Dr. Jan-Peter Duda

Head of the DFG Emmy Noether Research Group “Sedimentology & Organic Geochemistry” (starting 2020)


Universität Tübingen
Angewandte Geowissenschaften
Schnarrenbergstrasse 94-96
72076 Tübingen


Research Summary

I am examining geological records to reconstruct the interplay between life and environment across the breadth of geological time (“geobiology”). My research combines field and laboratory-based analytical approaches from sedimentology and organic geochemistry, including various analytical imaging techniques, catalytic hydropyrolysis (HyPy), and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). This integrative approach enables me to unravel the complex dynamics at play in environments of any type and age – from the terrestrial to the marine realm, and from the Archean up until today.

My current research focuses on the emergence of life in the Archean (>2.5 billion years ago), the diversification of eukaryotic life in the Neoproterozoic (1.000–541 million years ago), and ecosystem dynamics during critical transitions in the Phanerozoic. Further topics of my research are the microbial impact on sedimentation, the fate of sedimentary biosignatures (biominerals, lipid biomarkers), the sedimentology and taphonomy of organic matter (deposition, diagenesis, kerogen formation), and the discrimination of abiogenic and biogenic signatures in hydrothermal environments.


Education & Professional Background

Start 2020
Group Leader

Independent DFG Emmy-Noether Research Group “Sedimentology & Organic Geochemistry”, University of Tübingen, Germany

Visiting Scholar

University of California Riverside, USA (12 months)

Since 2014

Working Group “Origin of Life”, Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Germany

Assistant Professor

Department of Geobiology, University of Göttingen, Germany

Visiting Doctoral Student

Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, PR China (6 months)

Dr. rer. nat.

University of Göttingen, Germany; with “summa cum laude”

MSc Geosciences

University of Bremen, Germany

BSc Geosciences

University of Bremen, Germany

Academic Honors, Awards & Fellowships

2020: DFG Emmy-Noether Fellowship (DU 1450/7-1)

2018: DFG Research Fellowship (DU 1450/4-1)

2014: Best Oral Presentation Award, 3rd International Conference of Geobiology, Wuhan, PR China

2013: Young Scientist Award, Paläontologische Gesellschaft & Palaeontological Society of China

2011: DAAD PhD fellowship

Research Funding (Principal Investigator)


DFG Emmy-Noether Research Project “Reaching for life in the distant past – deciphering the geobiology of modern and ancient hydrothermal sulfides” (DU 1450/7-1)


DFG Research Project “Kerogen in Archean rocks: Biotic vs abiotic signatures – Pt. II” (DU 1450/3-2; part of the DFG SPP 1833 "Building a Habitable Earth",


DFG Research Project “Paleoecology vs taphonomy: Unraveling the molecular fossil record of the Mesoproterozoic Lakhanda Lagerstätte (SE Siberia, Russia)” (DU 1450/5-1; DFG-RFBR-Call 2017)


Start-up fund “Causes and triggers for early metazoan evolution: Deciphering the geobiology of Ediacaran carbonate ecosystems”; Research Department, University of Göttingen


DFG Research Project “Kerogen in Archean rocks: Biotic vs abiotic signatures” (DU 1450/3-1; part of the DFG SPP 1833 "Building a Habitable Earth",

Service (Reviewing and Editorial work)

Reviewer: Astrobiology, Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France (BSGF), Cambridge Elements, Carbonates and Evaporites, Geobiology, German Research Foundation (DFG), Marine and Petroleum Geology, NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships, Nature, Newsletters on Stratigraphy, Organic Geochemistry

Editorial boards: PalZ (Paläontologische Zeitschrift)

Guest editorials: International Journal of Astrobiology, PalZ

Advisory board: Paläontologische Gesellschaft


Publications (Peer Reviewed Only)

Duda, J.-P.*, Love, G. D, Rogov, V. I., Melnik, D. S., Blumenberg, M. & Grazhdankin, D.V. (2020): Understanding the geobiology of the terminal Ediacaran Khatyspyt Lagerstätte (Arctic Siberia, Russia). Geobiology (

Sengupta, S., Peters, S.T., Reitner, J., Duda, J.-P., & Pack, A.* (2020): Triple oxygen isotopes of cherts through time. Chemical Geology (

Reinhard, M.*, Goetz, W., Duda, J.-P., Heim, C., Reitner, J. & Thiel, V. (2019): Organic signatures in Pleistocene cherts from Lake Magadi (Kenya), analogs for early Earth hydrothermal deposits. Biogeosciences, 16, 12, 2443–2465 (

Rincón-Tomás, B.*, Duda, J.-P., Somoza, L., Javier González, F., Schneider, D., Medialdea,
T., Madureira, P., Hoppert, M., & Reitner, J. (2019): Cold-water corals and hydrocarbon-rich seepage in the 1 Pompeia Province (Gulf of Cádiz) — living on the edge. Biogeosciences, 16, 7. 1607–1627, (

Duda, J.-P.*, Thiel, V., Bauersachs, T., Mißbach, H., Reinhardt, M., Schäfer, N., Van Kranendonk, M. J., & Reitner, J. (2018). Ideas and perspectives: hydrothermally driven redistribution and sequestration of early Archaean biomass–the “hydrothermal pump hypothesis”. Biogeosciences 15, 5, 1535-1548 (

Mißbach, H.*, Schmidt, B. C., Duda, J.-P., Lünsdorf, N. K., Goetz, W., & Thiel, V. (2018). Assessing the diversity of lipids formed via Fischer-Tropsch-type reactions. Organic Geochemistry, 119, 110-121 (

