Dr Sabine Lengger

Dr Sabine Lengger

Lecturer in Chemistry

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Lecturer in Organic Chemistry


  • 2013 PhD Marine Organic Biogeochemistry, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands and Royal NIOZ, Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, The Netherlands
  • 2008 Dipl.Ing. (=MChem) Chemistry / Biochemistry, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria
  • 2007 Exchange programme Cranfield University, Cranfield, UK
  • 2006 Arctic Microbiology, UNIS, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway  
  • 2004 Socrates/Erasmus exchange programmeUniversity of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain

Teaching interests

My teaching interests are aligned with my research interests in analytical and organic chemistry, mass spectrometry, and environmental and organic geochemistry.

I teach on the following modules on the BSc Chemistry: 

CHM3015 - Advanced Organic Chemistry (Module leader)
CHM2012 - Organic Chemistry (Module leader)
CHM3013 - Advanced Analytical Chemistry
CHM1015 - Inorganic and Organic Chemistry II
CHM2016, CHM3011 (Project modules)

I also teach on the MSc/MChem Analytical Chemistry:

CHM5005 Analytical Chemistry Case studies (Module leader)
CHM5006 Analytical Chemistry Case studies (Module leader)

Finally, I lecture and supervise practicals for Foundation Science: 

CHM009 Chemistry

Research interests

I am an organic biogeochemist: I use chemicals of micro and other organisms to find out what they eat, where they get their food from, and how much greenhouse gas they produce. I then use these molecules to answer questions about past environments - from thousands to hundreds of millions of years ago. In order to answer more questions and find better answers, I develop and improve analytical methods for these chemicals.

Keywords: Biogeochemistry; Stable isotopes; Carbon cycling; Paleoclimate; Environmental Chemistry; Organic Geochemistry

A more detailed explanation:

My research topics have developed out of a strong interest in analytical techniques for the detection of biomarkers/polar molecules and microbial ecology/biogeochemistry. I worked on Archaea (production and biodegradation of lipids) in sediments, on products of microbial biodegradation of oil, on polar compounds (sterols) in sponges and fossil concretions. Now, I am working on a way to enable the determination of the stable isotopic composition of large, polar biomarkers for the methane cycle. For my research, I use highly developed analytical methods such as HPLC-ESI-MSn, GC-IRMS, GCxGC-TOFMS and GC-IRMS. I am also very interested in the use of advanced data processing and statistical methods for geochemistry, in order to investigate patterns of naturally produced and anthropogenic compounds in the environment and to compare recent organisms or samples with fossil biomarker distributions.

Other research

Grants & contracts

  • 2018 NERC Standard Grant (Co-I) Reconstructing latitudinal terrestrial temperature gradients at the Cretaceous-Palaeogene Boundary: Testing the "Equable Earth" Hypothesis; £ 582,024 (PI Jerrett, University of Manchester), with University of Plymouth Co-I Price, £120,000 to Plymouth
  • 2017 RSC Analytical Chemistry Division Undergraduate Bursary (£1600)
  • 2014 Rubicon Fellowship (NWO, Netherlands Organization for scientific research), for conducting research on the methane cycle at the University of Bristol with Prof. R. Pancost (€ 151,000)
  • 2007 Double Degree program (Cranfield University / Graz University of Technology), for courses in Environmental Diagnostics and Master’s dissertation at Cranfield University, UK (ca. € 4,000 )
  • 2006 Vulcanus in Japan Fellowship, EU/Japan Center for industrial Cooperation, for studies of Japanese language/business culture and internship (15 000 €)2006 Faculty of science grant, University of Graz, for attendance of a course in Arctic Microbiology, University of Trømsø – The University Center in Svalbard, Norway (ca. €1,000 )
  • 2004 Erasmus scholarship, Graz University of Technology, for studies at theUniversity of Oviedo, Spain (ca. € 4,000 )

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Lengger SK, Weber Y, Taylor KWR, Kopf SH, Berstan R, Bull ID, Mayser J, Leavitt WD, Blewett J & Pearson A 2020 'Determination of the δ 2 H values of high molecular weight lipids by high temperature GC coupled to isotope ratio mass spectrometry' Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry , DOI Open access
Vickers ML, Lengger SK, Bernasconi SM, Thibault N, Schultz BP, Fernandez A, Ullmann CV, McCormack P, Bjerrum CJ & Rasmussen JA 2020 'Cold spells in the Nordic Seas during the early Eocene Greenhouse' Nature Communications 11, (1) 0-0 , DOI Open access
Schwartz-Narbonne R, Schaeffer P, Hopmans EC, Schenesse M, Alex Charlton E, Martin Jones D, Sinninghe Damsté JS, Farhan Ul Haque M, Jetten MSM & Lengger SK 2020 'A unique bacteriohopanetetrol stereoisomer of marine anammox' Organic Geochemistry 103994-103994 , DOI Open access
van Duyl FC, Lengger SK, Schouten S, Lundälv T, van Oevelen D & Müller CE 2020 'Dark CO2 fixation into phospholipid-derived fatty acids by the cold-water coral associated sponge Hymedesmia (Stylopus) coriacea (Tisler Reef, NE Skagerrak)' Marine Biology Research 16, (1) 1-17 , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Rush D, Mayser JP, Blewett J, Schwartz-Narbonne R, Talbot HM, Middelburg JJ, Jetten MSM, Schouten S & Sinninghe Damsté JS 2019 'Dark carbon fixation in the Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone contributes to sedimentary organic carbon (SOM)' Global Biogeochemical Cycles 33, (12) 1715-1732 , DOI Open access
Lengger S, Rush D, Mayser J, Blewett J, Schwartz-Narbonne R, Talbot H, Middelburg J, Jetten M, Schouten S & Damste J 2019 'Dark carbon fixation contributes to sedimentary organic carbon in the Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone' 0 , DOI
Holtvoeth J, Whiteside JH, Engels S, Freitas FS, Grice K, Greenwood P, Johnson S, Kendall I, Lengger SK & Lücke A 2019 'The paleolimnologist's guide to compound-specific stable isotope analysis – An introduction to principles and applications of CSIA for Quaternary lake sediments' Quaternary Science Reviews , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Sutton P, Rowland S, Hurley SJ, Pearson A, Naafs BDA, Dang X, Inglis GN & Pancost RD 2018 'Archaeal and bacterial glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether (GDGT) lipids in environmental samples by high temperature-gas chromatography with flame ionisation and time-of-flight mass spectrometry detection' Organic Geochemistry 121, 10-21 , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Melendez IM, Summons RE & Grice K 2017 'Mudstones and embedded concretions show differences in lithology-related, but not source-related biomarker distributions' Organic Geochemistry , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Fromont J & Grice K 2016 'Tapping the archives: The sterol composition of marine sponge species, as determined non-invasively from museum preserved specimens, reveals biogeographical features' Geobiology Open access
Frank RA, Milestone CB, Rowland SJ, Headley JV, Kavanagh RJ, Lengger SK, Scarlett AG, West CE, Peru KM & Hewitt LM 2016 'Assessing spatial and temporal variability of acid-extractable organics in oil sands process-affected waters' Chemosphere , DOI Open access
Naeher S, Lengger SK & 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 (GC×GC-ToF-MS)' Journal of Chromatography A , DOI Open access
Fromont J, Huggett MJ, Lengger SK, Grice K & Schönberg CHL 2015 'Characterization of Leucetta prolifera, a calcarean cyanosponge from south-western Australia, and its symbionts' Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 1-12 , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Scarlett AG, West CE, Frank RA, Hewitt LM, Milestone CB & Rowland SJ 2015 'Use of the distributions of adamantane acids to profile short-term temporal and pond-scale spatial variations in the composition of oil sands process-affected waters' Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts 17, (8) 1415-1423 Author Site , DOI Open access
Jean MRN, Gonzalez-Rizzo S, Gauffre-Autelin P, Lengger SK, Schouten S & Gros O 2015 'Two new Beggiatoa species inhabiting marine mangrove sediments in the Caribbean' PLoS One 10, (2) Author Site , DOI Open access
Rowland SJ, Pereira AS, Martin JW, Scarlett AG, West CE, Lengger SK, Wilde MJ, Pureveen J, Tegelaar EW & Frank RA 2014 'Mass spectral characterisation of a polar, esterified fraction of an organic extract of an oil sands process water' Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 28, (21) 2352-2362 Author Site , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Hopmans EC, Sinninghe Damsté JS & Schouten S 2014 'Impact of sedimentary degradation and deep water column production on GDGT abundance and distribution in surface sediments in the Arabian Sea: Implications for the TEX86 paleothermometer' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 142, 386-399 , DOI
West CE, Pureveen J, Scarlett AG, Lengger SK, Wilde MJ, Korndorffer F, Tegelaar EW & Rowland SJ 2014 'Can two-dimensional gas chromatography/mass spectrometric identification of bicyclic aromatic acids in petroleum fractions help to reveal further details of aromatic hydrocarbon biotransformation pathways?' Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 28, (9) 1023-1032 Author Site , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Hopmans EC, Sinninghe Damsté JS & Schouten S 2014 'Fossilization and degradation of archaeal intact polar tetraether lipids in deeply buried marine sediments (Peru Margin)' Geobiology 12, (3) 212-220 Author Site , DOI
Lengger SK, Lipsewers YA, de Haas H, Damste JSS & Schouten S 2014 'Lack of C-13-label incorporation suggests low turnover rates of thaumarchaeal intact polar tetraether lipids in sediments from the Iceland shelf' BIOGEOSCIENCES 11, (2) 201-216 Author Site , DOI
Lengger SK, Scarlett AG, West CE & Rowland SJ 2013 'Diamondoid diacids (' O-4 ' species) in oil sands process-affected water' RAPID COMMUNICATIONS IN MASS SPECTROMETRY 27, (23) 2648-2654 Author Site , DOI Open access
Lengger SK, Kraaij M, Tjallingii R, Baas M, Stuut J-B, Hopmans EC, Damste JSS & Schouten S 2013 'Differential degradation of intact polar and core glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraether lipids upon post-depositional oxidation' ORGANIC GEOCHEMISTRY 65, 83-93 Author Site , DOI
Lengger SK, Hopmans EC, Reichart G-J, Nierop KGJ, Sinninghe Damsté JS & Schouten S 2012 'Intact polar and core glycerol dibiphytanyl glycerol tetraether lipids in the Arabian Sea oxygen minimum zone. Part II: Selective preservation and degradation in sediments and consequences for the TEX86' Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 98, 244-258 , DOI
Lengger SK, Hopmans EC, Sinninghe Damsté JS & Schouten S 2012 'Comparison of extraction and work up techniques for analysis of core and intact polar tetraether lipids from sedimentary environments' Organic Geochemistry 47, 34-40 Author Site , DOI
Lengger SK, Lipsewers YA, de Haas H, Sinninghe Damsté JS & Schouten S 'Lack of <sup>13</sup>C-label incorporation suggests low turnover rates of thaumarchaeal intact polar tetraether lipids in sediments from the Iceland Shelf' , DOI
Conference Papers
Schwartz-Narbonne R, Blewett J, Lengger SK, Schaeffer P, Pancost R & Rush D 2019 'Bacteriohopanepolyol analysis by gas chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry for anammox biomarker detection'

Other academic activities

I am really excited about open access and am on the Advisory Board for a preprint repository for the Earth Sciences: https://eartharxiv.org/


Talk to me on Twitter: @doc_sabine

Find my publications on Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=cnWJ8y0AAAAJ&hl=en