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Lipids as paleomarkers to constrain the marine nitrogen cycle

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Darci Rush



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Global climate is, in part, regulated by the effectof microbial processes on biogeochemical cycling.The nitrogen cycle, in particular, is driven bymicroorganisms responsible for the fixation and loss ofnitrogen, and the reduction-oxidation transformations ofbio-available nitrogen. Within marine systems, nitrogenavailability is often the limiting factor in the growth ofautotrophic organisms, intrinsically linking the nitrogenand carbon cycles. In order to elucidate the state ofthese cycles in the past, and help envisage present andfuture variability, it is essential to understand the specificmicrobial processes responsible for transforming bioavailablenitrogen species. As most microorganisms aresoft-bodied and seldom leave behind physical fossils inthe sedimentary record, recalcitrant lipid biomarkers areused to unravel microbial processes in the geologicalpast. This review emphasises the recent advances inmarine nitrogen cycle lipid biomarkers, underlines themissing links still needed to fully elucidate past shifts inthis biogeochemically-important cycle, and providesexamples of biomarker applications in the geologicalpast.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rush D, Sinninghe Damsté JS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Microbiology

Year: 2017

Volume: 19

Issue: 6

Pages: 2119-2132

Online publication date: 28/02/2017

Acceptance date: 06/02/2017

Date deposited: 15/11/2017

ISSN (print): 1462-2912

ISSN (electronic): 1462-2920

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13682


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement n 8 694569 – MICROLIPIDS)
European Research Council (ERC)