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Dr. David De Vleeschouwer





+49 421 218-65984



GEO buidling Room 2180

David De Vleeschouwer

Selected Quick Facts

As a paleoceanographer, unraveling environmental proxy signals from past warm climate conditions as recorded in marine sediments is my bread & butter. 

Three "warmer-than-present" Epochs of interest:

  • Pliocene (transition from uni-polar to bi-polar ice sheets)
  • Eocene (transition from ice-free conditions to isolated uni-polar ice caps)
  • Late Devonian (ice-free greenhouse climate state). 

Two main proxies of interest: Natural Gamma Radiation & Clumped isotope paleothermometry

Shipboard scientist on IODP Exp. 356 "Indonesian Throughflow". Shore-based scientist on IODP Exp. 369 "Australia climate and tectonics"

European Geosciences Union (EGU) Outstanding Young Scientist Award in the division of Stratigraphy, Sedimentology and Palaeontology (SSP).

American Geophysical Union (AGU) Nanne Weber Early Career Award in Paleoclimatology & Paleoceanography. 

VOCATIO Laureate for research on Pliocene Australian monsoon dynamics.

Annual Award Laureate in Geology (2014) of the Académie Royale de Belgique.

Full Member (Ordentliches Mitglied) of the German "Subkommission Devon-Stratigraphie".

Co-founder of the Cyclostratigraphy Intercomparison Project

More than 45 peer-reviewed publications (Google Scholar Profile)

Research Interests

My research focus lies on climate - carbon cycle feedback mechanisms (and their changing response to astronomical forcing) under non-Quaternary boundary conditions. For example, on a planet with unipolar ice-sheets, on a planet without 8000 m high Himalayan mountains, on a planet with a wide-open Indonesian Throughflow, or on a planet with more than 500 ppm CO2.

To do so, I study several geological epochs: the Late Devonian (~375 Ma), the Eocene (~40 Ma) and the Pliocene (~5 Ma). None of these time slices are perfect analogues for the Anthropocene, yet they are worth studying as they provide valuable insights into the machinery of the climate system under boundary conditions much unlike today’s. Obviously, the age of the sediment(ary rock) under investigation is very different between the three epochs of interest, but my work always shares a common objective: Integrating the paleoclimate and geochronology aspects of the sedimentary archives to better constrain how much and how fast our planet has been changing. To do so, I draw from my broad skill set (field, lab and numerical modeling) and from a wide range of proxies (isotopic, elemental and geophysical proxies). 

Curriculum vitae

2019 - 2021

Postdoc at MARUM: “Cluster of Excellence – The Ocean Floor – Earth’s Uncharted Interface”

Objective: To derive scenarios for “warmer worlds” through comprehensive decoding of environmental signals from past warm climate conditions as recorded in ocean-floor archives.

2014 - 2019

Postdoc at MARUM: “ERC Consolidator Grant – EARTHSEQUENCING” (Prof. Heiko Pälike).

Objective: To sequence Earth history at astronomical (104-year) resolution over the past 66 Myr.


Physical Properties and Downhole Logging specialist on IODP Expedition 356 “Indonesian Throughflow”.


PhD in Geology from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium): "The influence of orbital forcing on the Devonian (370 Ma) extreme greenhouse climate.”

2010 Master of Science from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium) in Geography – Earth and climate.

Selected peer-reviewed Publications

Useful tools for paleoceanographers

  • De Vleeschouwer D., Drury A. J., Vahlenkamp M., Rochholz F., Liebrand D., Pälike H. (2020). High-latitude biomes and rock weathering mediate climate–carbon cycle feedbacks on eccentricity timescales. Nature Communications, 11: 5013.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18733-w
  • Westerhold T., Marwan N., Drury A. J., Liebrand D., Agnini C., Anagnostou E., Barnet J.S.K, Bohaty S.M., De Vleeschouwer D. [...] Zachos J.C. (2020). An astronomically dated record of Earth’s climate and its predictability over the last 66 million years. Science, 369(6509): 1383.  https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aba6853
  • Sinnesael M., De Vleeschouwer D., Zeeden C. et al. (2019) The Cyclostratigraphy Intercomparison Project (CIP): consistency, merits and pitfalls. Earth-Science Reviews, 199: 102965.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2019.102965
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Dunlea A.G., Auer G. [...] Expedition 356 shipboard scientists (2017) Quantifying K, U and Th contents of marine sediments using shipboard natural gamma radiation spectra measured on DV JOIDES Resolution. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 18: 1053-1064.  https://doi.org/10.1002/2016GC006715
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Vahlenkamp M., Crucifix M., Pälike H. (2017) Alternating southern and northern hesmiphere response to astronomical forcing during the past 35 million years. Geology, 45(4): 375-378.  https://doi.org/10.1130/G38663.1
  • Martinez M., Kotov S., De Vleeschouwer D., Pas D., Pälike H. (2016) Testing the impact of stratigraphic uncertainty on spectral analyses of sedimentary series. Climate of the Past, 12: 1765-1783.


