Staff profiles

Sebastian NaeherOrganic Geochemist / Lead Scientist - Organic Geochemistry Laboratory

Naeher Sebastian 3775


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Environmental Chemistry

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Dr Sebastian Naeher studied geology at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (Germany) and ETH Zurich (Switzerland), specialising in geochemistry. His research has been multidisciplinary, comprising organic, inorganic and isotope geochemistry, but he also has a broad background in water, environmental and earth sciences. In his diploma thesis (MSc) he worked on radionuclides in drinking water. During his PhD at Eawag/ETH Zurich and one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris (France), he specialised in organic geochemistry, working in aquatic and terrestrial environments (lakes, oceans, river, estuary, lagoon, soils). In his PhD, Sebastian worked on lipid biomarkers, stable isotopes and transition metals as proxies for past eutrophication and hypoxia in lakes and oceans. The work was part of the European Union funded, multidisciplinary project “Hypox”. As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked on anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) in the Seine estuary. In 2014 he was granted a DFG Research Fellowship from the German Research Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) to join the group of Prof. Kliti Grice at Curtin University. In April/May 2015 he was visiting scientist at JAMSTEC, Japan, with funding awarded by DFG. His research focused on tetrapyrrole pigments and their degradation products as palaeoenviromental indicators in ancient and modern aquatic systems. Then, he continued this research as DFG Postdoctoral Fellow (return fellowship grant) at the Center of Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) / University of Bremen in Germany and University Associate at Curtin University. Since November 2016, he is Organic Geochemist, Lead Scientist and manager of the Organic Geochemistry Laboratory at the National Isotope Center. He is Adjunct Teaching Fellow and Honorary Research Associate at Victoria University of Wellington. He is also Associate Editor of three scientific journals: Biogeosciences, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, and New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. In the Geoscience Society of New Zealand, he is Convener of the Geochemistry Special Interest Group and part of the National Committee.


  • PhD, Biogeochemistry
  • German Diplom (MSc), Geochemistry/Geology

Areas of expertise

  • Geology: Paleoclimatology
  • Geochemist: Geochemistry
  • Geochemist: Stable Isotopes
  • Geochemist: Trace Element Geochemistry
  • Geochemist: Organic geochemistry
  • Geochemist: Environmental geochemistry
  • Geology: Paleoenvironmental Studies
  • Geochemist: Chemical Oceanography
  • Geochemist: Environmental Isotope Geochemsitry
  • Paleoclimate: Paleoenvironmental reconstruction
  • Geochemist: Global Environmental Change
  • Geochemist: Paleoclimate
  • Geochemist: Petroleum geochemistry
  • Geology: Depositional environments
  • Geochemist: Biogeochemistry
  • Geology: Geoscience Education

