by HPLC/APCI-ESI/MS-MS for subsequent isotope analysis (C, H, N) to study

  • their potential to reconstruct paleoenvironments
  • their biosynthetic origin
  • the effects of environmental stress on their isotopic fractionation (lipid-source)
  • their turnover/fate in deep subsurface environments

If you want to know more about the use of biomarkers to track environmental conditions, please visit my project website.

Curriculum Vitae
2013- nowPI at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena; part of the CRC aquadiva
2011- 2013Postdoc at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena; associate scientist of Prof. Kirsten Küsel, Institute of ecology
2009 - 2011Postdoc at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Jena.
2008 - 2009CEM Switzerland. Quality control/personnel and budget management.
2006- 2008University of Washington, Seattle, USA (post-doctoral associate scientist). Development of purification techniques by HPLC/APCI/MS for brassicasterol, dinosterol and individual alkenones. Characterize the effect of salinity on lipids D/H fractionation in natural environment: case study Chesapeake Bay, eastern USA.
2005University of Lausanne, Switzerland (associate scientist) Researches on biomarker utilities to reconstruct palaeoenvironmental conditions of the northern Tethys margin (Liassic sediments).
2001 - 2004PHD University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Molecular and isotopic characterization of hydrocarbons: effects of palaeoenvironment and prograde metamorphism.
Selected publications

Schwab, V.F., Garcin, Y., Sachse, D., Todouc, G., Séné, O., Onana, J.-M., Achoundong, G., Geixner, G., 2015. Dinosterol D values in stratified tropical lakes (Cameroon) are affected by eutrophication. Organic Geochemisrty submitted.

Schwab, V.F., Garcin, Y., Sachse, D., Todouc, G., Séné, O., Onana, J.-M., Achoundong, G., Geixner, G., 2014. Effect of aridity on 13C and D values of C3 plant- and C4 graminoid-derived leaf wax lipids from soils along an environmental gradient in Cameroon (Western Central Africa). Organic Geochemisrty 78, 99-109.

Garcin, Y., Schefuß, E., Schwab, V.F., Garreta, V., Gleixner, G., Vincens, A., Todou, G., Séné, O., Onana, J.-M., Achoundong, G., Sachse, D., 2014 . Reconstructing C3 versus C4 vegetation cover using n-alkane carbon isotopes- a surface sediment test from Cameroon, Western Central Africa. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 142, 482-500.

Garcin, Y., Schwab, V., Gleixner, G., Kahmen, A., Todou, G., Séné, O., Onana, J-M., Achoundong, G., Sachse, D. (2011). Hydrogen isotope ratios of lacustrine sedimentary n-alkanes as proxies of tropical African hydrology: insights from a calibration transect across Cameroon. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 79, 106-126.

Schwab, V. and Sachs, J.P. (2011). ). Hydrogen isotope in alkenones from the Chesapeake Bay Estuary. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75, 7552-7565.

Sachs, J.P. and Schwab, V. (2011). Hydrogen isotope in dinosterol from the Chesapeake Bay Estuary. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 75, 444-459.

Schwab, V. F. and Sachs, J.P. (2009). The measurement of D/H ratio in alkenones and their isotopic heterogeneity. Organic Geochemistry. 40, 110-118.

Schwab, V. and Spangenberg, J.E. (2007). Molecular and isotopic characterization of biomarkers in the Frick Swiss Jura sediments: a palaeoenvironmental reconstruction on the northern Tethys margin. Organic Geochemistry 28, 419-439.

Schwab, V., Spangenberg, J.E. and Grimalt, J.O. (2005). Chemical and carbon isotopic evolution of hydrocarbons during prograde metamorphism from 100°C to 550°C – Case study in the Liassic black shale formation of Central Swiss Alps. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 89, 1825-1840.

Schwab, V. and Spangenberg, J.E. (2004). Organic geochemistry across the Permian-Triassic transition at the Idrijca Valley, Western Slovenia. Applied Geochemistry 19, 55-72.