Dr Marc-Andre Cormier

Biological Sciences
Research Fellow


Dr.sc. (ETH Zürich, Environmental Sciences & Public Policy), M.Sc. (University of Quebec, Oceanography), B.Sc. (Laval University, Biology)

Academic Background

Prior joining Christ Church and the department of Earth Sciences, I studied Marine Biology, Biochemistry and Political Sciences at Laval University, Geological Oceanography at the Geotop Research Centre, and completed a doctoral thesis in Environmental Sciences at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich as well as a PhD program bridging Sciences & Policy at the University of Zürich.

My doctoral thesis looked at the biochemical and metabolic effects on hydrogen isotope composition of organic compounds in plants.

As postdoctoral researcher at the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ-Potsdam), I worked briefly at the understanding of the changes in aridity and precipitation patterns at the end of the last ice age across the European continent. Later, going back at ETH Zürich (this time at the Geological Institute), I was in charge of the Coccolithophore Culture Laboratory and was looking at the imprint of carbon concentrating mechanisms in phytoplankton organic and inorganic geochemistry.

Besides these extraordinary experiences, I visited several institutions, including laboratories at Durham University, the University of Plymouth and the French National Institute for Ocean Science (Ifremer).

Undergraduate teaching

Isotope-Ecology block course (ETH Zürich) & Topics in Oceanography and Cryosphere (University of Oxford, Earth Sciences)

Research Interests

In general, I work at extending our understanding of the roles of protists in the global Earth system; this constitute the core of my current research program. I am fascinated by the interactions and feedbacks between the biosphere (including humankind and the issues of plastic & fossil fuel pollution) and the geosphere at different spatial and temporal scales in marine and terrestrial environments. The development of new tools such as those involving stable and radiogenic isotope measurements to investigate biogeochemical processes is fundamental to my research.


Schuler, P., Cormier, M.-A., Werner, R. A., Buchmann, N., Gessler, A., Vitali, V., Saurer, M., Lehmann, M. M. A high-temperature water vapor equilibration method to determine non-exchangeable hydrogen isotope ratios of sugar, starch and cellulose (2021) Plant, Cell & Environment. https://doi.org/10.1111/pce.14193

Al-Sid-Cheikh, M., Rowland, J. S., Kaegi, R., Henry, T. B., Cormier, M.-A., Thompson, R. C., Synthesis of 14C-labelled polystyrene nanoplastics for environmental studies (2020) Communications Materials. https://doi.org/10.1038/s43246-020-00097-9

Al-Sid-Cheikh, M., Pédrot, M., Dia, A., Rose, J., Davranche, M., Jeanneau, L., Petitjean, P., Bouhnik-Le Coz, M., Cormier, M.-A. and Grasset, F. Trace element mobility impacted by Fe3O4-nanoparticles surface coating within wetland soil (2019). Environmental Sciences:  Nano. https://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C9EN00565J

Lehmann, M. M., Ghiasi, S., George G. M., Cormier, M.-A., Gessler. A., Saurer, M., Werner, R., A. Starch deficiency in plant mutants and its influence on photosynthetic and post-photosynthetic carbon isotope fractionations (2019). Journal of Experimental Botany. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erz045

Cormier, M.-A., Werner, R. A., Leuenberger, M. C., Kahmen A. 2H-enrichment of cellulose and n-alkanes in heterotrophic plants (2019). Oecologia. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-019-04338-8

Cormier, M.-A., Werner, R. A., Sauer, P. E., Gröcke, D. R., Leuenberger, M. C., Wieloch, T., Schleucher, J., Kahmen A. 2H-fractionations during the biosynthesis of carbohydrates and lipids imprint a metabolic signal on the δ2H values of plant organic compounds (2018). New phytologist. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/nph.15016

Cormier M.-A., Rochon, A., De Vernal A., Gelinas Y. Multi-proxy study of primary production and paleoceanographical conditions in northern Baffin Bay during the last centuries (2016). Marine Micropaleontology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marmicro.2016.07.001

Radi, T., Bonnet, S., Cormier, M.-A., De Vernal, A., Durantout, L., Faubert, E., Head, M. J., Pospelova, V., and Rochon, A. Operational taxonomy and (paleo-)autecology of round, brown, spiny dinoflagellate cysts from the Quaternary of high northern latitudes (2013). Marine Micropaleontology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marmicro.2012.11.001