Dr. ir. Francien Peterse

Vening Meineszgebouw A
Princetonlaan 8a
Kamer 354
3584 CB Utrecht

Dr. ir. Francien Peterse

Associate Professor
Organic geochemistry
+31 30 253 5068


Francien Peterse is the daily leader of the Organic Geochemistry group since 2014. Her research focuses on studying carbon cycle dynamics and past climate change, for which she uses specific molecules, so-called biomarkers, derived from (micro)organisms and plants. Information on (past) environmental conditons can be extracted based on variations in the occurrence, distribution, and isotopic composition of these biomarkers in sedimentary archives.

Francien is challenged by finding suitable climate archives on land and to generate continuous temperature records for the continent. This has resulted in paleotemperature records for e.g., monsoonal East Asia, Pliocene Northwestern Europe, and the Carpathian Basin. PhD students in her team are currently exploring the sediments of Lake Chala (Kenya) at the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro for the generation of an temperature record for tropical east Africa.

Her latest project on deconvolving temperature and precipitation signals in East Asian Monsoon climate records has started in November 2019, supported by a NWO-VIDI personal grant.

Research highlights:
- The fate of soil OC in the marine environment: Read about our recent Gulf of Mexico expedition (February 2020) here and here. Or check the report of our pevious GoM expedition as part of NICO (leg 7, April 2018)
- ICDP DeepCHALLA expedition blog (november 2016)
- Public lecture on my love for molecules (at Betweterfestival 2018 - in Dutch)

Godavari River, India (August 2015 - Veni fieldwork)

Chinese Loess Plateau (August 2019 - Vidi fieldwork)