Dr. Sebastiaan W. Rampen

Geoscience Center, Georg-August University of Göttingen

Geobiology Group

Goldschmidtstr. 3
37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone:+49-(0) 551-39 22478
Fax: +49-(0)551-39 27918

Email:sebastiaan.rampen@uni-goettingen.de


Research Interests

My research focusses on the use of lipid biomarkers for climate reconstruction. For my work, I study both lipids in sediments, and combinations of lipids and DNA from fresh biomass.


Some lipids are exclusively produced by small groups of organisms. Those organisms may thrive under specific environmental conditions, like for example high nutrient availability. When those lipid biomarkers are present in sediments, it can be an indication that the environmental conditions preferred by their sources, like high nutrient abundance, occurred at the time the sediment was formed.


Most organisms modify their cell walls as a mechanism to adapt to changing environments. They may, for example, create more or less fluidity in their cell walls to adjust to colder or warmer temperatures. Lipids form an important component of cell walls, and changes in the lipid composition is a well-known mechanism to adapt to changing growth temperature.


Recently, I observed the ubiquitous occurrence of a specific group of biomarkers, called long chain alkyl diols, in a large dataset of marine surface sediments. I also noticed a strong correlation between the distribution of long chain diols and the temperatures of the areas from where the sediments were obtained. Based on those results, I introduced the Long chain Diol Index (LDI) as a proxy for sea surface temperature reconstruction.


LDI measurements in sediment records, and comparison with other temperature proxies, confirmed the use of the LDI as a temperature proxy. However, those studies also revealed differences between the temperature records obtained with the various proxies. These differences may be caused by different growth seasons of the source organisms, the source organisms may occur at different depths in the water column, but also other conditions than temperature may affect those indices.


Studying the source organisms of long chain diols could provide important background information for the application of the LDI. Unfortunately, the main sources of those lipids have not been established yet. Long chain diols have previously been identified in eustigmatophyte algae, but those algae are rarely reported in marine environments, and specific details of their lipid distribution differ from the distributions observed in marine sediments.


For my current project I aim to identify and isolate the sources of the marine long chain diols that are applied in the LDI. Unambiguous identification of the sources of these lipids will enable more focussed research on which parameters affect the distribution of long chain diols. When one or even more of their sources have been isolated and cultivated, it will be possible to perform growth experiments to check which environmental conditions affect the LDI. The results of this study will help to improve our understanding of climate changes in the past, and thereby contribute to better predictions of the effects of climate change in the future.


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Professional career

Since 2018

Postdoc, Eigene Stelle project “Isolation and cultivation of the source organisms of long-chain diol lipids from marine environments to test their application in palaeoclimate studies”, Geoscience Center, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany


2013-2016

Postdoc, VENI project “A novel tool for continental climate reconstruction: long-chain diols in lake sediments”, Department of Marine Organic Biogeochemistry, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, The Netherlands


2010-2013

Postdoc, project “DEEP_C: DEEP-sea primary production: (meta)genomic view on ecosystem functioning”, Universiteit Utrecht, Faculty of Geosciences, The Netherlands


2009

Postdoc, project “Identification of Sweet Spots in Gas Shales”, Department of Marine Organic Biogeochemistry, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, The Netherlands


2005-2009

PhD, project: “Long-chain diols as palaeoproductivity proxies”, Department of Marine Organic Biogeochemistry, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, The Netherlands


2000-2004

Laboratory technician, project “Chemical fossils of diatoms for age determination of petroleum: Improved tools for solving exploration and production problems”, Department of Marine Organic Biogeochemistry, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research,
The Netherlands


1994-1999

BSc. Analytical Chemistry, Hogeschool IJselland, The Netherlands


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Research grants

Isolation and cultivation of the source organisms of long-chain diol lipids from marine environments to test their application in palaeoclimate studies. 2018-2021, Eigene Stelle, DFG


A novel tool for continental climate reconstruction: long-chain diols in lake sediments. 2013-2015, Veni grant, NWO


Sedimentary long-chain, mid-chain diols derived from marine phytoplankton: novel proxies for climate reconstruction. 2010-2014, ZKO grant, NWO. Officially applied by Prof. Dr. Ir. J.S. Sinninghe Damsté


