Jasmina Wiemann

Jasmina Wiemann
California Institute of Technology | CIT · Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

PhD
I am interested in methodological, mechanistic and applied aspects of biosignatures in fossil organic matter.

About

40
Publications
20,389
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316
Citations
Introduction
I recently graduated with a PhD in Molecular Paleobiology. My research focuses on the mechanisms involved in biomolecule fossilization to develop new proxies that provide information on the relationships, physiology, and ecology of extinct organisms. I apply these customizable molecular proxies to key evolutionary questions, aiming to understand how life evolved and reacted to past environmental challenges. To do so, I rely on high-end chemical, bioanalytical and mineralogical methods.
Education
August 2016 - October 2021
Yale University
Field of study
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences
August 2016 - August 2018
Yale University
Field of study
  • Geology & Geophysics
September 2014 - August 2016
University of Bonn
Field of study
  • Organismic Biology, Evolutionary Biology, and Paleobiology

Publications

Publications (40)
Article
Full-text available
Birds are the only living amniotes with coloured eggs1-4, which have long been considered to be an avian innovation1,3. A recent study has demonstrated the presence of both red-brown protoporphyrin IX and blue-green biliverdin5-the pigments responsible for all the variation in avian egg colour-in fossilized eggshell of a nonavian dinosaur6. This ra...
Article
Full-text available
Vertebrate hard tissues consist of mineral crystallites within a proteinaceous scaffold that normally degrades post-mortem. Here we show, however, that decalcification of Mesozoic hard tissues preserved in oxidative settings releases brownish stained extracellular matrix, cells, blood vessels, and nerve projections. Raman Microspectroscopy shows th...
Article
Full-text available
Proteins, lipids, and sugars establish animal form and function. However, the preservation of biological signals in fossil organic matter is poorly understood. Here, we used high-resolution in situ Raman microspectroscopy to analyze the molecular compositions of 113 Phanerozoic metazoan fossils and sediments. Proteins, lipids, and sugars converge i...
Article
Full-text available
Birds and mammals independently evolved the highest metabolic rates among living animals¹. Their metabolism generates heat that enables active thermoregulation¹, shaping the ecological niches they can occupy and their adaptability to environmental change². The metabolic performance of birds, which exceeds that of mammals, is thought to have evolved...
Article
A recent article argued that signals from conventional Raman spectroscopy of organic materials are overwhelmed by edge filter and fluorescence artefacts. The article targeted a subset of Raman spectroscopic investigations of fossil and modern organisms and has implications for the utility of conventional Raman spectroscopy in comparative tissue ana...
Preprint
Full-text available
Raman spectroscopy has facilitated rapid progress in the understanding of patterns and processes associated with biomolecule fossilization and revealed the preservation of biological and geological signatures in fossil organic matter. Nonetheless six large-scale statistical studies of Raman spectra of carbonaceous fossils, selected from a number of...
Article
Full-text available
Calcified eggshells protect developing embryos against environmental stress and contribute to reproductive success¹. As modern crocodilians and birds lay hard-shelled eggs, this eggshell type has been inferred for non-avian dinosaurs. Known dinosaur eggshells are characterized by an innermost membrane, an overlying protein matrix containing calcite...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades, intensive research on non-avian dinosaurs has strongly suggested that these animals were restricted to terrestrial environments1. Historical proposals that some groups, such as sauropods and hadrosaurs, lived in aquatic environments2,3 were abandoned decades ago4–6. It has recently been argued that at least some of the spinosauri...
Article
The chemical composition of fossil soft tissues is a potentially powerful and yet underutilized tool for elucidating the affinity of problematic fossil organisms. In some cases, it has proven difficult to assign a problematic fossil even to the invertebrates or vertebrates (more generally chordates) based on often incompletely preserved morphology...
Conference Paper
Carbonaceous fossils are known for all major groups of life and provide pivotal insights into the evolution of organismal form and function. Even though globally distributed throughout the Neoproterozoic and Phanerozoic, carbonaceous soft part preservation is considered exceptional based on the assumption that biomolecular building blocks have a lo...
Article
Full-text available
The most commonly preserved soft tissues associated with ornithischian dinosaurs are skin remains. The apparent resistance of hadrosaur skin to decay, and its abundance in the fossil record relative to that of other tetrapods, has been attributed to factors such as thickness and composition. Here we report additional intrinsic factors within hadros...
Article
Full-text available
Oviraptorosaurs, a group of non-avian theropod dinosaurs from the Cretaceous of Asia and North America, left behind the most abundant and informative fossil evidence of dinosaur reproductive biology. Previous studies had suggested that oviraptorosaur reproductive biology represents an intermediate stage and exhibited unique modern avian traits. For...
Article
Full-text available
