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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.


  • 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!
  • 12.19 - Carsten, Natalie, Simon and Gerd presented their recent findings at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California, USA.
  • 10.19 - Georg and Gerd conducted a field study in Namibia and sampled fairy cycles in the local arid grasslands for Georg's MSc thesis.


Latest Publications

1Benk, S., Yan, L., Lehmann, R., Roth, V.-N., Schwab, V. F., Totsche, K. U., Küsel, K., Gleixner, G. (2019). Fueling diversity in the subsurface: Composition and age of dissolved organic matter in the critical zone. Frontiers in Earth Science, 7: 296. doi:10.3389/feart.2019.00296.
2Eisenhauer, N., Bonkowski, M., Brose, U., Buscot, F., Durka, W., Ebeling, A., Fischer, M., Gleixner, G., Heintz-Buschart, A., Hines, J., Jesch, A., Lange, M., Meyer, S., Roscher, C., Scheu, S., Schielzeth, H., Schloter, M., Schulz, S., Unsicker, S., van Dam, N. M., Weigelt, A., Weisser, W. W., Wirth, C., Wolf, J., Schmid, B. (2019). Biotic interactions, community assembly, and ecoevolutionary dynamics as drivers of long-term biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships. Research Ideas and Outcomes, 5: e47042. doi:10.3897/rio.5.e47042.
3Fischer, C., Leimer, S., Roscher, C., Ravenek, J., de Kroon, H., Kreutziger, Y., Baade, J., Bessler, H., Eisenhauer, N., Weigelt, A., Mommer, L., Lange, M., Gleixner, G., Wilcke, W., Schroder, B., Hildebrandt, A. (2019). Plant species richness and functional groups have different effects on soil water content in a decade-long grassland experiment. Journal of Ecology, 107(1), 127-141. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.13046.
4Huang, J., Hammerbacher, A., Weinhold, A., Reichelt, M., Gleixner, G., Behrendt, T., van Dam, N. M., Sala, A., Gershenzon, J., Trumbore, S. E., Hartmann, H. (2019). Eyes on the future – evidence for trade-offs between growth, storage and defense in Norway spruce. New Phytologist, 222(1), 144-158. doi:10.1111/nph.15522.
5Lange, M., Koller-France, E., Hildebrandt, A., Oelmann, Y., Wilcke, W., Gleixner, G. (2019). How plant diversity impacts the coupled water, nutrient and carbon cycles. In N. Eisenhauer, D. A. Bohan (Eds.), Mechanisms underlying the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function (pp. 185-219). London et al.: Academic Press. doi:10.1016/bs.aecr.2019.06.005.
6Leidinger, J., Seibold, S., Weisser, W. W., Lange, M., Schall, P., Tuerke, M., Gossner, M. M. (2019). Effects of forest management on herbivorous insects in temperate Europe. Forest Ecology and Management, 437, 232-245. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2019.01.013.
7Mellado-Vázquez, P. G., Lange, M., Gleixner, G. (2019). Soil microbial communities and their carbon assimilation are affected by soil properties and season but not by plants differing in their photosynthetic pathways (C3 vs. C4). Biogeochemistry, 142(2), 175-187. doi:10.1007/s10533-018-0528-9.
8Metzger, J. C., Schumacher, J., Lange, M., Hildebrandt, A. (2019). Neighbourhood and stand structure affect stemflow generation in a heterogeneous deciduous temperate forest. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 23(11), 4433-4452. doi:10.5194/hess-23-4433-2019.
9Roscher, C., Karlowsky, S., Milcu, A., Gessler, A., Bachmann, D., Jesch, A., Lange, M., Mellado-Vázquez, P. G., Strecker, T., Landais, D., Ravel, O., Buchmann, N., Roy, J., Gleixner, G. (2019). Functional composition has stronger impact than species richness on carbon gain and allocation in experimental grasslands. PLoS One, 14(1): e0204715. doi:10.1101/418301.
10Roth, V.-N., Lange, M., Simon, C., Hertkorn, N., Bucher, S., Goodall, T., Griffiths, R. I., Mellado-Vázquez, P. G., Mommer, L., Oram, N. J., Weigelt, A., Dittmar, T., Gleixner, G. (2019). Persistence of dissolved organic matter explained by molecular changes during its passage through soil. Nature Geoscience, 12(9), 755-761. doi:10.1038/s41561-019-0417-4.
11Sattler, T., Sörgel, M., Wittmer, J., Bourtsoukidis, E., Krause, T., Atlas, E., Benk, S., Bleicher, S., Kamilli, K., Ofner, J., Kopetzky, R., Held, A., Palm, W.-U., Williams, J., Zetzsch, C., Schöler, H.-F. (2019). Natural formation of chloro- and bromoacetone in salt lakes of Western Australia. Atmosphere, 10(11): 663. doi:10.3390/atmos10110663.
12Schwab, V. F., Nowak, M., Elder, C. D., Trumbore, S. E., Xu, X., Gleixner, G., Lehmann, R., Pohnert, G., Muhr, J., Kuesel, K., Totsche, K. U. (2019). 14C-free carbon is a major contributor to cellular biomass in geochemically distinct groundwater of shallow sedimentary bedrock aquifers. Water Resources Research, 55(3), 2104-2121. doi:10.1029/2017WR022067.
13Schwab, V. F., Nowak, M., Trumbore, S. E., Xu, X., Gleixner, G., Muhr, J., Kuesel, K., Totsche, K. U. (2019). Isolation of individual saturated fatty acid methyl esters derived from groundwater phospholipids by preparative high-pressure liquid chromatography for compound-specific radiocarbon analyses. Water Resources Research, 55(3), 2521-2531. doi:10.1029/2018WR024076.
14Simon, C., Osterholz, H., Koschinsky, A., Dittmar, T. (2019). Riverine mixing at the molecular scale - An ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry study on dissolved organic matter and selected metals in the Amazon confluence zone (Manaus, Brazil). Organic Geochemistry, 129, 45-62. doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2019.01.013.
15van Maldegem, L., Sansjofre, P., Weijers, J. W. H., Wolkenstein, K., Strother, P. K., Wörmer, L., Hefter, J., Nettersheim, B. J., Hoshino, Y., Schouten, S., Damsté, J. S. S., Nath, N., Griesinger, Kuznetsov, N. B., Elie, M., Elvert, M., Tegelaar, E., Gleixner, G., Hallmann, C. ,(2019). Bisnorgammacerane traces predatory pressure and the persistent rise of algal ecosystems after Snowball Earth. Nature Communications, 10(1): 476. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-08306-x.
16Vogel, A., Ebeling, A., Gleixner, G., Roscher, C., Scheu, S., Ciobanu, M., Koller-France, E., Lange, M., Lochner, A., Meyer, S. T., Oelmann, Y., Wilcke, W., Schmid, B., Eisenhauer, N. (2019). A new experimental approach to test why biodiversity effects strengthen as ecosystems age. In N. Eisenhauer, D. A. Bohan, A. J. Dumbrell (Eds.), Mechanisms underlying the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function (pp. 221-264). London et al.: Academic Press.
17Zhang, H.-Y., Hartmann, H., Gleixner, G., Thoma, M., Schwab, V. F. (2019). Carbon isotope fractionation including photosynthetic and post-photosynthetic processes in C3 plants: Low [CO2] matters. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 245, 1-15. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2018.09.035.
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