Geobiology lab

Research in Geobiology seeks to understand the interplay between life and the environment in the past, present and future. The geological record is an important archive of information about Earth's biological and environmental history. In the Geobiology lab, geochemical techniques are calibrated to extract new information from these archives and controlled experiments are performed to study the geochemical and geobiological processes at play in nature. This information is used to understand governing processes from the microbial to the global scale that dictates Earth’s climate and oxygenation state.

Geobiology wet lab with anaerobic chamber. (Photo: M. Harding)

The Geobiology labs are equipped to prepare samples for elemental, isotopic, molecular and mineralogical analyses in geological and biological materials. We are using a wide range of mass spectrometric and spectroscopic techniques to characterize the samples. Also, we calibrate techniques in modern settings and via controlled laboratory experiments. Geochemical and microbiological experiments (safety class 1) can be carried out under controlled atmospheric conditions and in anaerobic conditions.

Students in the Geobiology research groups will take four distinct approaches to understand the Earth system, its function and history, including:

  1. Geochemical characterization of ancient geological samples
  2. Studies of modern sediments and analogous environments
  3. Performing controlled laboratory experiments (geochemical + biological)
  4. Modelling processes in the Earth system (numerical and/or conceptual)

Geobiology dry lab. (Photo: M. Harding)