Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Volker Thiel


Dr. rer. nat., Professor of Organic Geochemistry
Geoscience Center, Georg-August University of Göttingen
Geobiology Group
Goldschmidtstr. 3
37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone:+49-(0)551-39-14395 (office) 39-7951 (secretariat)
Fax: +49-(0)551-397918

Professional career

Volker Thiel received a Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry from the University of Hamburg (Germany) in 1997.
For many years, he has been doing geobiological research with a focus on the use of organic molecules as biomarkers- for biogeochemical pathways. Since 2002, he is working in the Geobiology Group as a professor of Organic Geochemistry.

  • Since 2002: Professor (C3) at the University of Göttingen

  • 2000-2002: Habilitation fellowship, German Research Foundation: "Molecular process markers for the turnover of methane in marine environments" (University of Hamburg)

  • 1998-2000: Research fellowship, German Research Foundation: "Lipid biomarkers for the major groups of Porifera and their microbial symbionts" (University of Hamburg)

  • 1998: Postdoctoral fellow (University of Göttingen / University of Hamburg)

  • 1997: Doctoral thesis: "Organic compounds in Porifera and biogenic carbonates: facies, chemotaxonomy and molecular fossils" (in german)

  • 1993-1997: Doctoral fellow (Free University of Berlin / University of Hamburg)

  • 1993: Diploma in Geology / Palaeontology, after study at the Technical University of Braunschweig and the University of Hamburg. "Investigations of biomarkers as facies indicators for limnic sedimentary environments" (in german)
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Main research interests

  • Geobiology of ancient ecosystems

  • Lipid biomarkers as indicators for biogeochemical processes

  • Postdepositional controls on the preservation of molecular fossils

  • Microbial control on mineral formation
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Lectures and courses

  • Geochemie I (Geochemistry; lecture; B.Sc. Geoscience - B.Geo.109, LV3 “Biogeochemistry”)

  • Biogeochemie (Biogeochemistry; lecture, seminar series, and 5 days lab course; M.Sc. Geoscience - M.Geo.114

  • Karten und Profile (Maps and Profiles; 12 days field course, Hildesheimer Wald and Sackwald; B.Sc. Geoscience - B.Geo.107, LV2

  • Karten und Profile (Maps and Profiles; 6 days field course, Hildesheimer Wald; B.Sc. Ecosystem Management - B.ÖSM.105, LV2)

  • Methan (Methane; seminar series; M.Sc. Geoscience - M.Geo.332)

  • Globaler Wandel (Global Change; lecture and seminar series “Proxies and Biosignatures”; M.Sc. Geoscience; M.Geo.103, LV3)
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Selected publications

(see Geobiology homepage for a detailed record)

Heim C., Simon K., Quéric N.-V., Reitner J., Thiel V. (2015) Trace and rare earth element accumulation and fractionation in microbial iron oxyhydroxides. Frontiers in Earth Science 3 (6), 1-15. doi:10.3389/feart.2015.00006.

Berndmeyer C., Thiel V., Schmale O., Wasmund N., Blumenberg M. (2014) Biomarkers in the stratified water column of the Landsort Deep (Baltic Sea). Biogeosciences 11, 7009–7023.

Thiel V., Blumenberg M., Kiel S., Leefmann T., Lindgren J., Sjövall P., Treude T., Zilla T. (2014) Occurrence and fate of fatty acyl biomarkers in an ancient whale bone (Oligocene, El Cien Formation, Mexico). Organic Geochemistry 68, 71-81.

Leefmann, T., Heim, C., Kryvenda, A., Siljeström, S., Sjövall, P., and 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.

Lindgren, J., Uvdal, P., Sjövall, P., Nilsson, D.E., Engdahl, A., Schultz B.P., Thiel, V. (2012) Molecular preservation of the pigment melanin in fossil melanosomes. Nature Communications 3, doi:10.1038/ncomms1819.

Thiel V. and Sjövall, P. (2011) Using time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry to study biomarkers. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 39, 125-156.

Blumenberg,M., Thiel, V., Riegel, W., Kah, L.C. & Reitner, J., (2011) Biomarkers of black shales formed by microbial mats, Late Mesoproterozoic (1.1 Ga) Taoudeni Basin, Mauritania. Precambrian Research (in press), doi:10.1016/j.precamres.2011.11.010.

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.

Peckmann J. & Thiel V. (2004) Carbon cycling at ancient methane-seeps. Chemical Geology 205, 443-467.

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