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Major research interests

  • Paleobiology of the cephalopods
    Our primary focus is on the paleobiology and phylogeny of nautiloids, ammonoids and coleoids.

  • Calcareous dinoflagellate cysts
    We study the phylogeny of "calcispheres" and their contribution to paleo-oceanographic issues.

  • Ostracods and charophytes
    We focus on applied research in the fields of biostratigraphy, biogeography, paleoecology and climatology.

  • Reef evolution and ecology
    Sea-level fluctuations during Earth's history, evolution of Mesozoic marginal basins, formation of microbial carbonate rocks, interdisciplinary Anthropocene studies.

  • Upper Cretaceous stratigraphy and oceanography
    Stratigraphy and paleoecology of Upper Cretaceous shelf seas.

  • Cenozoic snails
    Research on their systematics and phylogeny as well as their application primarily in the context of paleoclimate and human history.

  • Ancient lakes and climate history
    Research on evolution and climate history relating to several ancient lakes (e.g. Lake Baikal) and Early Cenozoic ecosystems in general. Focus on Central Asia (e.g. the Tibetan Plateau) as well as other regions of the Earth. We study many different groups of fossils (but mainly molluscs).

  • Spores and pollen (palynology)
    Reconstruction of Late Quaternary vegetation and climate, focusing on Central Asia and Siberia.

  • Taphonomy of fossil lagerstätten
    We study fossil sites where organisms – including soft parts – are unusually well preserved. The present focus is on the Cambrian of China (Chengjiang).


Our academic staff and their research focuses

Prof. Dr. Frank Riedel


  • Mikropaläontologie (Ostracoda, Charophyta, Foraminifera)
  • Paläobiographie
  • Paläoklimatologie
  • Paläontologische Datenbanken
  • Geochemie (Stabile Isotopen)
  • Paläoökologie
  • Biostratigraphie
  • Erdgeschichte

Prof. Dr. Reinhold Leinfelder

  • Reef Evolution through Time
  • Local, Regional and Global Control of Jurassic Reef and Carbonate Platform Growth
  • Growth of Modern Reefs in "stressed" settings
  • Comparison of Mid-Palaeozoic and Jurassic Reefal and nonreefal benthic communities
  • Constructional morphology and taxonomy of invertebrates (corals, echinoids, bivalves etc.)
  • Marine and Terrestrial Microbial Systems, Calcareous Algae, enigmatic microorganisms and non-reefal biosedimentology
  • Basin analysis of the Jurassic of the Lusitanian Basin, west-central Portugal
  • Quantitative Basin Modelling: Factors controlling carbonate ramps and platforms in differing plate tectonic settings
  • Progress in Methodologies
  • Museology, Pedagogics, Public Understanding of Research
  • Crossover of Science and Humanities
  • Anthropocene Research - Towards a sustainable use of the World

Prof. Dr. Helmut Keupp

  • Invertebraten
  • Mikropaläontologie des Meso-Känozoikum (Coccolithen, kalkige Dinoflagellaten)
  • Cephalopoden des Phanerozoikum (Schwerpunkt Ammoniten)
  • Riffbildende Organismen des Meso-Känozoikum (Schwämme und mikrobielle Karbonatkruste)
  • Evolutionsökologie
  • Marine Paläoökologie
  • Biostratigraphie (Nannoplankton)
  • Geochemie (Stabile Isotopen)
  • Sedimentologie (Fazies-Analyse)
  • Biologische Methoden (DNA-Analyse, Biosystems Interactions)

Dr. Georg Heiss

  • Biogeoscience Coral Reefs:
    - Use of proxies (growth rates, carbonate production, stable isotopes) in corals to reconstruct environmental change in the Holocene and Anthropocene
    - Effects of climate change on reef ecosystems
    - Human impact, marine conservation, volunteer involvement in science
  • Paleoceanography
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Paleoecology
  • Sedimentology

Prof. Dr. Pavel E. Tarasov

  • Mikropaläontologie
  • Pollen und Pflanzen als Klima und Umweltarchive
  • Paläobiogeographie

Dr. Theo Engeser

  • Mollusca
  • Cephalopoda
  • Biodiversität
  • Evolution
  • Invertebraten-Taxonomie
  • Paläobiogeographie
  • Invertebraten (Phanerozoikum)

Dr. habil Joachim Gründel

  • Jura - Gastropoden (Taxonomie, Philogenie, Paläogeographie)

Dr. Manja Hethke

  • A multiproxy approach to studying lake ecosystems in the Mesozoic

PD Dr. Annette Kossler

  • Quaternary Geosciences
  • Freshwater organisms (molluscs, ostracods, diatoms, chironomids etc.)
  • Karpology (seeds & fruits, plant macrofossils)
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Palaeoecology
  • Environmental reconstructions

Jörg Maletz

  • Evolution of the marine planktic ecosystem and of animal coloniality
  • Patterns of fossil distribution as indicators for basin evolution and sea level changes
  • Global chronostratigraphy and Earth Time - Combining absolute and relative dating methods to understand time constrains of geological processes (sedimentation, eustasy, biological evolution)

Carolina Müller

  • environmental and climate change
  • Holoceneclimate- and human-induced vegetation cover fluctuations in central and southern China

Mathias Ricking

  • Development of sampling equipment for water, porewater and sediment samples
  • Analysis of environmental samples from point and diffuse sources for organic and inorganic compounds, contaminant identification in combination with ecotoxicological analysis, ecological risk assessment
  • Analysis of marine microplastics within the Expedition-MED and MP in urban ecosystem

Franziska Slotta

  • Dendrochronologie
  • Dendroklimatologie

Dr. Michael Steiner

  • Mikrofossilien
  • Paläozoikum
  • Kambrium
  • Präkambrium
  • Invertebraten
  • Algen
  • Mikroben
  • Taphonomie
  • Fossil-Lagerstätten
  • fossile Embryos


  • Anthropocene
  • biosedimentology
  • bivalves
  • Calcareous Algae
  • chironomids
  • chronostratigraphy
  • climate change
  • Coral Reefs
  • corals
  • diatoms
  • echinoids
  • ecosystem
  • environmental
  • Environmental reconstructions
  • Evolution
  • fossil
  • Freshwater organisms
  • Geochemical
  • Geosciences
  • Global change impacts
  • Holoceneclimate
  • Human impact
  • invertebrates
  • Jurassic
  • Karpology
  • Klimawandel
  • Marine
  • marine conservation
  • marine ecosystems
  • Mesozoic
  • Microbial Systems
  • microorganisms
  • Mid-Palaeozoic
  • molluscs
  • morphology
  • Museology
  • ostracods
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Palaeoecology
  • Paleoceanography
  • Paleoclimatology
  • Paleoecology
  • paleontology
  • Pedagogics
  • Quaternary
  • reef ecosystems
  • Reef Evolution
  • schlerochronological
  • Sedimentology
  • taxonomy
  • teleconnections
  • Terrestrial
  • volunteer involvement in science