Investigations on Organo- and Biomineralisation processes are a central research topic of the Geobiology department of Göttingen. Biomineralisation describes enzymatically controlled mineral-forming processes in disequilibrium with the ambient environment. Main research interests are the Precambrian onset of metazoan biomineralisation (Cloudina-reefs), detection of organic matrix molecules within mineralised compounds, and the analysis and recognition of genes which are involved in the formation of biomineral-forming macromolecules, mainly proteins in ancestral metazoans. Model organisms for these investigations are coralline sponges (e.g. Astrosclera willeyana ) and azooxanthelate scleratinian corals (e.g. Lophelia, Madrepora ).

Beside the research on enzymatically controlled biomineralisation the formation and function of microbial EPS (exopolymeric mucus substances)-related mineralisation are an important research focus. EPS-biomineralisation is a crucial non-enzymatic process in the formation e.g. of methane carbonates, fresh water tufa, and generally of stromatolites and microbialites.

Organomineralisation describes rock-forming processes under control of non-living organic compounds, e.g. various types of metal-binding biogenic and geogenic macromolecules. Organomineralisation plays a crucial role in the formation of sedimentary automicrites, cements, and low temperature heavy metal ores.

All types of organo- and biominerals retain information of the ambient environmental conditions and therefore are excellent proxy archives. The analysis of biogenic carbonates and silica allows the detailed reconstruction of paleoenvironments.


Prof. Dr. Daniel Jackson
Prof. Dr. Joachim Reitner