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Molecular Biogeochemistry

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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.


  • 04.21 - Simon Benk successfully defended his thesis on the "Towards a data-driven understanding of Dissolved Organic Matter in the Critical Zone". Congratulations!
  • 12.20 - New Paper Alert - Lange et al. paper "Plant diversity enhances production and downward transport of biodegradable dissolved organic matter" is online in Journal of Ecology. Find the paper here
  • 10.20 - New Paper Alert - Ding et al. paper "Characteristics and origin of intact polar lipids in soil organic matter" is online in Soil Biology and Biochemistry. Find the paper here
  • 10.20 - Akanksha Rai joined our group as a new PhD student, working on her PhD topic entitled "Influence of plant and soil diversity on the molecular composition of Dissolved Organic Matter". She is also associated to the International Max Planck Research School for biogeochemical cycles (IMPRS-gBGC). Welcome, Akanksha!
  • 10.20 - New Paper Alert - Schroeter et al. paper "How to Deal With Multi-Proxy Data for Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions: Applications to a Holocene Lake Sediment Record From the Tian Shan, Central Asia" is online in Frontiers in Earth Science. Find the paper here
  • 03.20 - New Paper Alert - Gayantha et al. paper "Reconstruction of the Late Holocene climate and environmental history from North Bolgoda Lake, Sri Lanka, using lipid biomarkers and pollen records" is online in the Journal of Quaternary Science. Find the paper here
  • 02.20 - Carsten Simon successfully defended his thesis on the "Identification of ecosystem-specific markers in terrestrial dissolved organic matter (DOM) by Orbitrap mass spectrometry". Congratulations!
  • 02.20 - New Paper Alert - Schroeter et al. paper "Biomolecular Evidence of Early Human Occupation of a High-Altitude Site in Western Central Asia During the Holocene" is online in Frontiers in Earth Science. Find the paper here
  • 01.20 - Alice Orme joined our group as a new PhD student, working on her PhD topic entitled "Decoding the molecular signals of dissolved organic matter". She is also full member of the International Max Planck Research School for biogeochemical cycles (IMPRS-gBGC). Welcome, Alice!


