Dr. Yiming Wang

Research Associate
Department of Archaeology
+49 3641 686-721

Main Focus

I am a biogeochemist and (paleo-) climate scientist. My two primary research goals are 1) obtaining a mechanistic understanding of key processes driving climate evolution and hydroclimatic conditions at different geological time scales, and their linkages to environmental changes and 2) understanding how natural climatic/environmental changes and anthropogenic activities affect human and animal resource use in the past and in the modern era. To achieve these goals, I develop and apply a suite of novel and classic biogeochemical, biomolecular methods and multivariate statistics across disciplines such as Climate Science, Earth Science, Archaeology, and the Environmental and Life Sciences.

I am also interested in the food we eat, where it comes from, and how our diets have been shaped by changes in environment, climate and human activities through time. In a world where the environment is increasingly under duress, I am also interested in how animals adapt their foraging strategies to the changing conditions. To investigate these research questions, I use biochemical and naturally occurring isotope markers on geological, biological and archaeological samples. Because stable isotope ratios of our samples are determined by multi-facetted processes (i.e. geological, chemical, ecological, and biological), my work has a strong interdisciplinary focus.

I currently work on the following main topics:

  • Reconstruct South Asian and East Africa monsoon evolution at different geological time scales.
  • Use Big Data (both climate and archaeological) to investigate interaction between climate, environment and societies.
  • Investigate how extreme biogeochemical conditions (such as high CO2 and temperature; low pH and oxygen) and geological events (i.e. earthquake) affect marine food web ecology.
  • Study the biosynthesis pathways for macronutrient intake and expand the toolset for food authentication using d13C amino acid fingerprinting.
  • Evaluate both wild and domesticated animal demographics in response of hunting and animal domestication using faecal biomarkers from sediments.
  • Explore past human diet and nutrition by pairing compound specific isotope analysis methods with multivariate statistics and machine learning among early foragers, pastoralists and farmers.

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interest

Stable Isotope Geochemistry (bulk and compound specific); Paleoclimate, Paleoceanography, and paleoecology; Analytical chemistry (e.g. faecal biomarkers, sedimentary biomolecular, food authentication); Climate-environment-human interaction, R programming; Big data


Yiming Wang received her BSc in Geology from Beijing University (PKU), China. She obtained MSc and PhD in Department of Geology and Geophysics in University of Alaska Fairbanks. For her MSc, work, Yiming studied the vegetation changes in Central Mongolia using both palynological records and remote sensing tools. During her PhD work, she primarily focused on developing a new climate proxy of δ18O and δD of chironomid (known as midges) chitin preserved in lake sediments for reconstructing δ18O and δD lake water for high latitude areas by conducting both laboratory growth experiment and reconstruct the climate and environment using lake sediment cores.
After her PhD, Yiming worked as a postdoc at Kiel University, where she studied past climate and environmental changes, and land-ocean climate interactions in Southeast Africa and Southern Asia. To reconstruct past rainfall and vegetation changes, she developed and applied stable isotope of terrestrial leaf wax biomarkers preserved in marine sediments. She has also worked extensively with provenance and sea surface temperature biomarkers (e.g. alkenone, foraminiferal Mg/Ca) to reconstruct paleoceanographic conditions.  
Yiming has used her extensive knowledge of biomolecular isotope markers to apply amino acid 13C fingerprinting for tracing the geographical origins and food sources of wild and farmed salmon, an approach that holds great potential for seafood authentication.


Selected Publications (*denotes corresponding author)

Wang, Y. V.*, Larsen, T., Lebrato, M., Tseng, L-C., Smith-Sánchez, N., Lee, P-W., Molinero, J-C., Hwang, J-S, Garbe-Schönberg, D., (2023) Divergent response in benthic organisms’ resource utilization after major biochemical disturbance.  Functional Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.14312

Larsen, T., Fernandes, R., Wang, Y. V., Roberts, P., (2022) Reconstructing hominin diets with stable isotope analysis of amino acids – new perspectives and future directions. BioSciencebiac028, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biac028.

Huber, B., Vassão, D. G., Roberts, P., Wang, Y. V. and Larsen, T., (2022) Chemical Modification of Biomarkers Through Accelerated Degradation: Implications for Ancient Plant Identification in Archaeo-organic Residues. Molecules27(10), 3331; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27103331

Wang, Y. V.*, Larsen, T., Lauterbach, S., Andersen, N., Blanz, T., Krebs-Kanzow, U., Gierz, P. H., Schneider, R., (2022). Higher sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean during the Last Interglacial weakened the South Asian monsoon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2107720119  

Larsen, T., Wang, Y. V., Wan, A. H. L., (2022) Tracing the trophic fate of aquafeed macronutrients with carbon isotope ratios of amino acids. Frontier in Marine Science. DOI:10.3389/fmars.2022.813961

Miller, J.*, Wang, Y. V*. (2022). Ostrich egg shell beads reveal 50,000-year-old social network across Africa. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04227-2

Belghit, I., Varunjikar, M., Lecrenier, M-C., Steinhilber A.E., Niedzwiecka, A., Wang, Y. V., Dieu, M., Azzollini, D., Lie, Kai., Lock, E-J., Berntssen, M. H.G., Renard, P., Zagon, J., Fumiere, O., Van Loon, J. J.A., Larsen, T., Poetz, O., Braeuning, A., Palmblad, M., Rasinger, J.D. (2021). Future food control – Tracing banned bovine material in insect meal. Food Control https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2021.108183

