Dr. Christine Heim

Geoscience Center, Georg-August University of Göttingen
Geobiology Group
Goldschmidtstr. 3
37077 Göttingen, Germany


Research Interests

  • Reconstruction of recent and ancient ecosystems in the continental deep biosphere
  • Microbial mats and biosignatures from extreme environments
  • Diagenetic processes of biomarkers in lake sediments
  • Biogeochemistry of rivers and lakes
  • Microbial biomineralization processes

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External Collaborations

Dr. Henrik Drake: Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden

Dr. Magnus Ivarsson: Department of Palaeobiology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden

PD Dr. Carsten Müller: Lehrstuhl für Bodenkunde, TU München, Freising, Germany

Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Oskarshamn, Sweden

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Short curriculum

Since 2015

Researcher (University of Göttingen, GZG Geobiology, organic geochemistry work group, group leader: Prof. Volker Thiel)

2012 – 2014

Post-Doc (University of Göttingen; Courant Research Centre “Geomicrobiology and Symbiosis Group”; group leader: Jr. Prof Sharmishtha Dattagupta)

2010 – 2012

Post-Doc (University of Göttingen, GZG Geobiology, organic geochemistry work group, group leader: Prof. Volker Thiel)


Dr. rer nat., (with grade “summa cum laude”)


Intern at SP in Borås, the Technical Research Institute of Sweden (May-July 2007)

2005 – 2010

Doctoral student (University of Göttingen, GZG Geobiology, organic geochemistry work group; group leader: Prof. Volker Thiel)


Diploma in Geology (University of Frankfurt/ Main), thesis in cooperation with the Geochemistry group of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI).

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  • Monitoring der biogeochemischen Prozesse im Seeanger und Seeburger See. Az. der Förd.: 701 03 40 02-48 (Förderer: Landkreis Göttingen), Dr. Christine Heim, Laufzeit.: 24 Monate (bis 31.12.2019)
  • Unravelling the cryptic microfossil Frutexites - a biosignature for microbial Fe-cycling through Earth history. Förderer DFG, Az.: HE 7610/3-1, Dr. Christine Heim, Laufzeit 24 Monate: 2018-2020,
  • Biogeochemische Zusammenhänge im Seeburger See und dessen Einzugsgebiet  - Monitoring des ökologischen Zustandes eines Sees  2016 – 2019
  • Sind Biosignaturen und Kluftminerale als Temperaturindikatoren geeignet, um das Geothermie-Potential im kristallinen Grundgestein zu bestimmen?  2015 – 2016
  • Fractures in the continental crust – implications for recent and ancient life in the subsurface 2013 – ongoing
  • Recent and Ancient Biosignatures and Biomineralization processes in the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory within the frame of DFG FOR 571, 2005 – 2011

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  • Organic geochemistry (lab course; Msc level)
  • Biogeochemistry (lecture, field and lab course; Bsc- level)
  • Geological mapping course (Hildesheimer Wald saddle; field class, Bsc-level)
  • Mentoring/Support of students during their Bsc und Msc work

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Zheng L., Haisheng Y., Simon K., Heim C., Arp G. (xxxx) Palaeoenviromental setting of Miocene lacustrine stromatolites in Wudaoliang, Northern Tibetan Plateau, inferred from petrography, REE pattern and biomarker analysis. Journal of Palaegeography, Special issue on microbialites, in review.

Drake H., Whitehouse M., Heim C., Reiners P., Hogmalm K.J., Dopson D, Broman C., Åström M. (2018) Unprecedented 34S-enrichment during bacterial sulfate reduction under oligotrophic conditions in fractured crystalline rocks. Geobiology, doi: /10.1111/gbi.12297.

Reinhardt M., Duda J.-P., Blumenberg M., Ostertag-Henning C., Reitner J., Heim C., Thiel V. (2018) The taphonomic fate of isorenieratene in Lower Jurassic shales – controlled by iron? Geobiology, 2018, 1-15. DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12284.

Drake H.,  Ivarsson M., Bengtson S., Heim C., Siljeström S., Whitehouse M., Broman C., Belivanova V., Åström M. (2017) Anaerobic consortia of fungi and sulfate reducing bacteria in deep granite fractures. Nature Communications,  doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00094-6.

