Max Planck Society
Max Planck Institut for Biogeochemistry

Organic Paleobiogeochemistry
(Max Planck Research Group)

Dr. Christian Hallmann
Max Planck Research Group Leader
Universität Bremen, Building IW-3
Am Biologischen Garten 2
28359 Bremen, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)421 218 65 820
Mobile: +49 (0)176 6383 5284

Group webpage

Principles of evolution of early life on Earth

The Organic Paleobiogeochemistry group uses a combination of fieldwork and organic geochemistry to investigate the evolution of life and environments on the early Earth. We analyze the sedimentary hydrocarbon remnants of biological lipids that were produced between 500 million and 2.7 billion years ago. The distribution and stable isotopic composition of these ancient biomarker lipids allow us to gain a greater understanding of biospheric and environmental evolution, as well as their reciprocal interaction.

Our labs and offices are externally located at the MARUM Institute in Bremen.

Easy-to-understand fact sheet of the group (pdf)

Research foci

  • Life before the Great Oxidation Event
  • The Neoproterozoic emergence and radiation of Metazoa
  • Nitrogen cycling in Precambrian oceans

Selected publications

Hallmann C and Summons R (accepted) Paleobiological clues to early atmospheric evolution. In: Treatise on Geochemistry, 2nd Ed. Vol. 13.5: Chemistry of the earliest atmosphere (ed. J Farquhar). Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Hallmann C, Grey K, Webster L, McKirdy D and Grice K (2009) Molecular signature of the Neoproterozoic Acraman impact event. Organic Geochemistry 41, 111–115.

Grice K, Lu H, Atahan P, Asif M, Hallmann C, Greenwood P, Maslen E, Tulipani S, Williford K and Dodson J (2009) New insights into the origin of perylene in geological samples. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, 6531–6543.

Hallmann C, Schwark L and Grice K (2008) Community dynamics of anaerobic bacteria in deep petroleum reservoirs. Nature Geoscience 1, 588–591.

Stromatolites in the ~3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Chert formation (here at the Trendall locality, Western Australia) provide some of the oldest evidence for life on Earth. (Copyright by Christian Hallmann) A highway of Paleoproterozoic rocks. One of our field sites on the remote Belcher Islands, Nunavut, Canada. (Copyright by Christian Hallmann) Crossing a creek on the way to the Mistaken Point fossil locality, Newfoundland, Canada. (Copyright by Christian Hallmann) Ultra-clean diamond core drilling for Archean rocks. Pilbara, Western Australia. (Copyright by Christian Hallmann) Rangeomorph of the Ediacara fauna (possibly a metazoan or fungal stem group). Ca. 570 Ma, Newfoundland, Canada. (Copyright by Christian Hallmann)
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