Organic Paleobiogeochemistry

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Research statement

We are an independent Max-Planck Research Group dually affiliated with the MPI for Biogeochemistry in Jena and the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) at the University of Bremen. All of our laboratories and offices are located on the campus of Bremen University.


With an interdisciplinary approach on the border between geology, chemistry and biology, we try to gain deeper insight into the reciprocal interaction of co-evolving life and environmental conditions throughout Earth history.


A principal focus lies on understanding the evolution of early life on Earth — in the context of changing ocean chemistry, climate and biogeochemical cycles, we aim to decipher how complex life (i.e. our earliest ancestors) appeared, and how microbes shaped global environments to create a habitat for increasing organismic complexity.


In parallel we evaluate more recent extinction events, dynamics of the carbon cycle, and contribute to understanding how the Earth system will respond to the increasing anthropogenic burden of climate change and overnutrification.


Also see: www.marum.de/wir-ueber-uns/AG-Hallmann.html

(Fachbereich Geowissenschaften, Uni Bremen)


05-MAR-2-C10-1 (Summer Semester)

Applied Geochemistry in Petroleum Exploration


05-GEO-2-K8-1 (Summer Semester)

Molecular Geobiology

We apply techniques of molecular and isotopic organic geochemistry to questions of Earth system evolution in order to improve our understanding of the reciprocal interaction between a co-evolving biosphere, environmental conditions, and biogeochemical cycles. A large emphasis is placed on the Precambrian and Paleozoic sedimentary record, where the questions of increasingly complex life are tied to the gradual establishment of a quasi-modern Earth system at the turn of the Phanerozoic. In this context, the timing and conditions of the emergence and subsequent radiation of early eukaryotes and the first metazoa represents an important focus. Supportive research lines cover the evolution of lipid biosynthetic pathways, organic matter preservation and taphonomic effects on a molecular scale, petroleum system geochemistry (both on reservoir and basin-wide scales), method development (preparative analytical chemistry) and Cenozoic climate perturbation events. We combine state-of-the-art molecular geochemical techniques with detailed field work, isotope-chemostratigraphy and palynology in order to obtain a holistic view of studied intervals and topics.