Elements: Organic Biomarkers

November 17, 2022

Biomarkers are molecular fossils that are preserved in a wide range of environmental archives (e.g., soils, sediments, sedimentary rocks, and petroleum systems). This issue introduces biomarkers and their compound­specific stable isotope compositions to study fundamental biogeochemical processes and their application as proxies for environmental and climate reconstructions. Molecular biosignatures can be used to study the evolution of life, transitions in ocean plankton over time, the microbiota of extreme environments such as hydrothermal systems and the deep­ crustal biosphere, and to search for signs of life beyond Earth. Important new discoveries are typically the result of the development and deployment of improved instrumental techniques, multidisciplinary research  approaches, and the combination of organic biogeochemistry with the new tools of molecular biology.

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