Amano, N., Wang, Y. V., Boivin, N., Roberts, P. (2021). ‘Emptying forests?’ A review of past human and non-human primate interactions and implications for conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution.mhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2020.12.004

Storozum, M. J., Qin, Z., Wang, Y. V., Liu, H. (2020) Is ancient pollution in anthropogenic soils a precusor to the Anthropocene? Buried soils as archives of paleo-pollution in the North China Plain. Anthropocene, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ancene.2020.100251

Lauterbach, S., Andersen, N., Wang, Y. V., Blanz, T., Larsen, T.,  Schneider, R. (2020) A new paired ~130 kyr foraminifera δ18O and UK’37 SST record from the northern Bay of Bengal: questioning Indian Ocean surface water cooling as the link between North Atlantic Heinrich Events and Weak Monsoon Intervals in Asia. Paleoclimatology and Paleoceanography.  DOI: 10.1029/2019PA003646

Lebrato, M., Wang, Y. V., Tseng, L-C., Achterberg, E. P., Chen, X., Molinero, J-C., Bremer, K., Westernströer, U.,  Söding, E., Dahms, H-U., Küter, M.,  Heinath, V., Jöhnck J., Konstantinou, K. I., Yang, Y. J., Hwang, J-S., and Garbe-Schönberg, D. (2019) Earthquake and typhoon trigger unprecedented transient shifts in shallow hydrothermal vents biogeochemistry. Scientific Reports, 9:16926 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-53314-y

Wang, Y. V*., Wan, A. H. L., Krogdahl, Å., Johnson, M. P., Larsen, T. (2019). 13C values of glycolytic amino acids reflect carbohydrate utilization in farmed Atlantic salmon, PeerJ 7:e7701 http://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7701

Wang, Y.V.*, Wan, A. H. L., Jock, E-J., Andersen, N., Winter-Schuh, C., Larsen, T. (2018). Know your fish: A compound-specific isotope approach for tracing wild and farmed salmon. Food Chemistry 256: 380-389

Larsen, T., Ventura, M., Maraldo, K., Triadó-Margarit, X., Casamayor, E., Wang, Y. V., Andersen, N., O’Brien, D.M. (2016). The dominant detritus-feeding invertebrate in arctic peat soils derives its essential amino acids from gut symbionts. Journal of Animal Ecology 85(5): 1275-1285.

Larsen, T., Bach, L., Salvatteci, R., Wang, Y. V., Ventura, M., Andersen, N., McCarthy, M. D. (2015) Assessing the potential of amino acid 13C patterns as a carbon source tracer in marine sediments: effects of algal growth conditions and sedimentary diagenesis. Biogeochemistry, 12(16), 4879-4992.

Schneider, B., Schneider, R.R., Wang, Y. V., Khon, V. (2015) “Model-data synthesis of Monsoon amplitudes for the Holocene and Eemian”, in Schulz, M and Paul, A (eds), Integrated Analysis of Interglacial Climate Dynamics (INTERDYNAMIC), Springer Briefs in Earth System Sciences, DOI 10/ 1007/978-3-319-00693-2_15.

Khon, V., Wang, Y. V., Krebs-Kanzow, U., Kaplan, J., Schneider, B., Schneider, R.R. (2014) Climate and CO2 effects on the vegetation of southern tropical Africa over the last 37,000 years. Earth Planetary Science Letter. 403:407-417.

Wang, Y.V.*, Ludec, G., Regenberg, M, Andersen, N., Larsen, T., Blanz, T., Schneider, R.R. (2013) Northern and southern hemisphere controls on seasonal sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean during the last deglaciation. Paleoceanography. 28(4): 619-632.

Wang, Y.V.*, Larsen, T., Ludec, G., Andersen, N., Blanz, T., Schneider, R.R. (2013) What does leaf wax δD from a mixed C4/C3 vegetation region tell us? Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 111: 128-139.

Glessmer, M., Wang, Y.V., Kontak, R. (2012) Networking skills: tools for women in the Earth Sciences to build community and succeed. EOS. Vol. 93, No. 41: 406.

Heiri, O., Wooller, M.J., van Hardenbroek, M., Wang, Y.V. (2009) Stable isotopes in Chintinous fossils of aquatic invertebrates. PAGES news. Vol. 17, No.3:100-102

Wang, Y.V.*, O’Brien, D., Francis, D., Wooller, M. J. (2009) The influence of diet and water on the stable oxygen and hydrogen isotope composition of chironomids (Chironomidae: Diptera) with paleoecological implications. Oecologia.160:225-233.

Wang, Y.*, Francis, D., O’Brien, D., Wooller, M. J. (2008) A protocol for preparing subfossil Chironomid head capsules (Diptera: Chironomidae) for stable isotope analysis in paleoclimate reconstruction and considerations of contamination sources. J. Paleolimnology, 40:771-781.

Wooller, MJ, Wang, Y.*, Axford, Y. (2008) A multiple stable isotope record of Late Quaternary limnological changes and chironomid paleoecology from northeastern Iceland. J. Paleolimnology, 40:63-77.

Wang, Y., and Wooller, M.J. (2006) The stable isotopic (C and N) composition of modern plants and lichens from northern Iceland: with paleoenvironmental implications. Jokull, 56: 27-37.

Popular science

Wang Y, Larsen T. (2018) Stable isotope fingerprinting of amino acids: a novel approach for tracing wild and farmed salmon. G.I.T: Laboratory Journal 3/2018. https://www.laboratory-journal.com/science/food/stable-isotope-fingerprinting-amino-acids

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