The cuticle layer consisting mainly of lipids and hydroxyapatite (HAp) atop the mineralized avian eggshell is a protective structure that prevents the egg from dehydration and microbial invasions. Previous ornithological studies have revealed that the cuticle layer is also involved in modulating the reflectance of eggshells in addition to pigments...
Data
Dataset from elemental analyses of EPMA Raw data from elemental analyses of Macroolithus yaotunensis eggshells from Jiangxi, Henan, and Guangdong Provinces of China, and Triprismatoolithus eggshell from Montana, USA.
Data
Dataset from Raman analysis Raw data from Raman analyses of Macroolithus yaotunensis eggshells from Jiangxi, Henan, and Guangdong Provinces of China, Triprismatoolithus eggshell from Montana, USA, and the associated sediments to each eggshell samples. Two crocodilian eggshells from Crocodylia porosus and Tomistoma schlegelii are also included in th...
Data
Supplemental Information Detailed descriptions of the applied methodology and further material information.
Article
Full-text available
Protoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV) give rise to the enormous diversity in avian egg coloration. Egg color serves several ecological purposes, including post-mating signaling and camouflage. Egg camouflage represents a major character of open-nesting birds which accomplish protection of their unhatched offspring against visually oriented predat...
Data
LC mass spectra biliverdin extracted ion chromatograms Raw data extracted ion chromatogram for biliverdin (583 g/mol).
Data
LC mass spectra biliverdin extracted ion chromatograms Raw data of the liquid chromatography mass spectrometry extracted ion chromatograms for biliverdin in a second sample run/repetition.
Data
Supplemental information Detailed descriptions of the applied methodology and further material information.
Data
Commercial standard liquid chromatography mass spectra extracted ion chromatogram for biliverdin Extracted ion chromatograms for biliverdin (583 g/mol) of the commercial biliverdin standard.
Data
LC mass spectra extracted ion chromatograms for protoporphyrin Sample liquid chromatography mass spectrometry extracted ion chromatograms for protoporphyrin (563 g/mol).
Data
Jiangxi sediment sample liquid chromatography mass spectra extracted ion chromatogram for protoporphyrin LC mass spectrometry extracted ion chromatograms for protoporphyrin (563 g/mol) for the Jiangxi sediment sample.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many recent studies using next generation technologies to unravel exceptional molecular preservation have changed our view on the limits of biomolecular stability during fossilization. Nevertheless, common hard tissues have not attracted much attention. Thus, the color change of vertebrate hard tissues from in vivo white to blackish-brown in many f...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Although several recent studies changed our view on the limits of biomolecular stability during fossilisation, studies on organic compounds in fossil eggshell material remain the exception. Here we present the first holistic approach on endogenous eggshell degradatomics in a behavioural and evolutionary context. Therefore, we investigated all poten...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Since dinosaur nesting behavior is a popular but controversial research topic, reliable indicators for behavioral reconstructions are required. In extant birds, eggshell coloration based on the metabolites protoporphyrin IX (PP, reddish pigment) and biliverdin (BV, blue-greenish pigment) reflects the nesting environment and brooding behavior. The p...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Dinosaur nesting behavior is a popular but controversial research topic. In extant birds, eggshell coloration based on protoporphyrin IX (reddish pigment) and biliverdin (bluish-greenish pigment) reflects the nesting environment and brooding behavior. Hitherto, the biochemical and physiological pathways for producing colored eggshell were generally...
Article
Full-text available
Open-nesting birds use biological pigments in eggshell to camouflage their unhatched offspring, varying the colour to account for the nesting environment and location. The tetrapyrrolic pigments protoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV), which both participate in the haem metabolism, are responsible for the reddish brown of chicken eggs and the brill...
Article
Full-text available
Open-nesting birds use biological pigments in eggshell to camouflage their unhatched offspring, varying the colour to account for the nesting environment and location. The tetrapyrrolic pigments protoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV), which both participate in the haem metabolism, are responsible for the reddish brown of chicken eggs and the brill...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Project
I apply my recently developed metabolic rate proxy to trace how key extrinsic events in the evolutionary history of amniotes impacted their physiology, and how physiological responses relate to extinction.
Project
I investigate chemical interactions between minerals and organic molecules to understand how the replicator unit ancestral to all life on our planet evolved and what this implies for the search for life in Space. I also explore the insoluble kerogen phase for novel biomarkers and actively develop remotely operable in situ approaches to detect such signals.
Project
Characterizing the biocomposite nature of modern and fossil animal skeletons has the potential to provide spectacular insights into how life reacted to past environmental and ecological challenges. My first insights into the preservation of biomineralization signatures, the fossilization of mineral-organic systems, and eggshell homology assessments are available here.