Major Publications

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  • Grant, G.R.; Williams, J.H.T.; Naeher, S.; Seki, O.; McClymont, E.L.; Patterson, M.; Haywood, A.M.; Behrens, E.; Yamamoto, M.; Johnson, K. 2023. Amplified surface warming in the Southwest Pacific during the mid-Pliocene (3.3–3.0 Ma) and future implications, Climate of the past 19(7): p. 1359-1381. DOI: 10.5194/cp-19-1359-2023.
  • Puddick, J.; Naeher, S.; Pearman, J.K.; Page, C.D.; Romanazzi, D.; Schallenberg, L.A.; Howarth, J.D.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Wood, S.A. 2023. Characterizing carotenoids in cyanobacterial cultures : opportunities and implications for paleolimnological studies, Harmful algae 127: article 102481. DOI: 10.1016/j.hal.2023.102481.
  • Cesar, J.; Robinson, R.; Naeher, S.; Milovic, M.; Ardakani, O.H. 2023. Fatty acids, alkanones and alcohols from a major Lower Triassic low-permeability petroleum reservoir, Frontiers in Earth Science 11: DOI: 10.3389/feart.2023.1137026.
  • Rotich, E.K.; Handler, M.R.; Sykes, R.; Naeher, S.; Selby, D.; Kroeger, K.F. 2023. Evaluation of Re-Os geochronology and Os isotope fingerprinting of Late Cretaceous terrestrial oils in Taranaki Basin, New Zealand, Marine and Petroleum Geology 149: article 106071. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2022.106071.
  • Hollis, C.J.; Naeher, S.; Clowes, C.D.; Naafs, B.D.A.; Pancost, R.D.; Taylor, K.W.R.; Dahl, J.A.; Ventura, G.T.; Sykes, R. 2022. Late Paleocene CO2 drawdown, climatic cooling, and terrestrial denudation in the southwest Pacific, Climate of the past 18: p. 1295-1320. DOI: 10.5194/cp-2021-122.
  • Naeher, S.; Cui, X.; Summons, R.E. 2022. Biomarkers : molecular tools to study life, environment and climate, Elements 18(2): p. 79-85. DOI: 10.2138/gselements.18.2.79.
  • Dwivedi, D.; Santos, A.L.D.; Barnard, M.A.; Crimmins, T.M.; Malhotra, A.; Rod, K.A.; Aho, K.S.; Bell, S.M.; Bomfim, B.; Brearley, F.Q.; Cadillo-Quiroz, H.; Chen, J.; Gough, C.M.; Graham, E.B.; Hakkenberg, C.R.; Haygood, L.; Koren, G.; Lilleskov, E.; Mered 2022. Biogeosciences perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) science, Earth and Space Science 9(3): e2021EA002119. DOI: 10.1029/2021EA002119.
  • Belem, A.; Bell, T.; Burdett, H.L.; Ibarra, D.; Kaushal, N.; Keenan, B.; Klimaszewski-Patterson, A.; Mette, M.; Naeher, S.; Onafeso, O.D.; Panmei, C.; Ratnayake, A.S.; Truax, O. 2022. Paleoclimatology and paleoceanography perspectives on Integrated, Coordinated, Open, Networked (ICON) science, Earth and Space Science 9(1): e2021EA002115. DOI: 10.1029/2021EA002115.
  • Pearman, J.K.; Wood, S.A.; Vandergoes, M.J.; Atalah, J.; Waters, S.; Adamson, J.; Thomson-Laing, G.; Thompson, L.; Howarth, J.D.; Hamilton, D.P.; Pochon, X.; Biessy, L.; Brasell, K.A.; Dahl, J.A.; Ellison, R.; Fitzsimons, S.J.; Gard, H.J.L.; Gerrard, T.; 2022. A bacterial index to estimate lake trophic level : national scale validation, Science of the Total Environment 812: article 152385. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.152385.
  • Rotich, E.K.; Handler, M.R.; Sykes, R.; Selby, D.; Naeher, S. 2021. Depositional influences on Re-Os systematics of Late Cretaceous-Eocene fluvio-deltaic coals and coaly mudstones, Taranaki Basin, New Zealand, International journal of coal geology 236: article 103670. DOI: 10.1016/j.coal.2020.103670.
  • Rotich, E.K.; Handler, M.R.; Naeher, S.; Selby, D.; Hollis, C.J.; Sykes, R. 2020. Re-Os geochronology and isotope systematics, and organic and sulfur geochemistry of the middle–late Paleocene Waipawa Formation, New Zealand : insights into early Paleogene seawater Os isotope composition, Chemical Geology 536: article 119473. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2020.119473.
  • Naeher, S.; Hollis, C.J.; Clowes, C.D.; Ventura, G.T.; Shepherd, C.L.; Crouch, E.M.; Morgans, H.E.G.; Bland, K.J.; Strogen, D.P.; Sykes, R. 2019. Depositional and organofacies influences on the petroleum potential of an unusual marine source rock : Waipawa Formation (Paleocene) in southern East Coast Basin, New Zealand, Marine and Petroleum Geology 104: p. 468-488. DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2019.03.035.
  • Naeher, S.; Ohkouchi, N. 2017. Pigmente – Indikatoren für Umweltveränderungen, Nachrichten aus der Chemie 65(1): p. 16-20. DOI: 10.1002/nadc.20174056149.
  • Hoshino, Y.; Poshibaeva, A.; Meredith, W.; Snape, C.; Poshibaev, V.; Versteegh, G.J.M.; Kuznetsov, N.; Leider, A.; van Maldegem, L.; Neumann, M.; Naeher, S.; Moczydlowska, M.; Brocks, J.J.; Jarrett, A.J.M.; Tang, Q.; Xiao, S.; McKirdy, D.; Das, S.K.; Alva 2017. Cryogenian evolution of stigmasteroid biosynthesis, Science Advances 3(9): e1700887. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700887.
  • Naeher, S.; Suga, H.; Ogawa, N.O.; Schubert, C.J.; Grice, K.; Ohkouchi, N. 2016. Compound-specific carbon and nitrogen isotopic compositions of chlorophyll a and its derivatives reveal the eutrophication history of Lake Zurich (Switzerland), Chemical Geology 443: p. 210-219. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.09.005.