Latest Publications

1Overholt, W. A., Trumbore, S. E., Xu, X., Bornemann, T. L., Probst, A. J., Krüger, M., Herrmann, M., Thamdrup, B., Bristow, L., Taubert, M., Schwab, V. F., Hölzer, M., Marz, M., Küsel, K. (in press). Rates of primary production in groundwater rival those in oligotrophic marine systems. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/2021.10.13.464073.
2Le, G. P., Thiele, J., Westphal, C., Penone, C., Allan, E., Neyret, M., van der Plas, F., Ayasse, M., Bardgett, R. D., Birkhofer, K., Boch, S., Bonkowski, M., Buscot, F., Feldhaar, H., Gaulton, R., Goldmann, K., Gossner, M. M., Klaus, V. H., Kleinebecker, T., Krauss, J., Renner, S., Scherreiks, P., Sikorski, J., Baulechner, D., Blüthgen, N., Bolliger, R., Börschig, C., Busch, V., Chisté, M., Fiore-Donno, A. M., Fischer, M., Arndt, H., Hoelzel, N., John, K., Jung, K., Lange, M., Marzini, C., Overmann, J., Pasalic, E., Perovic, D. J., Prati, D., Schäfer, D., Schöning, I., Schrumpf, M., Sonnemann, I., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Tschapka, M., Türke, M., Vogt, J., Wehner, K., Weiner, C., Weisser, W., Wells, K., Werner, M., Wolters, V., Wubet, T., Wurst, S., Zaitsev, A. S., Manning, P. (2021). Contrasting responses of above- and belowground diversity to multiple components of land-use intensity. Nature Communications, 12: 3918. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-23931-1.
3von Fromm, S. F., Hoyt, A. M., Lange, M., Acquah, G. E., Aynekulu, E., Berhe, A. A., Haefele, S. M., McGrath, S. P., Shepherd, K. D., Sila, A. M., Six, J., Towett, E. K., Trumbore, S. E., Vågen, T.-G., Weullow, E., Winowiecki, L. A., Doetterl, S. (2021). Continental-scale controls on soil organic carbon across sub-Saharan Africa. Soil, 7(1), 305-332. doi:10.5194/soil-7-305-2021.
4Huang, J., Hammerbacher, A., Gershenzon, J., van Dam, N. M., Sala, A., McDowell, N. G., Chowdhury, S., Gleixner, G., Trumbore, S. E., Hartmann, H. (2021). Storage of carbon reserves in spruce trees is prioritized over growth in the face of carbon limitation. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA, 118(33): e2023297118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2023297118.
5Simon, C., Pimentel, T. P., Monteiro, M. T. F., Candido, L. A., Gastmans, D., Geilmann, H., da Oliveira, R. C., Rocha, J. B., Pires, E., Quesada, C. A., Forsberg, B. R., Feirrera, S. J. F., da Cunha, H. B., Gleixner, G. (2021). Molecular links between whitesand ecosystems and blackwater formation in the Rio Negro watershed. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 311, 274-291. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2021.06.036.
6Rad, M. A., Chanca, I., Herrera-Ramirez, D., Metzler, H., Sierra, C. (2021). Stochastic and deterministic interpretation of pool models. Global Change Biology, 27(11), 2271-2271. doi:10.1111/gcb.15581.
7Oelmann, Y., Lange, M., Leimer, S., Roscher, C., Aburto, F., Alt, F., Bange, N., Berner, D., Boch, S., Boeddinghaus, R. S., Buscot, F., Dassen, S., Deyn, G. D., Eisenhauer, N., Gleixner, G., Goldmann, K., Hölzel, N., Jochum, M., Kandeler, E., Klaus, V. H., Kleinebecker, T., Le Provost, G., Manning, P., Marhan, S., Prati, D., Schäfer, D., Schöning, I., Schrumpf, M., Schurig, E., Wagg, C., Wubet, T., Wilcke, W. (2021). Above- and belowground biodiversity jointly tighten the P cycle in agricultural grasslands. Nature Communications, 12: 4431. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-24714-4.
8Schroeter, N., Mingram, J., Kalanke, J., Lauterbach, S., Tjallingii, R., Schwab, V. F., Gleixner, G. (2021). The reservoir age effect varies with the mobilization of pre-aged organic carbon in a high-altitude Central Asian catchment. Frontiers in Earth Science, 9: 681931. doi:10.3389/feart.2021.681931.
9Zhang, X., Xu, B., Li, J., Xie, Y., Gleixner, G. (2021). Late-Holocene fluctuations of monsoonal Qiangyong Glacier, southern Tibetan Plateau. The Holocene. doi:10.1177/09596836211003209.
10Potthast, K., Meyer, S., Tischer, A., Gleixner, G., Sieburg, A., Frosch, T., Michalzik, B. (2021). Grasshopper herbivory immediately affects element cycling but not export rates in an N-limited grassland system. Ecosphere, 12(3): e03449. doi:10.1002/ecs2.3449.
11Njagi, D. M., Routh, J., Olago, D., Gayantha, K. (2021). A multi-proxy reconstruction of the late Holocene climate evolution in the Kapsabet Swamp, Kenya (East Africa). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 574: 110475. doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2021.110475.
12Zhang, X., Xu, B., Günther, F., Gleixner, G. (2021). Seasonal variation of leaf wax n-alkane delta2H values: Differences between Quercus aquifolioides (an evergreen tree) and Stipa bungeana (a perennial grass) from the southeastern Tibetan Plateau. Global and Planetary Change, 207: 103674. doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2021.103674.
13Lange, M., Roth, V.-N., Eisenhauer, N., Roscher, C., Dittmar, T., Fischer, C., Macé, O. G., Hildebrandt, A., Milcu, A., Mommer, L., Oram, N. J., Ravenek, J., Scheu, S., Schmid, B., Strecker, T., Wagg, C., Weigelt, A., Gleixner, G. (2021). Plant diversity enhances production and downward transport of biodegradable dissolved organic matter. Journal of Ecology, 109(3), 1284-1297. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.13556.
14Schädel, C., Beem-Miller, J., Rad, M. A., Crow, S. E., Pries, C. H., Ernakovich, J., Hoyt, A. M., Plante, A., Stoner, S., Treat, C. C., Sierra, C. (2020). Decomposability of soil organic matter over time: the Soil Incubation Database (SIDb, version 1.0) and guidance for incubation procedures. Earth System Science Data, 12(3), 1511-1524. doi:10.5194/essd-12-1511-2020.
15Raghab, R., Thouzeau, G., Walcker, R., Vantrepotte, V., Gleixner, G., Morvan, S., Devesa, J., Michaud, E. (2020). Mangrove-derived organic and inorganic carbon exchanges between the Sinnamary estuarine system (French Guiana, South America) and Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 125(8): e2020JG005739. doi:10.1029/2020JG005739.
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