Pieter Visscher


Astrobiology addresses three fundamental questions: How does life begin and develop? Does life exist elsewhere in the universe? What is the future of life on Earth and beyond? In our Geomicrobiology workgroup we address (parts of) these questions by combining fieldwork and laboratory experiments in organosedimentary microbial ecosystems. We use these microbial carbonates as analogs for life on early Earth, and possibly in outer space.


  • Ph.D.: Microbial Ecophysiology and Geochemistry at University of Groningen
  • M.S.: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Law at University of Groningen


  • ERTH 4130: Geomicrobiology
  • MARN 3030: Coastal Pollution and Bioremediation
  • MARN 4050 / MARN 5050: Marine Geology / Geological Oceanography

Select Publications

  • Visscher P.T., K.L. Gallagher, A. Bouton, M.E. Farias, D. Kurth, B.P. Burns, M.R. Walter, M. Sancho-Tomas, P. Philippot, A. Somogyi, K. Medjoubi, E. Vennin, R. Bourillot, M. Contreras, C. Dupraz. 2020. Modern arsenotrophic microbial mats provide an analogue for life in the anoxic Archean. Nature Communications Earth & Environment. DOI: 10.1038/s43247-020-00025-2
  • White, R.A., P.T. Visscher, B.P. Burns. 2020. Between a rock and a soft place: Viral role in stromatolite formation. Trends in Microbiology. DOI: 10.1038/s43247-020-00025-2
  • Duteil, T., R. Bourillot, B. Grégoire, M. Virolle, B. Brigaud, J. Nouet, O. Braissant, E. Portier, H. Féniès, P. Patrier, E. Gontier, I. Svahn, P.T. Visscher. 2020. Experimental formation of clay-coated sand grains using diatom biofilm exopolymers. Geology. Doi:10.1130/G47418.7
  • Carmeille, M., R. Bourillot, P. Pellenard, V. Dupias, J. Schnyder, L. Riquier, O. Mathieu, M.-F. Brunet, R. Enay, V. Grossi, C. Gaborieau, P. Razin, P.T. Visscher. 2020. Formation of microbial organic carbonates during the Late Jurassic from the Northern Tethys (Amu Darya Basin, Uzbekistan): Implications for Jurassic anoxic events. Global and Planetary Change doi:10.1016/j.gloplacha.2020.103127
  • Google Scholar
Pieter Visscher
Contact Information
Office LocationBeach Hall 237; MSB 385
LinkResearch Website