What We Do

Why hopanoids?


Hopanoids have been billed as the “most abundant natural products on Earth” (Ourisson and Albrecht, 1992), and are certainly an important class of molecular fossils (or “biomarkers”) in the geological record. They are routinely employed in petroleum exploration, however, they have as yet still unfulfilled potential as a source of information in the study of microbial populations and processes and as indicators of environment/climate change in Recent and ancient systems.

Over the last several years, knowledge has increased regarding the wide range of potential source organisms and the environmental factors affecting their production and composition. Using organic geochemical and microbiological techniques, startling differences between their distributions in terrestrial and aquatic systems have come to light. All of this means that we have a long way to go before we can fully exploit the wealth of information available within these highly complex molecules.