Reinhardt, M.*, Duda, J.-P., Blumenberg, M., Ostertag‐Henning, C., Reitner, J., Heim, C., & Thiel, V. (2018). The taphonomic fate of isorenieratene in Lower Jurassic shales—controlled by iron? Geobiology, 16, 3, 237-251 (

Shen, Y.*, Thiel, V., Duda, J.-P., & Reitner, J. (2018). Tracing the fate of steroids through a hypersaline microbial mat (Kiritimati, Kiribati/Central Pacific). Geobiology, 16, 3, 307-318 (

Duda, J.-P.*, Thiel, V., Reitner, J., Grazhdankin, D. (2016): Opening up a window into ecosystems with Ediacara-type organisms: Preservation of molecular fossils in the Khatyspyt Lagerstätte (Arctic Siberia). PalZ 90, 4, 659–671 (doi:

Duda, J.-P.*, Van Kranendonk, M., Thiel, V., Ionescu, D., Strauss, H., Schäfer, N., Reitner, J. (2016): A rare glimpse of Paleoarchean life: Geobiology of an exceptionally preserved microbial mat facies from the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Formation, Western Australia. PLOS ONE 11, 1, e0147629 (

Mißbach, H.*, Duda, J.-P., Lünsdorf, N.K., Schmidt, B.C., Thiel, V. (2016): Testing the preservation of biomarkers during experimental maturation of an immature kerogen. International Journal of Astrobiology 15, 3, 165–175 (

Duda, J.-P.*, Zhu, M., Reitner, J. (2015): Depositional dynamics of a bituminous carbonate facies in a tectonically-induced intra-platform basin: The Shibantan Member (Dengying Formation, Ediacaran Period). Carbonates and Evaporites 31, 1, 87–99 (

Reitner, J.*, Blumenberg, M., Walliser, E.-O., Schäfer, N., Duda, J.-P. (2015): Methane-derived carbonate conduits from the late Aptian of Salinac (Marne Bleues, Vocontian Basin, France): Petrology and biosignatures. Marine and Petroleum Geology 66, 3, 641–652 (

Sánchez-Beristain, F.*, Simon, K., Pérez-Cruz, L., García-Barrera, P., López-Esquivel Kranksith, L., Urrutia-Fucugauchi, J., Duda, J.-P. (2015): The use of LA-ICP-MS in a pilot study for determining the concentration of selected trace elements in rudist shells. Boletín Geológico y Minero 126, 1, 159–168 (ISSN: 0366-0176)

Duda, J.-P.*, Thiel, V., Reitner, J., Blumenberg, M. (2014): Assessing possibilities and limitations for biomarker analyses on outcrop samples: A case study on carbonates of the Shibantan Member (Ediacaran Period, Dengying Formation, South China). Acta Geologica Sinica (English version) 88, 6, 1696–1704 (

Duda, J.-P.*, Blumenberg, M., Thiel, V., Simon, K., Zhu, M., Reitner, J. (2014): Geobiology of a palaeoecosystem with Ediacara-type fossils: The Shibantan Member (Dengying Formation, South China). Precambrian Research 255, 48–62 (

Afşar, F.*, Duda, J.-P., Zeller, M., Verwer, K., Westphal, H., Eberli, G. P. (2014): First report of sponge rhaxes in the Picún Leufú Formation (Tithonian–Berriasian), Neuquén Basin, Argentina. In: Wiese, F., Reich, M., Arp, G. (Eds.): „Spongy, slimy, cosy & more...”. Commemorative volume in celebration of the 60th birthday of Professor Joachim Reitner. Göttingen Contributions to Geosciences 77, 49–56 (

Luo, C.*, Schäfer, N., Duda, J.-P., Li, L.-X. (2014): Preservation of organic matter in sponge fossils: a case study of ‘round sponge fossils’ from the Cambrian Chengjiang Biota with Raman spectroscopy. In: Wiese, F., Reich, M., Arp, G. (Eds.): „Spongy, slimy, cosy & more...”. Commemorative volume in celebration of the 60th birthday of Professor Joachim Reitner. Göttingen Contributions to Geosciences 77, 29–38 (

Sánchez-Beristain, F.*, Duda, J.-P., López-Esquivel Kransksith, L., García-Barrera, P. (2014): A brief synopsis on the history of sponge research in the Upper Triassic St. Cassian Formation (Dolomites, NE Italy). In: Wiese, F., Reich, M., Arp, G. (Eds.): „Spongy, slimy, cosy & more...”. Commemorative volume in celebration of the 60th birthday of Professor Joachim Reitner. Göttingen Contributions to Geosciences 77, 39–48 (



Doctoral thesis (2014): “Geobiology of bituminous carbonates from the Ediacaran Shibantan Member (Dengying Formation, South China)”. Geoscience Centre, Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany, 125 pp. Referees: Prof. Dr Joachim Reitner, Prof. Dr Volker Thiel, Prof. Dr Jörn Peckmann (

Master’s thesis (2010): “The terminal marine sedimentation in the southern Tethys-Himalaya (Tibet, PR China): Paleoecology and facies development” (written in German). University of Bremen, Germany; Supervisor: Prof. Dr Helmut Willems

Bachelor‘s thesis (2007): “Paleocene iron oolite of the Spanboth-Formation (Ladakh, NW-India): Genesis and sedimentology” (written in German). University of Bremen, Germany; Supervisor: Prof. Dr Helmut Willems