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New DFG Priority Research Program: EarthShape

New DFG Priority Research Program: EarthShape

The DFG funded a new priority research program (Schwerpunktprogramm, SPP) EarthShape: Earth surface shaped by biota ( This project challenges the paradigm that the Earth surface is shaped mainly by climate and tectonics and explores how in addition biologic processes form soil, influence topography, and thereby shape the Earth surface. The influence of microorganism, plants, and animals on the formation of the soil and the shape of topography is still poorly understood. This research could lead to a better understanding on how climate and biologic variations can influence the Earth’s surface. EarthShape research will be conducted in the Chilean Coastal Range that features one of Earth’s most spectacular vegetation gradients. About thirteen projects were funded within the Earthshape project that started in the beginning of this year.

Andreas Lücke and Jan van der Kruk are supervising PhD students Sebastian Kock and Igor dal Bo, respectively. Sebastian works on the holocene palaeoclimate reconstruction of Northern Chile based on peatland/wetland sedimentary geoarchives and Igor works on the geophysical multi-scale characterization of the weathering front with EMI and GPR. The project is coordinated by the Tübingen University and GFZ and project partners come from Marburg, Frankfurt, Tübingen, Göttingen, Bonn, Rostock, Heidelberg, Cologne, GFZ, Berlin, Bayreuth, Leibniz, and of course Chile.