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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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Thomas Wagner is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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

Research Output 1994 2019

Deep Sulfate-Methane-Transition and sediment diagenesis in the Gulf of Alaska (IODP Site U1417)

Zindorf, M., März, C., Wagner, T., Gulick, S. P. S., Strauss, H., Benowitz, J., Jaeger, J., Schnetger, B., Childress, L., Levay, L., van der Land, C. & La Rosa, M., 22 Jul 2019, In : Marine Geology. 417, 105986.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Dynamic climate-driven controls on the deposition of the Kimmeridge Clay Formation in the Cleveland Basin, Yorkshire, UK

Atar, E., März, C., Aplin, A. C., Dellwig, O., Herringshaw, L. G., Lamoureux-Var, V., Leng, M. J., Schnetger, B. & Wagner, T., 13 Aug 2019, In : Climate of the Past. 15, 4, p. 1581-1601 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
total organic carbon

Pyrite oxidation in shales: Implications for palaeo-redox proxies based on geochemical and SEM-EDX evidence

Mahoney, C., März, C., Buckman, J., Wagner, T. & Blanco-Velandia, V-O., 1 Jul 2019, In : Sedimentary Geology. 389, p. 186-199 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

scanning electron microscopy
iron oxide

Carbon isotopes

Wagner, T., Magill, C. R. & Herrle, J. O., 2018, Encyclopedia of Geochemistry: A Comprehensive Reference Source on the Chemistry of the Earth. Springer, p. 194-204 11 p. (Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Fe-S-C Dynamics: Re-examining the role of reactive iron fractions

Mertesdorf, M., Wagner, T. & März, C., 18 Sep 2018, 1st EAGE/IFPEN Conference on Sulfur Risk Management in Exploration and Production. EAGE Publishing BV

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Biological materials
Ferrosoferric Oxide

Activities 2016 2019

  • 6 Participation in conference
  • 1 Oral presentation

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

Thomas Wagner (Speaker)
1 Sep 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

AAPG/ACS Annual Convention San Antonio TX

Thomas Wagner (Invited speaker)
19 May 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

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