Jörg M. Habermann

Invited Researcher

GeoZentrum Nordbayern
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Schlossgarten 5
91054 Erlangen


Associated researcher 

Primate Models for Behavioural Evolution, Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology
University of Oxford
United Kingdom

GeoZentrum Nordbayern
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

Research Interests

I am a geologist, specialized in sedimentology and geochemistry, focusing on processes that have been occurring on the Earth’s surface. My research centers around understanding the relationships between Cenozoic rifting, volcanism, and climate change in East Africa and their impact on continental and coastal paleoenvironments in the context of human evolution. I am presently engaged in the Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa at Gorongosa National Park, central Mozambique. Focus of this research is the reconstruction of paleolandscapes and sedimentary systems, and their use as environmental and climate archives. My Ph.D. thesis encompassed the early chronostratigraphic, volcano-sedimentary, tectonic, and paleoenvironmental evolution of the hominin-yielding Pleistocene Olduvai Basin in northern Tanzania, resulting in an enhanced understanding of the Olduvai Bed I succession. My earlier research aimed at understanding the evolution of shallow-marine volcano-sedimentary sequences on the oceanic island shelf of Santa Maria Island, Azores, using also proxy indicators (stable isotope geochemistry) to reconstruct environmental parameters such as past sea-surface temperature, seasonality, and productivity. Fieldwork is a mainstay of my research that generally also involves laboratory-based petrographic and geochemical observations.

Short Bio

I graduated from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, with a Diplom (M.Sc.-equivalent) in Geology-Paleontology in 2011. My Diplom thesis and mapping cover an interdisciplinary complex of themes (sedimentology, geochemistry, paleontology) in the context of a research project based on the Azores. From April 2012 to September 2016, I was a research assistant at GeoZentrum Nordbayern, FAU, and worked on my Ph.D. thesis that was completed in July 2016. My thesis encompassed the early volcano-sedimentary, geotectonic, and paleoenvironmental evolution of the hominin-yielding Pleistocene Olduvai Basin in northern Tanzania. Via the international collaboration throughout the Olduvai project, I was involved in the scientific drilling campaign Olduvai Gorge Coring Project, participating in the on-site supervision of the drilling operation and in drill-core analysis at LacCore (Minneapolis, USA). In July 2016, I joined the Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa (PPPG) and participated in two field seasons that resulted in the discovery of new Mio-Pliocene fossil sites in the Urema Rift, central Mozambique, and significantly extend our paleoenvironmental purview on the southernmost and yet poorly-explored part of the East African Rift Valley. In the context of a postdoctoral research fellowship with the ICArEHB, Universidade do Algarve, from May 2017 to date, I’ve been continuing research with the PPPG.

For my complete CV please click HERE

Key Publications

• Ávila, S.P., Ramalho, R., Habermann, J.M. and Titschack, J. (in press). The marine fossil record at Santa Maria Island (Azores). In U. Küppers and C. Beier (eds.), Active volcanoes of the World: The volcanoes of the Azores. Heidelberg: Springer.

• Habermann, J.M., Alberti, M., Aldeias, V., Alemseged, Z., Archer, W., Bamford, M., Biro, D., Bobe, R., Braun, D.R., Capelli, C., Cunha, E., da Silva, M.J., Luedecke, T., Madiquida, H., Martinez, F., Mathe, J., Negash, E.W., Paulo, L.M., Pinto, M., Stalmans, M., Tatá, F., Wynn, J.G. and Carvalho, S. (2017). Neogene coastal-plain estuarine record in the Gorongosa area, central Mozambique: paleoenvironmental and paleoecological implications for the ancient East African margin and its primate land-use potential. Conference abstract, GSA Annual Meeting, Seattle (WA), USA.

• Habermann, J.M., McHenry, L.J., Stollhofen, H., Tolosana-Delgado, R., Stanistreet, I.G. and Deino, A.L. (2016). Discrimination, correlation, and provenance of Bed I tephrostratigraphic markers, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, based on multivariate analyses of phenocryst compositions. Sedimentary Geology, 339: 115-133.  Link

• Habermann, J.M., Stanistreet, I.G., Stollhofen, H., Albert, R.M., Bamford, M.K., Pante, M.C., Njau, J.K. and Masao, F.T. (2016). In situ ~2.0 Ma trees discovered as fossil rooted stumps, lowermost Bed I, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Journal of Human Evolution, 90: 74-87.  Link

• Ávila, S.P., Ramalho, R.S., Habermann, J.M., Quartau, R., Kroh, A., Berning, B., Johnson, M., Kirby, M.X., Zanon, V., Titschack, J., Goss, A., Rebelo, A.C., Melo, C., Madeira, P., Cordeiro, R., Meireles, R., Bagaço, L., Hipólito, A., Uchman, A., da Silva, C.M., Cachão, M. and Madeira, J. (2015). Palaeoecology, taphonomy, and preservation of a lower Pliocene shell bed (coquina) from a volcanic oceanic island (Santa Maria Island, Azores). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 430: 57-73.  Link

• Habermann, J.M. (2014). Short-communication on the geology of the Franconian Jurassic in the information sheet Der Schwarze Brand. Published by NaturFreunde Deutschlands Ortsgruppe Pommelsbrunn e.V.


• Since 2016: Participant in the ”Paleo-Primate Project Gorongosa: human origins research at Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique“
• 2014-2016: Participant in the scientific drilling campaign ”Olduvai Gorge Coring Project (OGCP), Tanzania”
• 2007-2009: Participant in the structural damage mapping of the ”Schloss zu Erlangen” supervised by Prof. Dr. Roman Koch (FAU) and ‘Staatliches Bauamt Erlangen-Nürnberg’