Max Planck Gesellschaft

Molecular Biogeochemistry



The research group explores key processes in the global biogeochemical cycles at the molecular level. Biomarkers and their isotopic content hold information on the regulation of the individual processes. The group is developing new tools and is applying existing techniques to investigate single key processes.

Interested in working with us?

We are always looking for interested students who want to pursue a Masters Thesis (preferably in combination with a project module) with us. More information about open positions:
Mikrobielle Aktivität entlang des Bodenprofils.


  • 06.18 - Gerd, Yan, Simon and Carsten attended CRC AquaDiva On-Site Retreat 2018 held from 26th to 27th of June in Vitaleum, Hütten. Yan presented new findings and recent progress made on "Tracing Metabolic and Organic Signals Through the Earth’s Critical Zone" and the group's contribution in the joint project (CRC 1076 funded by DFG) as a whole. The discussions were followed by a field trip to the new AquaDiva site nearby.
  • 06.18 - Gerd & Carsten attended the ATTO workshop 2018? held at the MPI-BGC, Jena to contribute in the planning and co-ordination of future scientific work at the ATTO site.
  • 06.18 - For this years group activity we went Canoeing. And luckily no one got lost, no one drowned and no boat capsized. ;-)
  • 05.18 - PhD student Yang Xia from Laboratorie d'Ecology, Systématique et Évolution [ESE] Université Paris-Sud is visiting with us to analyse plant metabolite isotopes (sugar, organic acid and amino acid).
  • 04.18 - Gerd and Carsten attended the European Geoscience Union Assembly 2018 in Vienna, Austria and gave talks. -- Gerd's talk was on Resistance and recovery of rhizospheric carbon and nitrogen flow in fungi- and bacteria-dominated plant communities after drought -- Carsten spoke about Identification of ecosystem-specific markers in dissolved organic matter by Orbitrap tandem mass spectrometry (Pictures by @RouskLab via Twitter)
  • 04.18 - Sophie von Fromm - Master's student from TU Bergakademie Freiberg will be working with us to understand composition of various extractable C fractions of soil organic matter (SOM) and determine their ages with radiocarbon (14C) isotope analysis.
  • 12.17 - Conference Attendance - At the joint annual meeting of BES, GfÖ, NecoV and EEF in Ghent Markus presented his findings on how Dissolved Organic Matter mediates plant diversity effects on below-ground processes.
  • 12.17 - New Paper Alert - Karlowsky et al. paper about land use in mountain grasslands and drought responses associated with plant microbe interaction is online. This work resulted from a multi-institute collaboration under the umbrella of REGARDS project. Find the paper here


Latest Publications

1Camino-Serrano, M., Guenet, B., Luyssaert, S., Ciais, P., Bastrikov, V., De Vos, B., Gielen, B., Gleixner, G., Jornet-Puig, A., Kaiser, K., Kothawala, D., Lauerwald, R., Peñuelas, J., Schrumpf, M., Vicca, S., Vuichard, N., Walmsley, D., Janssens, I. A. (2018). ORCHIDEE-SOM: Modeling soil organic carbon (SOC) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) dynamics along vertical soil profiles in Europe. Geoscientific Model Development, 11(3), 937-957. doi:10.5194/gmd-11-937-2018.
2Klaus, V. H., Kleinebecker, T., Busch, V., Fischer, M., Hölzel, N., Nowak, S., Prati, D., Schäfer, D., Schöning, I., Schrumpf, M., Hamer, U. (2018). Land use intensity, rather than plant species richness, affects the leaching risk of multiple nutrients from permanent grasslands. Global Change Biology, 24(7), 2828-2840. doi:10.1111/gcb.14123.
3Kühn, J., Richter, A., Kahl, T., Bauhus, J., Schöning, I., Ruess, L. (2018). Community level lipid profiling of consumers as a tool for soil food web diagnostics. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 9(5), 1265-1275. doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12966.
4Leimer, S., Bischoff, S., Boch, S., Busch, V., Escher, P., Fischer, M., Haensel, F., Hoelzel, N., Kerber, K., Klaus, V. H., Kleinebecker, T., Michalzik, B., Nauss, T., Schafer, D., Schöning, I., Schwarz, M. T., Siemens, J., Thieme, L., Woellauer, S., Wilcke, W. (2018). Does plant diversity affect the water balance of established grassland systems? Ecohydrology, 11(4): e1945. doi:10.1002/eco.1945.
5Richter, A., Schöning, I., Kahl, T., Bauhus, J., Ruess, L. (2018). Regional environmental conditions shape microbial community structure stronger than local forest management intensity. Forest Ecology and Management, 409, 250-259. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2017.11.027.
6Solly, E. F., Brunner, I., Helmisaari, H.-S., Herzog, C., Leppälammi-Kujansuu, J., Schöning, I., Schrumpf, M., Schweingruber, F. H., Trumbore, S. E., Hagedorn, F. (2018). Unravelling the age of fine roots of temperate and boreal forests. Nature Communications, 9(1): 3006. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05460-6.
7Sorkau, E., Boch, S., Boeddinghaus, R. S., Bonkowski, M., Fischer, M., Kandeler, E., Klaus, V. H., Kleinebecker, T., Marhan, S., Müller, J., Prati, D., Schöning, I., Schrumpf, M., Weinert, J., Oelmann, Y. (2018). The role of soil chemical properties, land use and plant diversity for microbial phosphorus in forest and grassland soils. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 181(2), 185-197. doi:10.1002/jpln.201700082.
8Wutzler, T., Lucas-Moffat, A., Migliavacca, M., Knauer, J., Sickel, K., Šigut, L., Menzer, O., Reichstein, M. (2018). Basic and extensible post-processing of eddy covariance flux data with REddyProc. Biogeosciences, 15(16), 5015-5030. doi:10.5194/bg-15-5015-2018.
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