We are organic geochemists and geobiologists studying microbes and their interactions with geochemical processes and climate on timescales covering the modern to the distant geological past. Our research is best summarized as “interpreting the geologic record of life and climate through the lens of microbial ecology”.

Our primary tools are organic geochemical (lipid biomarker and compound-specific isotope analyses), microbiological (batch and continuous cultivation, isolation of new organisms), and molecular biological techniques (phylogenetics, [meta]genomics).

We combine these tools to study 1) modern biogeochemistry and microbial ecology, 2) the biosynthesis of lipids and enzymatic co-factors, 3) paleobiogeochemistry and paleoclimate. We leverage the synergies between these themes to enable comprehensive interpretation of modern and past biogeochemical cycles and climate (Fig. 1). For instance, studying modern analogue environments such as anoxic basins and investigating microbial adaptation mechanisms in laboratory cultures informs our understanding and further development of proxies such as the TEX86 paleothermometer.

Research themes