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Research Cruises

  • 2013 – 2014 Biweekly lake-sampling, Lake Alkmaarder- en Uitgeestermeer, organizer and chief scientist
  • 2011 Research cruise Bonifacio2011, Ligurian Sea and Strait of Sicily, participant
  • 2011 Research cruise MAMBA_C, Ionian Sea, participant
  • 2011 Research cruise Long Chain Diols (LCD), around Iceland, organizer and co-chief scientist
  • 2004 Research cruise CRENS, North Sea, Participant

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Publications on Long chain diols

De Bar, M.W., Dorhout, D.J.C., Hopmans, E.C., Rampen, S.W., M., Schouten, S. Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2016. Constrains on the application of long chain diol proxies in the Iberian Atlantic Margin. Organic Geochemistry 101, 184-195


Rodrigo-Gámiz, M., Rampen, S.W., M., Schouten, S. Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2016. The impact of oxic degradation on long chain alkyl diol distributions in Arabian Sea surface sediments. Organic Geochemistry 100, 1-9


Rodrigo-Gámiz, M., Rampen, S.W., De Haas, H., Baas, M., Schouten, S. Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2015. Constraints on the applicability of the organic temperature proxies UK'37, TEX86 and LDI in the subpolar region around Iceland. Biogeosciences 12, 6573-6590


Rampen, S.W., Datema, M., Rodrigo-Gámiz, M., Schouten, S., Reichart, G.J., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2014. Sources and proxy potential of long chain alkyl diols in lacustrine environments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 144, 59-71


Rampen, S.W., Willmott, V., Kim, J.-H., Rodrigo-Gámiz, M., Uliana, E., Mollenhauer, G., Schefuß, E., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., Schouten, S., 2014. Evaluation of long chain 1,14-alkyl diols in marine sediments as indicators for upwelling and temperature. Organic Geochemistry 76, 39-47


Villanueva, L., Besseling, M., Rodrigo-Gámiz, M., Rampen, S.W., Verschuren, D., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2014. Potential biological sources of long chain alkyl diols in a lacustrine system. Organic Geochemistry 68, 27-30


Rodrigo-Gámiz, M., Martínez-Ruiz, F., Rampen, S.W., Schouten, S. Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2014. Sea surface temperature variations in the western Mediterranean Sea over the last 20 kyr: A dual- organic proxy ( UK'37 and LDI) approach. Paleoceanography 29, 87-98


Rampen, S.W., Willmott, V., Kim, J.-H., Uliana, E., Mollenhauer, G., Schefuß, E., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., Schouten, S., 2012. Long chain 1,13- and 1,15-diols as a potential proxy for palaeotemperature reconstruction. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 84, 204-216


Rampen, S.W., Schouten, S. Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2011. Occurrence of long chain 1,14-diols in Apedinella radians. Organic Geochemistry 42, 572-574


Willmott, V., Rampen, S.W., Domack, E., Canals, M., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., Schouten, S., 2010. Holocene changes in Proboscia diatom productivity in shelf waters of the North Western Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic Science 22, 3-10


Rampen, S.W., Schouten, S., Schefuß, E., Sinninghe Damsé, J.S., 2009. Impact of temperature on long chain diol and mid-chain hydroxyl methyl alkanoate composition in Proboscia diatoms: Results from culture and field studies. Organic Geochemistry 40, 1124-1131


Rampen, S.W., Schouten, S., Koning, E., Brummer, G.-J.A., Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2008. A 90 kyr upwelling record from the northwestern Indian Ocean using a novel long-chain diol index. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 276, 207-213


Rampen, S.W., Schouten, S., Wakeham, S.G.,  Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., 2007 Seasonal and spatial variation in the sources and fluxes of long-chain diols and mid-chain hydroxy methyl alkanoates in the Arabian Sea. Organic Geochemistry 38, 165-179


Sinninghe Damsté, J.S., Rampen, S., Rijpstra, W.I.C., Abbas, B., Muyzer, G. Schouten, S., 2003. A diatomaceous origin for long-chain diols and mid-chain hydroxy methyl alkanoates widely occurring in Quaternary marine sediments: Indicators for high-nutrient conditions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, 1339-1348


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