  • Naeher, S.; Suga, H.; Ogawa, N.O.; Takano, Y.; Schubert, C.J.; Grice, K.; Ohkouchi, N. 2016. Distributions and compound-specific isotopic signatures of sedimentary chlorins reflect the composition of photoautotrophic communities and their carbon and nitrogen sources in Swiss lakes and the Black Sea, Chemical Geology 443: p. 198-209. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.04.029.
  • Tyroller, L.; Tomonaga, Y.; Brennwald, M.S.; Ndayisaba, C.; Naeher, S.; Schubert, C.; North, R.P.; Kipfer, R. 2016. Improved method for the quantification of methane concentrations in unconsolidated lake sediments, Environmental science & technology 50(13): p. 7047-7055. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b05292.
  • Naeher, S.; Lengger, S.K.; Grice, K. 2016. A new method for the rapid analysis of 1H-Pyrrole-2,5-diones (maleimides) in environmental samples by two-dimensional gas chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry, Journal of chromatography A 1435: p. 125-135. DOI: 10.1016/j.chroma.2016.01.026.
  • Naeher, S.; Huguet, A.; Roose-Amsaleg, C.L.; Laverman, A.M.; Fosse, C.; Lehmann, M.F.; Derenne, S.; Zopfi, J. 2015. Molecular and geochemical constraints on anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) in a riparian zone of the Seine Estuary (France), Biogeochemistry 123(1): p. 237-250. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-014-0066-z.
  • Naeher, S.; Grice, K. 2015. Novel 1H-Pyrrole-2,5-dione (maleimide) proxies for the assessment of photic zone euxinia, Chemical Geology 404: p. 100-109. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2015.03.020.
  • Grice, K.; Riding, J.B.; Foster, C.B.; Naeher, S.; Greenwood, P.F. 2015. Vascular plant biomarker distributions and stable carbon isotopic signatures from the Middle and Upper Jurassic (Callovian–Kimmeridgian) strata of Staffin Bay, Isle of Skye, northwest Scotland, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 440: p. 307-315. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2015.08.036.
  • Naeher, S.; Gilli, A.; Hamann, Y.; Schubert, C.J. 2015. Wie viel Sauerstoff war im Zürichsee?, VTA-Aktuell 1/2015: p. 32-37.
  • Friedrich, J.; Janssen, F.; Aleynik, D.; Bange, H.W.; Boltacheva, N.; Çağatay, M.N.; Dale, A.W.; Etiope, G.; Erdem, Z.; Geraga, M.; Gilli, A.; Gomoiu, M.T.; Hall, P.O.J.; Hansson, D.; He, Y.; Holtappels, M.; Kirf, M.K.; Kononets, M.; Konovalov, S.; L 2014. Investigating hypoxia in aquatic environments: diverse approaches to addressing a complex phenomenon, Biogeosciences 11: p. 1215-1259. DOI: 10.5194/bg-11-1215-2014.
  • Naeher, S.; North, R.P.; Gilli, A.; Livingstone, D.M.; Schubert, C.J. 2014. Lake sediments tell the story of climate change, CHIMIA 68(5): p. 333. DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2014.333.
  • Naeher, S.; Peterse, F.; Smittenberg, R.H.; Niemann, H.; Zigah, P.K.; Schubert, C.J. 2014. Sources of glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (GDGTs) in catchment soils, water column and sediments of Lake Rotsee (Switzerland) – Implications for the application of GDGT-based proxies for lakes, Organic geochemistry 66: p. 164-173. DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2013.10.017.
  • Naeher, S.; Gilli, A.; Hamann, Y.; Schubert, C.J. 2014. Wie viel Sauerstoff war im Seewasser?, Nachrichten aus der Chemie 62(11): p. 1094-1097. DOI: 10.1002/nadc.201490384.
  • Naeher, S.; Niemann, H.; Peterse, F.; Smittenberg, R.H.; Zigah, P.K.; Schubert, C.J. 2014. Tracing the methane cycle with lipid biomarkers in Lake Rotsee (Switzerland), Organic geochemistry 66: p. 174-181. DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2013.11.002.
  • Naeher, S.; Schaeffer, P.; Adam, P.; Schubert, C.J. 2013. Maleimides in recent sediments – Using chlorophyll degradation products for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 119: p. 248-263. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2013.06.004.
  • Naeher, S.; Gilli, A.; North, R.P.; Hamann, Y.; Schubert, C.J. 2013. Tracing bottom water oxygenation with sedimentary Mn/Fe ratios in Lake Zurich, Switzerland, Chemical Geology 352: p. 125-133. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2013.06.006.
  • Naeher, S.; Smittenberg, R.H.; Gilli, A.; Kirilova, E.P.; Lotter, A.F.; Schubert, C.J. 2012. Impact of recent lake eutrophication on microbial community changes as revealed by high resolution lipid biomarkers in Rotsee (Switzerland), Organic geochemistry 49: p. 86-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.05.014.
  • Naeher, S.; Geraga, M.; Papatheodorou, G.; Ferentinos, G.; Kaberi, H.; Schubert, C.J. 2012. Environmental variations in a semi-enclosed embayment (Amvrakikos Gulf, Greece) – reconstructions based on benthic foraminifera abundance and lipid biomarker pattern, Biogeosciences 9: p. 5081-5094. DOI: 10.5194/bg-9-5081-2012.
  • Naeher, S. 2012. Sedimentary lipid biomarkers and trace metals as indicators for past hypoxia and eutrophication


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