Heim C., Quéric N.-V., Ionescu D.,  Schäfer N., Simon K., Thiel V. Reitner J., (2017) Frutexites-like structures formed by iron oxidizing biofilms in the continental subsurface of the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden. PLOS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177542.

Drake H., Heim C.,  Roberts N., Zack T., Tillberg M., Broman C., Ivarsson M., Whitehouse M., Åström M. (2017) Microbial production and consumption of methane in the upper continental crust throughout the Phanerozoic eon. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 470, 108-118.

Hubalek V., Wu X., Eiler E., Buck M., Heim C., Dopson M., Bertilsson S., Ionescu D. (2016) Connectivity to the surface determines diversity patterns in subsurface aquifers of the Fennoscandian shield. The ISME Journal, 1-12. doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.36

Heim C., Simon K., Ionescu D., De Beer, D., Quéric N.-V., Reitner J., Thiel V. (2015) Assessing the utility of trace and rare earth elements as biosignatures in microbial iron oxyhydroxides. Frontiers in Earth Sciences, doi: 10.3389/feart.2015.00006.

Drake H., Åström M., Heim C., Broman C., Åström J., Whitehouse M., Magnus Ivarsson M., Siljeström S., Sjövall P., (2015) Extreme 13C-depletion of carbonates formed during oxidation of biogenic methane in fractured granite. Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/ncomms8020.

Ionescu D., Heim C., Polerecky L., Thiel V., De Beer, D. (2015) Biotic and abiotic oxidation and reduction of iron at circumneutral pH are inseparable processes under natural conditions. Geomicrobiology Journal, 32, 221-230.

Ionescu D., Heim C., Polerecky L., Ramette A., Haeusler S., Bizic-Ionescu M., Thiel V., De Beer, D. (2015) Diversity of iron oxidizing and reducing bacteria in flow reactors in the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory. Geomicrobiology Journal, 32, 207-220.

Leefmann T., Heim C., Lausmaa J., Sjövall P., Ionescu D., Reitner J., Thiel V. (2015) An imaging mass spectrometry study on the formation of conditioning films and biofilms in the subsurface (Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, SE Sweden). Geomicrobiology Journal, 32, 197-206.

Heim C., Quéric N.-V., Ionescu D., Simon K., Thiel V. (2014) Chemolithotrophic microbial mats in an open pond in the continental subsurface – implications for microbial biosignatures.Göttingen Contribution to Geosciences, 77, 99-112.

Leefmann T., Heim C., Siljeström S., Blumenberg M., Sjövall P., Thiel V. (2013) Spectral characterisation of ten cyclic lipids using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometr, 27, 565-581.

Leefmann T., Heim C., Kryvenda A., Siljeström S., Sjövall P., Thiel V. (2013) Biomarker imaging of single diatom cells in a microbial mat using Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). Organic Geochemistry 57, 23-33.

Heim C., Lausmaa J., Sjövall P., Toporski J., Dieing T., Simon K., Hansen B.T., Kronz A., Arp G., Reitner J., Thiel V. (2012) Ancient microbial activity recorded in fracture fillings from granitic rocks (Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory, Sweden). Geobiology, 10, 280-297.

Heim C. (2011) Terrestrial Deep Biosphere. In J. Reitner & V. Thiel (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Geobiology, Springer, 871-876.

Heim C. (2011) Microbial Biomineralization. In J. Reitner & V. Thiel (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Geobiology, Springer, 586-592.

Heim C., Sjövall P., Lausmaa J., Leefmann T., Thiel V. (2009) Spectral characterization of eight glycerolipids and their detection in natural samples using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 23, 2741-2753.

Sjövall P., Thiel V., Siljeström S., Heim C., Hode T., Lausmaa J. (2008) Organic geochemical microanalysis by time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research 32, 267-277.

Thiel V., Heim C., Arp G., Hahmann U., Sjövall P., Lausmaa J. (2007) Biomarkers at the microscopic range: ToF-SIMS molecular imaging of Archaea-derived lipids in a microbial mat.  Geobiology 5, 413-421.

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