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Geobiology Laboratory

On ca. 150 square meters we have established state-of-the-art geobiology facilities. Spaced over three labs, we are equipped to work-up biomass and rock samples for trace organic geochemical, palynological/microfossil and carbon isotope chemostratigraphic analyses.

Follow this link for more information on our labs and facilities.

Analytical instrumentation

The instrument laboratory is furnished with two GC-MS couplets and an LC system. High heat capacity climate regulation and and in-room clean gas supply ensure highest quality standards, allowing us to analyze trace abundances of biomarker hydrocarbons.


Our Almsco Bench-TOF time of flight mass spectrometer allows ultra-high resolution and fast scanning. Used with PTV-injection and fast-GC, it allows highly sensitive full scan analyses of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbon fractions.


This Quantum XLS-Ultra instrument offers the highest sensitivity (down to 100 fg on column) in MS/MS mode. Tuned to perfection in combination with PTV or on-column injection and 'faster' GC, the Quantum is our work horse for biomarker analyses.

LC-UV/ -RI/ -prep

This Agilent 1260 HPLC system is fitted with UV and RI detectors, as well as a fraction collector. It is principally used for work with porphyrins, as well as for the purification of individual hydrocarbons.


Coming in 2017!

Euro EA - CHNS analyzer

Bulk elemental ratios and kerogen thermal maturity (H/C) can be routinely determined after combustion of sample matrices.


Wet-chemistry Laboratory

Fed with HEPA-filtered air and overpressured to minimize airborne contamination. Here the majority of preparative work is done: solvent extraction and concentration, column- and thin-layer chromatography, molecular sieving. A dedicated fume hood allows work with strong mineralic acids including HF.
  • CEM Mars-6 automated microwave extraction
  • Soxhlet-station (6 positions)
  • Büchi Syncore (6x 250 mL) evaporator (two units)
  • Distillation column
  • Solvent (3x) and acid (1x) fume hoods
  • Allegra X12-R XL-centrifuge (self-balancing)
  • Building-wide cooling water circuit (8ºC)
  • Multiple ultrasound baths
  • Two fridges, one freezer (-20ºC)


Rock & Sedimentary Laboratory

A dedicated space used for preparative (sawing, drilling, powdering) and aqueous work, as well as for cleaning of equipment. A separate 'reserved' fume hood allows the workup of rich extracts, 'dirty' samples and oils.
  • Lortone all-stainless-steel rock saw
  • Siebtechnik shatterbox with custom-steel puck and mill
  • Reverse-osmosis DI water
  • TKA GenPure-UV organic clean (1-5 ppb, Type-1) water
  • XL combustion furnce
  • Microablation stations (six positions)
  • Dedicated fume hood for rich samples and oils
  • Setup for catalytic hydrogenation
  • Industrial dish washer
  • Drying ovens


Microscopy / Palynology

Transmission microscopy

Zeiss Stereomicroscope

Our biomarker work is increasingly complemented by microfossil analyses. The pairing of these two disciplines offers the most promising approach to reconstructing early life on Earth and is part of our holistic approach to evolutionary geobiology.

Marine aquarium

Tethya sp. demosponge specimens after freeze drying.

Benthic marine culture

Our work on lipid biosynthesis in live modern organisms (basal metazoa and a variety of protists) is supported by a salt water reef tank kept at 24ºC under normal marine conditions.