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 (28, 10 current), MSc (67), 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

Strategic Research Adviser, 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

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1994 2017

  • 50 Article
  • 4 Literature review
  • 2 Meeting abstract
  • 1 Review article

A record of aerobic methane oxidation in tropical Africa over the last 2.5 Ma

Spencer-Jones, C. L., Wagner, T. & Talbot, H. M. 1 Dec 2017 In : Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 218, p. 27-39 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

greenhouse gas

Cretaceous sea-surface temperature evolution: Constraints from TEX86 and planktonic foraminiferal oxygen isotopes

O'Brien, C. L. , Robinson, S. A. , Pancost, R. D. , Sinninghe Damsté, J. S. , Schouten, S. , Lunt, D. J. , Alsenz, H. , Bornemann, A. , Bottini, C. , Brassell, S. C. , Farnsworth, A. J. , Forster, A. , Huber, B. T. , Inglis, G. N. , Jenkyns, H. C. , Linnert, C. , Littler, K. , Markwick, P. , McAnena, A. , Mutterlose, J. & 7 others Naafs, B. D. A., Püttmann, W., Sluijs, A., van Helmond, N. A. G. M., Vellekoop, J., Wagner, T. & Wrobel, N. E. Sep 2017 In : Earth-Science Reviews. 172, p. 224-247

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Evaluation of branched GDGTs and leaf wax n-alkane δ²H as (paleo) environmental proxies in East Africa

Coffinet, S., Huguet, A., Pedentchouk, N., Bergonzini, L., Omuombo, C., Williamson, D., Anquetil, C., Jones, M., Majule, A., Wagner, T. & Derenne, S. 1 Feb 2017 In : Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 198, p. 182–193 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Identifying biogenic silica: Mudrock micro-fabric explained through charge contrast imaging

Buckman, J., Mahoney, C., Maerz, C., Wagner, T. & Blanco, V. 3 Apr 2017 In : American Mineralogist. 102, 4, p. 833-844 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Silicon Dioxide
Imaging techniques

Methane seepage in a Cretaceous greenhouse world recorded by an unusual carbonate deposit from the Tarfaya Basin, Morocco

Smrzka, D., Zwicker, J., Kolonic, S. F., Birgel, D., Little, C. T. S., Marzouk, A. M., Chellai, E. H., Wagner, T. & Peckmann, J. 15 Mar 2017 In : Depositional Record.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access