• EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

  • Research Avenue South, The Lyell Centre

    EH14 4AP Edinburgh

    United Kingdom

1994 …2020

Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Over the past two decades of research and training/teaching in Kiel (GEOMAR), Bremen University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (Royal NIOZ), Newcastle University and, since 2016, at The Lyell Centre at Heriot-Watt University, at I have made major achievements in two broad, interrelated themes: (1) Controls on petroleum source rock formation linked to biogeochemical cycles, past anoxic greenhouse oceans, and major global climate perturbations; (2) Carbon and nutrient cycling from land to ocean, linking the hydrological evolution of continental watersheds and global climate with marine response mechanisms. These activities have been closely tied to large international research programs, including IODP and the UK NERC-MethaneNetwork, targeting processes that cover a broad range of scales, from molecular to global and almost instantaneous (events), to centennial-millennial, to long-term geological.

The nature of my research is inherently multi-disciplinary, combining geology, palaeo-climatology/palaeo-oceanography, geochemistry (organic, inorganic, isotopic), sedimentology, hydrology, aspects of microbiology, biogeochemical and global climate modeling, and ecosystem sciences. This approach enables to improve understanding of modern processes at critical Earth surface interfaces, including soil-river transitions in tropical rainforests, river–shelf-deep sea fan transitions (e.g. Congo, Amazon, Yangtze), anoxic/euxinic redox systems (e.g. Namibian shelf), and the dynamics of organic matter transport and focusing in deep ocean sediments (e.g. North Atlantic drift deposits). This focus on the sources, fate, and interactions of organic carbon, as it moves through the modern environment, is stored in the sediments, and utilized by biological and abiological prosesses, directly underpins Ecosystem Research and the reconstruction of past climate-ocean systems, including Late Quaternary glacial-interglacial cycles and Paleogene-Mesozoic Oceanic Anoxic Events (OAEs) and Hyperthermals, and ultimately hydrocarbon source rock formation.

Roles & Responsibilities

As a researcher with duties in teaching and administration I have extensive experience in the planning, development and delivery of high-quality, research-led education, including geological field traning. My education and professional qualifications include supervision of students at PhD (26, 7 current), MSc (56), and Diploma/Bachelor (14) level.

My portfolio in research-led teaching has been developing a curriculum in Earth System Sciences with special emphasis on Petroleum Geochemistry, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, Energy and Climate, Paleoclimatology/ Paleoceanography, and Field Geology, including analytical techniques at bulk and molecular level. I am closely engagement with MSc and doctoral students as lecturer, supervisor and as Director of Postgraduate Studies. 

External positions

Newcastle University


  • QE Geology
  • Global Biogeochemical Cycles and Climate
  • Biogeochemistry of modern and greenhouse oceans
  • High time-resolution Paleoclimatology/Paleoceanography
  • Atmosphere-Land-Ocean Interactions
  • Cenozoic-Mesozoic climate perturbations
  • Riverine dissolved organic matter
  • Terrestrial carbon cycling from land to ocean
  • Mechanisms of hydrocarbon source rock formation
  • Improved strategies for unconventional petroleum exploitation

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Research Output

Fine-Scale Heterogeneity of Pyrite and Organics within Mudrocks: Scanning Electron Microscopy and Image Analysis at the Large Scale

Buckman, J., Aboussou, A., Esegbue, O., Wagner, T. & Gambacorta, G., 16 Apr 2020, In : Minerals. 10, 4, 354.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 7 Downloads (Pure)

    Geomechanical properties of coal macerals; measurements applicable to modelling swelling of coal seams during CO2 sequestration

    Fender, T., Rouainia, M., van der Land, C., Jones, D. M., Mastalerz, M., Hennisen, J. A. I., Graham, S. P. & Wagner, T., 1 Aug 2020, In : International Journal of Coal Geology. 228, 103528.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Reconstructing oxygen deficiency in the glacial Gulf of Alaska: Combining biomarkers and trace metals as paleo-redox proxies

    Zindorf, M., Rush, D., Jaeger, J., Mix, A., Penkrot, M. L., Schnetger, B., Sidgwick, F. R., Talbot, H. M., van der Land, C., Wagner, T., Walczak, M. & März, C., 12 Sep 2020, In : Chemical Geology. 558, 119864.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • The impact of Early Cretaceous gateway evolution on ocean circulation and organic carbon burial in the emerging South Atlantic and Southern Ocean basins

    Dummann, W., Steinig, S., Hofmann, P., Flögel, S., Osborne, A. H., Frank, M., Herrle, J. O., Bretschneider, L., Sheward, R. M. & Wagner, T., 15 Jan 2020, In : Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 530, 115890.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)

    The secret ‘after life’ of foraminifera: Big things out of small

    Buckman, J., Mahoney, C., März, C. & Wagner, T., Jun 2020, In : Minerals. 10, 6, 550.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 8 Downloads (Pure)


    • 6 Participation in conference
    • 1 Oral presentation

    AAPG/ACS Annual Convention San Antonio TX

    Thomas Wagner (Invited speaker)

    19 May 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    Deep-water source rocks in Cretaceous basins around Africa: prospects and challenges

    Thomas Wagner (Speaker)

    1 Sep 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    Sixth EAGE Shale Workshop

    Thomas Wagner (Invited speaker)

    29 Apr 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    57th Britisch Sedimentological Research Group (BSRG)

    Thomas Wagner (Invited speaker)

    17 Dec 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

    Organic Carbon Cycle and Biogeochemistry in Marginal Seas II

    Thomas Wagner (Invited speaker)

    13 Oct 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference