Joined the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle in 2005 as new Professor of Earth System Sciences as part of the Geochemistry Group. His area of teaching includes fundamentals of sedimentary organic matter, reconstruction of paleoclimate and paleoceanography based on geochemical and isotopic proxies, global biogeochemical cycles, petroleum source rock formation, and unconventional petroleum resources (specifically oil shale). His research interests covers a variety of aspects addressing the role and functioning of carbon and nutrients in the atmosphere-land-ocean system as primary drivers of environmental and climate change and energy resource under modern and past greenhouse conditions. Key research themes include (1) Anoxic greenhouse oceans, and (2) Carbon and nutrient cycling in soils and rivers of continental watersheds under current and past greenhouse climate conditions.
Roles and Responsibilites
School representative on Committee of Heads of University Geoscience Departments (CHUGD)
Habilitation in Geology (Bremen, Germany, 2000)
PhD in Marine Geosciences (Kiel University, Germany, 1993)
Diploma in Geology (Heidelberg, Germany, 1989)
Member of the European Association of Organic Geochemists (EAOG)
Member of the Geological Society of America (GSA)
Member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Well connected with petroleum industry to complement and extend research on Past Anoxic Oceans. Currently, four active PhD research programs to study unconventional source rocks (oil shale) in Jordan in partnership with Shell and Cretaceous source rock distribution in Colombia, funded by Ecopetrol. Regularly delivers specialist workshops to petroleum industry (e.g. Shell and Ecopetrol-Columbia)
H-Index: 28: total citations: 2362, based on 75 publications (Google Scholar, 3 March 2015).
For actual, NOT COMPLETE Google Scholar profile see
See 'Publications' for full documentation
Broad research themes include (1) Anoxic oceans and (2) Soils, Nutrient Cycling, and Hydrology in Continental Watersheds under current and past greenhouse climate conditions, with a general regional focus on the low latitudes (subtropics and tropics). With a focus on organic carbon production, cycling and burial from continental sources to marine sinks his research directly links with global biogeochemical cycles, hydrology and catchment evolution, soils, organo-mineral relationships, ocean redox, (molecular) proxy development and application, and ocean-wide controls on oil source rock formation at short (orbital) time scales. The latter aspect directly connects to petroleum industries, with active research on unconventional petroleum (oil shale).
Wagner’s work lies in understanding controls and feedback mechanisms associated with short- and long-term environmental change, and their interaction with dynamic terrestrial and marine carbon systems. To date, major achievements have been made in assessing the role and functioning of Land-Ocean Interaction as a primary driver of carbon and nutrient export and (paleo-)oceanographic change. High resolution inorganic, organic and isotopic records mainly from marine sediments are used to calibrate and develop a quantitative understanding of the rates and mechanisms that have caused climate and environmental change as a consequence of processes governing ocean redox conditions, land ocean interaction, carbon export and burial fluxes, hydrocarbon source rock formation and long-term plate tectonics. Specifically, the source-sink relationships of terrestrial carbon have been addressed in detail using a combination of marine and terrestrial records linked to biogeochemical and climate modelling.
More recently he engaged with the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development (www.iwokrama.org) in Guyana, tropical South America to establish a new cutting-edge hydroclimate-geochemistry research program that demonstrates the vulnerability and resilience of the rainforest and forest-savannah boundary to land use and climate change. This broad agenda integrates all aspects of climate, biodiversity, and community science, and is expected to provide the basis for quantifying forest ecosystem services that inform (global) financial compensation mechanisms (including REED and non-carbon based services). As first chair of the Iwokrama International Research Committee, an advisory panel to the Board of Trustees, he is centrally positioned to develop a program of integrated tropical rainforest research, supported by a strong inter-disciplinary team at Newcastle University (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/iwokrama/projects.htm).
In a larger context his research aims at contributing to an improved ecosystem-based management of the Earth‘s Surface by development of balanced (global) concepts between use and sustainability. More specific he empathizes his research efforts on "Carbon as a primary driver of (microbial) Ecosystems, Environmental Change and Energy Resource".
The integrated nature of his research intends to stimulate and catalyse collaborative research at Newcastle and beyond but also develops opportunities for broader industry partnerships, including specialist training
for petroleum industry and other stakeholders.
Principal investigator and Co-investigator in various international research acticities. Previously, Wagner he was holder of the prestigious Heisenberg-Fellowship of the German Science Foundation (DFG). This enabled him to spend extended periods of time working at three world-leading institutions: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), and the University of Bremen (where he has worked as Assistant Professor since 1994). He has used the Heisenberg Fellowship to develop a network of research, training, and postgraduate student exchange between these institutions.
Since 1994, Professor Wagner has a success track in acquisition of research funding from national (DFG and ODP/IODP) to international (US-NSF) levels and co-ordinated cross-disciplinary and multi-institutional research at national, European, and international level.
Chair of the International Iwokrama Science Committee, International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, Guyana (since 2009)
- Rath, S. (2001). Rekonstruktion spätquartärer
Verlagerungen von Boden-wassermassen und terrigener Staubflüsse im zentralen
äquatorialen Atlantik (ODP Bohrungen 663, 664): Hinweise aus hochauflösenden
- Ahke, A. (2006). Origin,
reactivity and transformation of particulate organic material in the benthic
boundary layer in high productivity systems as derived from lipid biomarkers.
- Beckmann, B (2005). A tropical
reference site of the Coniacian-Santonian Anoxic Event: multi-disciplinary,
millennium-scale records of land-ocean interaction and black shale formation
off Equatorial W-Africa (ODP Site 959)
- Holtvoeth, J. (2004). Terrestrial organic matter in
the eastern Equatorial Atlantic – distribution, reactivity, and relation to
Late Quaternary climate variability.
- Kolonic, S. (2004). Mechanisms and
bigeochemical implications of Cenomanian/Turonian black shale formation in
North Africa: An integrated geochemical, millennium-scale study from the
Tarfaya-LaAyoune Basin in SW Morocco.
- Weijers, J.
(2007 at NIOZ, NL). Development, evaluation and application of organic
geochemical tracers for terrestrial carbon input into the marine environment.
- Chun Zhu (co-supervision with R. Pancost at School
of Chemistry, Bristol, 2010). Constraints on the source character, physical
pathway and chemical transform of the terrestrial biomarkers in river-sea
system and the implication for proxies utilization
- Eniola, Bunmi (2011). Light
stable isotope techniques (d13C
and D/H) at molecular level: pushing analytical boundaries for environmental
and climate-related applications.
- Wiebke Kallweit (co-supervision with M. Zabel (1st),
EUROPROX Post Graduate School Bremen Germany, 2011). Terrigenous climate signals in deep-sea sediments: Assessment and
quantification of alteration processes on primary signals
- Vesna Tripkovic (co-supervision with G. Parkin (1st)
and H. Fowler, Ncl, submitted 10, 2011). Assessment of the impact of future
climate variability on groundwater resources
- Gareth Izon (co-supervision with A. Cohen (1st),
OU Milton Keynes, and Simon Poulton, 2012). How extensive were Cretaceous
Oceanic Anoxic Events? An integrated Mo-isotope and organic geochemical study.
- Ryan Pereira (1st supervisor, co-supervision Parkin,
Ncl, 2013). Tropical lowland rainforests: rapid recyclers or efficient
storers of carbon?
- Najm Salem (co-supervision with Simon Poulton, Ncl, 2013). Geochemical characterisation of the Pliensbachian-Toarcian boundary
during the onset of the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event. North Yorkshire, UK.
- Suha Aqleh (1st supervisor, co-supervision S.
Poulton, Ncl, final revisions 2015). Inorganic geochemistry of upper Cretaceous
oil shale in Jordan. Industry project funded by JOSCO-Shell
- Mohammad Alaween (1st supervisor, co-supervision M.
Jones and H. Talbot, Ncl, final revisions 2015). Organic geochemistry of upper
Cretaceous oil shale in Jordan. Industry project funded by JOSCO-Shell.
- Jasmine Black (co-supervision with Geoff
Abbott (1st), Ncl, in preparation 2015). Effects of climate change and anthropogenic land use on soil
organic carbon (SOC) dynamics at tropical forest boundaries.
- Charlotte Spencer-Jones (co-supervision
with Helen Talbot (1st), Ncl, in preparation 2015). Sedimentary record of short term climate driven
changes in methane cycling.
- Carol Mahoney (1st supervisor, co-supervision with
Christian Maerz, Ncl, in preparation 2017). Development and distribution of
Cretaceous petroleum source rocks in
Colombia – sedimentological and inorganic characteristics. Industry project funded by Ecopetrol-Colombia.
supervisor, co-supervision with Martin Jones, Ncl, in preparation 2017).
Development and distribution of Cretaceous petroleum source rocks in Colombia – organic characteristics. Industry project funded by
Mark Zinndorf (co-supervision with
Christian Maerz (1st), Ncl, to start 9.2014; in preparation 2018). Reconstructing carbon and nutrient cycling in
the Northeast Pacific Ocean over the past 15 million years. Newcastle University internal funds.
- Elizabeth Atar (co-supervision with Howard Armstrong, (1st), Durham, in preparation 2018). Controls on depositional heterogeneities in Mesozoic black shale. NERC Oil & Gas CDT
Walker (1st supervisor, co-supervision with Martin Jones,
Ncl, to start 9.2015; in preparation 2019). Shale Gas in the UK –
Geochemical mapping of critical shale properties across Carboniferous basins. NERC
Oil & Gas CDT.
Chair of the International Iwokrama Science Committee, International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, Guyana (since 2009)
Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder (2005-2011)
Heisenberg Fellow of the German Science Foundation (2002-2005)
Member of NERC Peer Review College (2008 - )
Member of UK ECORD-Industrial Liaison Panel (2008 - )
Member of Korean WCU KOSEF Review Panel (2008-2009)
University-NIReS Demonstration Project scheme, 2014-2015. Coupled human and
natural system response to extreme climates in the Amazonian Guiana Shield. Wagner (£50k)
- Leverhume Trust, 2011-2014. High resolution, multi-molecular records of environmental change of the past 135,000 years from ancient Lake Ohrid, Albania and Macedonia. Collaboration: PI Wolff – Liverpool University, Funding: £12.5k for Ncl
- Royal Society Wolfson Laboratory Refurbishment
- Sedimentological and geochemical
characterization of organic carbon rich Cretaceous strata and their
palaeo-environment, Colombia (2 PhD projects). Ecopetrol industry contract, 2014-2018 (£279k)
- Framework research program
on Cretaceous organic source rocks in Colombia. Ecopetrol industry
contract; Wagner, 8-11/2013 (£47.5k)
Funding (international collaborations)
- IFP Energie Nouvelle France, 2015-2018. Using geochemical properties on carbon and sulphur to parameterize the organic matter preservation of marine shales in sedimentary basin models. Wagner (£33k)
- Australian Research Council, 2011-2013; Carbon sequestration by mineral surface area as a feedback to climate warming in a greenhouse ocean. Collaboration: Kennedy/Chittleborough (AUS), Mayer (USA). Funding: AUD 440k total, £16.5k for Ncl
- German Science Foundation, 2014-2017.
carbon sinks in the young South Atlantic: drivers of global climate
perturbations in the early Cretaceous greenhouse? Hofmann
(Cologne, GER)/Wagner/Herrle/Floegel (€250k)
- German Science Foundation, 2009-2012. Climate-Ocean interactions in the eastern subtropical Cretaceous Atlantic: Integrating long-term and punctuated Late Aptian to Early Albian climate records from the Mazagan Plateau (DSDP Site 545). Collaboration: Hofmann (Cologne), Herrle (Frankfurt). Funding: Euro 250K to Cologne
- Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) - SECCI Program, 2011-2012. Climate Change research at Iwokrama International Rainforest Centre, Phase 2. Collaboration: Iwokrama Research Center. Funding: USD 385 for science to Iwokrama
Recently completed funding
- NERC (2008-2011). Novel biohopanoid markers as tracers of methane emission and oxidation events in the Quaternary ocean. PI Wagner, Co-I Talbot. Funding: £377k
- Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2005-2011). Carbon as driver of environmental change and energy resource in Earth systems. PI Wagner. Funding: £149k
- Royal Society, Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award (2007-2010). Light stable isotope techniques (d13C and dD/H) at molecular level: pushing analytical boundaries for environmental and climate-related applications. PI Wagner. Funding: £90K
PhD (23, 10 current), MSc (52, 12 current), BSc (1), Diploma (13) students
CEG8622 Sedimentary organic matter I (10 credits; module leader)
CEG8623 Sedimentary organic matter II (10 credits; module leader)
CEG8626 Petroleum Geology of the Wessex Basin (20 credits; module leader)
CEG8626 Petroleum in the Environment (lecturer)
CIV8537 Climate Change: Earth Systems, Future Scenarios, Threats
CIV8533 Climate Change: Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation
Energy from the Earth (Renewable Energy Enterprise and Management