Abteilung Geobiologie

Welcome to the Department of Geobiology!

Geological and biological processes are often directly related, and have greatly influenced the biodiversity and shape of our planet. The Geobiology Group studies the evolution of organisms and the interactions between the biosphere and the geosphere, in the present and throughout Earth's history since life originated at least 3.5 billion years ago.

In addition to multicellular animals and plants, which are in the focus of classical paleontology, we are also interested in microorganisms that once made our planet habitable to animals and higher plants, and which have dominated the biosphere for over 80% of Earth's history. We want to know what these microorganisms are, understand their metabolic and survival strategies, and gain insight into how they have had, and continue to make, a lasting impact on Earth’s element cycles.

Geobiology is a highly interdisciplinary science. Our research employs state-of-the-art methods ranging from paleontology, geochemistry, microbiology, zoology, botany, and molecular genetics. Geobiological research generates knowledge that can address real world problems, for example the extraction and recycling of industrial raw materials and the rehabilitation of contaminated ecosystems. Geobiology also provides important fundamental knowledge for managing ecosystems, responding and adapting to the challenges of today’s global climate change, and also to understanding how extra-terrestrial geological and potential biological systems may have evolved.


Dr. Yu Pei (Geobiology Research Group) has been awarded the Adolf von Koenen-Prize 2021/22, which recognizes outstanding dissertations at the Göttingen Geoscience Center!

Press release: Glowing fossils: fluorescence reveals colour patterns of earliest scallops
Wolkenstein, K. (2022): Fluorescent colour patterns in the basal pectinid Pleuronectites from the Middle Triassic of Central Europe: origin, fate and taxonomic implications of fluorescence. Palaeontology. https://doi.org/10.1111/pala.12625 (open access)

Press release: Algae reveal clues about climate changes over millions of years
Rampen, S. W., Friedl T., Rybalka N. & Thiel V. (2022): The Long chain Diol Index: A marine palaeotemperature proxy based on eustigmatophyte lipids that records the warmest seasons. - PNAS 119, e2116812119. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2116812119