  • Smith R. A., Castañeda I. S., Groeneveld J., De Vleeschouwer D., Henderiks J., et al. (2020) Plio–Pleistocene Indonesian Throughflow variability drove Eastern Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology
  • Karatsolis B.-T., De Vleeschouwer D., Groeneveld J., Christensen B., Henderiks J. (2020). The Late Miocene to Early Pliocene “Humid Interval” on the NW Australian Shelf: Disentangling Climate Forcing From Regional Basin Evolution. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 35(9).
  • Auer G., De Vleeschouwer D., Christensen B. (2020) Toward a robust Plio-Pleistocene chronostratigraphy for ODP Site 762. Geophysical Research Letters 47: e2019GL085198
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Petrick B., Garcia-Marinez A. (2019) Stepwise weakening of the Pliocene Leeuwin Current. Geophysical Research Letters, 46: 8310-8319. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL083670
  • Auer G., De Vleeschouwer D., Smith R.A., Bogus K., Groeneveld J., Grunert P., Castañeda I.S., Petrick B., Christensen B., Fulthorpe C., Gallagher S.J., Henderiks J. (2019) Timing and pacing of Indonesian Throughflow restriction and its connection to Late Pliocene climate shifts. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 34: 635-657.
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Auer G., Smith R., Bogus K., Christensen B., Groeneveld J., Petrick B., Henderiks J., Castañeda I.S., O'Brien E., Ellinghausen M., Gallagher S.J., Fulthorpe C.S., Pälike H. (2018) The amplifying effect of Indonesian Throughflow heat transport on Late Pliocene Southern Hemisphere climate cooling. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 500: 15-27.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2018.07.035
  • Christensen B.A., Renema W., Henderiks J., De Vleeschouwer D., Groeneveld J., Castañeda I.S., Reuning L., Bogus K., Auer G., Ishiwa T., McHugh C.M., Gallagher S.J., Fulthorpe C.S., and IODP Expedition 356 Scientists (2017). Indonesian Throughflow drove Australian climate from humid Pliocene to arid Pleistocene. Geophysical Research Letters 44: 6914-6925.
  • Groeneveld J., Hendriks J., Renema W., McHugh C.M., De Vleeschouwer D., Christensen B.A., Fulthorpe C.S., Reuning L., Gallagher S., Bogus K., Auer G., Ishiwa T. and Expedition 356 scientists (2017). Australian shelf sediments reveal shifts in Miocene Southern Hemisphere Westerlies. Science Advances, 3(5).


  • Vahlenkamp M., De Vleeschouwer D., Batenburg S. […] and Expedition 369 Scientific Participants (2020) An early to middle Eocene astrochronology for the Mentelle Basin (Australia) and its implications for the geologic time scale. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 529: 115865. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115865
  • Boulila S., Vahlenkamp M., De Vleeschouwer D., Laskar J., Yamamoto Y., Pälike H., Kirtland Turner S., Sexton P., Westerhold T., Röhl U. (2018) Towards a robust and consistent middle Eocene astronomical timescale. Earth and Planetary Science Letters
 486: 94-107
  • Vahlenkamp M., Niezgodzki I., De Vleeschouwer D., Lohmann G., Bickert T., Pälike H. (2018) Ocean and climate response to North Atlantic seaway changes at the onset of long-term Eocene cooling. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 498: 185-195
  • Vahlenkamp M., Niezgodzki I., De Vleeschouwer D., Bickert T., Harper D., Kirtland Turner S., Lohmann G., Sexton P., Zachos J., Pälike H. (2018) Astronomically paced changes in deep-water circulation in the western North Atlantic during the middle Eocene. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 484: 329-340.


