Biomarker & Paläoklima

We are working in the field of biomarker analysis and their application for paleoclimatologic reconstructions. Biomarker are organic molecules that are highly specific for certain organisms, and their structure (e.g. count of double bonds) and isotopic composition relates to the climatic conditions (e.g. temperature, rainfall, pH) they were produced in. Biomarker are very resistant to degradation and keep their original structure over long timescales up to millions of years. Therefore, if we find these molecules in our climate archives (marine & lacustrine sediments, sedimentary rocks etc) we can infer information about past climates. Examples of biomarkers I’m interested in include δD and δ13C values of plant leaf waxes (long-chained n-alkanes and n-alkanoic acids), alkenones, Glycerol-Dialkyl-Glycerol-Diethers (“GDGTs”), plant terpernoids, and sterols. For biomarker analysis I use GC-MS, GC-IRMS and HPLC/APCI-MS.

For further information go to:


Mulch AG Bilder
Prof. Dr. Andreas Mulch

Research interests

My primary research interest is the interplay between the processes that shape the Earth’s surface and their geodynamic counterparts at depth, in particular interactions between climate, landscape evolution, and mountain building. The terrestrial biosphere plays an important role in various aspects of this research including controls on the global carbon cycle, atmospheric moisture transport, and weathering and erosion. My current research involves the use of isotopes as tracers of (bio-)geochemical processes from the ecosystem to the orogen scale with a particular focus on the Cenozoic evolution of coupled climatic and tectonic processes. Projects currently underway include stable isotope paleoaltimetry and reconstruction of Cenozoic terrestrial paleoclimate in western North America, the Andes, the Alps, and the Anatolian Plateau including the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Current Projects

Neogene to Quaternary tectono-geomorphic Evolution and paleo-hydrology of the South Central Andes, NW Argentina, DFG (2012-2014)

How is rifting exhuming the youngest high-pressure and ultrahigh-pressure rocks on earth? U.S. NSF Continental Dynamics (coord. S. Baldwin, Syracuse)

Central Anatolian Tectonics (CD-CAT) U.S. NSF Continental Dynamics (2012-2017, coord. D. Whitney, Minnesota)

Stanford University – Senckenberg Program on Biodiversity, Climate and Earth System Dynamics

Stable isotope paleoaltimetry and paleoclimate reconstructions of Late Cenozoic surface uplift of the Anatolian Plateau ESF-DFG TopoEurope (2009-2013)

Stable isotope paleoaltimetry and surface uplift of the Neogene Alps ESF-DFG TopoEurope (2009-2012)

Recovering surface uplift histories and climate dynamics of the Cenozoic North American Cordillera through integrated climate modeling, sedimentology, stable isotopic and cooling age studies (PI Chamberlain, Stanford)  (2010-2013)


Professional Activities
2009 Associate Editor American Journal of Science
2009 Beirat der Geologischen Vereinigung 

Honors and Awards

2013 Cox Visiting Professor, Stanford University

Short CV

Since 2015  Director, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt
Since 05/2014 Cox Visiting Professor, Stanford University
Since 2013 Vice-Director General, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museums
Since 2012 Member of Board of Directors, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museums
Since 2010 Vice-Director, Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)
Since 2010 Full Professor, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Institute of Geoscience
2007 – 2010 Director & Associate Professor, Leibniz University Hannover, Institute of Geology 
2004 – 2006 Research Associate, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, USA
2004 – 2005 Post doctoral Research Associate, Geology and Geophysics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Stanford University, USA
2004 Doctorate in Geochemistry (Dr. ès sciences) Université de Lausanne, Switzerland
1999 Diploma in Geology (Dipl. Geol.) University of Giessen, Germany

Research interests

Organic Geochemistry

Analysis of molecular biomarker such as stable hydrogen (δD) and stable carbon (δ13C) isotope compositions of plant waxes as proxies for past rainfall and vegetation change and GDGT based paleothermometry on terrestrial climate archives.

Academic and Professional Background
Since 2013 Research assistant at Biodiversity and Climate Research Center Frankfurt (BiK-F)
2010-2011 Project collaborator at the CVR (Consorzio Venezia Ricerche), Venice, Italy

2012 Master Thesis in Environmental Sciences at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy: “Geochemical Characterization Of A Shallow Firn Core Retrieved From Colle Gnifetti (Monte Rosa, Italy)” 
2009-2012 MSc in Environmental Sciences at the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy and Hiroshima, Japan (Joint Degree – Joint International Master in Sustainable Development)
2003 – 2007 BSc in Natural Sciences at the University of Padua, Italy

Fabian Schemmel
Ph.D. student
Ph.D. student

Research Interests

Paleoclimate Reconstruction
Organic Geochemistry
Stable Isotopes in Precipitation

Academic and Professional Background

Since 2010 Research assistant at Biodiversity and Climate Research Center Frankfurt (BiK-F)

2008 – 2010 Research assistant at Institute for Geology, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University Hannover (Germany)


2008 Diploma Thesis in collaboration with the Department for Marine Geology and Deep-Sea Mining, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Hannover, Germany: „Sedimentological and geochemical characterization of deposits in the forearc-basin of Sumatra since the last Deglaciation”

2002 – 2008 Academic studies “Geowissenschaften” at Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University Hannover, Germany

Schemmel, F., Mikes, T., Rojay, B. & Mulch, A. (2013). The impact of topography on isotopes in precipitation across the Central Anatolian Plateau (Turkey). American Journal of Science, DOI: 10.2475/02.2013.01.


A2.10: Earth surface processes and paleoclimate dynamics

A2.11: Stable isotope paleoclimate reconstructions

A2.20: Biomarker & paleoclimate