  • Da Silva A.-C., Sinnesael M., Claeys P., [...] De Vleeschouwer D. (2020). Anchoring the Late Devonian mass extinction in absolute time by integrating climatic controls and radio-isotopic dating. Scientific Reports, 10: 12940. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-69097-6
  • Da Silva A.C., Dekkers M.J., De Vleeschouwer D., Hladil J., Chadimova L., Slavik L., Hilgen F.J. (2018) Millennial-scale climate changes manifest Milankovitch combination tones and Hallstatt solar cycles in the Devonian greenhouse world. Geology, 47(1): 19-22.
  • Percival L.M.E., Davies J.H.F.L., Schaltegger U., De Vleeschouwer D., Da Silva A.-C., Föllmi K. B. (2018). Precisely dating the Frasnian-Famennian boundary: implications for the cause of the Late Devonian mass extinction. Scientific Reports, 8: 9578.
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Königshof P. and Claeys P. (2018). Reading time and paleoenvironmental change in the Emsian-Eifelian boundary GSSP section (Wetteldorf, Germany): A combination of cyclostratigraphy and facies analysis. Newsletters on Stratigraphy, 51(2) 209-226. https://doi.org/10.1127/nos/2017/0397
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Da Silva A.C., Sinnesael M., Chen D., Day J.E., Whalen M.T., Guo Z., Claeys P. (2017) Timing and pacing of the Late Devonian mass extinction event regulated by eccentricity and obliquity. Nature Communications, 8: 2268.
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Leather D., Claeys P. (2015) Ripple marks indicate Mid-Devonian paleo-wind directions in the Orcadian Basin (Orkney Isles, Scotland). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 426: 68-74
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Boulvain F., Da Silva A.C., Pas D., Labaye C., Claeys P. (2015): The astronomical calibration of the Givetian (Middle Devonian) time scale. Geological Society of London Special Publications 414: 245-256
  • De Vleeschouwer D., Crucifix M., Bounceur N., Claeys P. (2014): The impact of astronomical forcing on the Late Devonian greenhouse climate. Global and Planetary Change 120: 65-85

  • De Vleeschouwer, D., Parnell, A. (2014): Reducing time scale uncertainty for the Devonian by integrating astrochronology and Bayesian statistics. Geology 42: p. 491-494

  • Da Silva A.C., De Vleeschouwer D., Boulvain F., Claeys P., Fagel N., Humblet M., Mabille C., Michel J., Sardar Abadi M., Pas D., Dekkers M.J. (2013): Magnetic susceptibility as a high-resolution correlation tool and as a climatic proxy in Paleozoic rocks – Merits and pitfalls: Examples from the Devonian in Belgium. Marine and Petroleum Geology 46: 173-189.

  • De Vleeschouwer, D., Rakociński M., Racki G., Bond D. P. G., Sobień K., and Claeys P. (2013): The astronomical rhythm of Late-Devonian climate change (Kowala section, Holy Cross Mountains, Poland). Earth and Planetary Science Letters 365: 25-37.

  • De Vleeschouwer, D., M. T. Whalen, J. E. Day, and P. Claeys (2012): Cyclostratigraphic calibration of the Frasnian (Late Devonian) time scale (western Alberta, Canada). Geological Society of America Bulletin 124(5-6): 928-942.

  • De Vleeschouwer, D., A. C. Da Silva, F. Boulvain, M. Crucifix, and P. Claeys (2012): Precessional and half-precessional climate forcing of Mid-Devonian monsoon-like dynamics. Climate of the Past 8: 337-351.

Teaching & academic service


Laboratory Course “Sedimentologic expression of Cenozoic climate events in marine sediment cores”

in the MSc program Marine Geosciences at the Universität Bremen. 3 ECTS. Lecturer & examiner.

[4 full days, 14 students]


Basic knowledge course “Physics of the Climate System” 

at the Bremen International Graduate School for Marine Sciences (GLOMAR). Lecturer.

[2 half days, 8 students]


Specific knowledge course "Time series analysis of paleoclimate signals"

at the Bremen International Graduate School for Marine Sciences (GLOMAR). Lecturer.

[3 full days, 15 students]


BSc course “Stratigraphy and Sedimentology”

at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 5 ECTS. Lecturer of all lectures, lab- and fieldwork during sabbatical of Prof. Dr. P. Claeys & Examiner.

[11 x 3 hours (theory & lab) + 2 x 6 hours (field), 7 students]

2017 - 2021

Project leader of IGCP-652 Reading geologic time in Paleozoic sedimentary rocks (200+ participants from 36 countries)

Organizer of the Opening Meeting and field excursion (East Sauerland + Harz Mountains) in 2018 in/from Bremen.

2017 - 2018

Postdoc representative at MARUM.

Organizer of the Postdoc Day & Postdoc Career Day, together with Lukas Jonkers

Media and Outreach

Article in
Article in "Die Zeit" [11.01.2018] on deep-sea oxygen, based on Stolper and Keller, 2018 (Nature)
Explore Science!
Explore Science! "Astronomy" on 30. and 31. August 2018 in Bürgerpark Bremen: Explaining the connection between planetary movements in our solar system and climate change in the geological record. (Photo by Anna-Joy Drury)